After touring Edmonton’s new arena, the NHL commissioner has renewed a push for a new facility in Calgary.
Gary Bettman told reporters Edmonton’s Rogers Place has helped breathe new life into the surrounding area.
“When you see this, you see the result of a city and a sports team owner using a sports team and the arena as the anchor–if you will–for revitalization or vitalization of the city.”
Bettman feels the fact that Garth Brooks recently sold out nine shows in Edmonton and didn’t even play Calgary is proof that newer arenas offer multi-faceted benefits to cities. “I think the [Edmonton Chamber of Commerce] told me they had an economic impact of $42-million,” Bettman said. “The impact of everything that we’re witnessing – this building and the construction across the street – is an economic engine, in addition to everything else.”
The NHL commissioner hopes the success of Rogers Place will spur some action on a new venue for the Flames.
“Calgary obviously needs a new arena. Hopeful this arena, and this complex, is inspirational.”
Bettman will meet with Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation president Ken King on Wednesday for an update on the Calgary Flames new arena plans.
“I don’t know that they have an exact location yet. I don’t know that they have a financing framework, or exactly what the scope of the project is,” he said. “Again, this is second-hand. Part of what I’m going to do is get a little bit better educated.”