What's the Real Fuel Behind Calgary's Fire?
So, you’re not sure Calgary need the Flames anymore, eh? We take a deeper dive into how the team keeps Calgary’s flame burning.
Controversy has been swirling lately over the Calgary Flames burning desire to have a new arena built in the city. Since the oil slump, the major concern is where the money is coming from to pay for such a lofty and ambitious plan. Taxpayers, of course. But not everyone seems enamoured by this proposal - especially Mayor Naheed Neshi. And the Flames hinted they would move if no arena was built.
Obviously many people will balk at spending millions of dollars to help a sports franchise - a private business - build a new facility. That is understandable. But the debate needs to be tempered with some balance on the multitude of economic benefits the Flames bring to Calgary.
These are hard numbers to pin down. But they are clear. Think of the thousands of jobs that are created each year through Saddledome activity. The players – with their multi-million-dollar salaries – buy or rent homes, pay taxes and have a lot of disposable income to inject back into the economy. And let’s not forget the millions donated to amateur sports by the Calgary Flames Foundation.
Then there is the ripple effect. Bars, restaurants, hotels, retail, taxis - a whole host of enterprises - gain direct benefit from people dropping coin in the community because the Flames are here. Construction of a new arena will also boost the economy with the creation of jobs and spending in the city.
The low price of oil has made Calgary a city without much disposable income. The price tag for this project has huge sticker shock to a city that’s already hurting, but should Calgarians think twice about putting out this flame?