As you may recall, Edmonton Oilers owner Darryl Katz has been trying to get the city of Edmonton to build him a new, publicly financed arena downtown. Rexall Place, current home to the Oilers, was built in 1973. Katz has been getting quite a bit of push back from local taxpayers, who don’t seem particularly interested in footing the $400 million plus bill of a new arena. Local TV affiliate CTV recently commissioned a public opinion survey of Edmontonians about this subsidy. The results were surprising, to say the least. 55% of residents disagreed with the statement “Should the City of Edmonton build a new arena for the Oilers?” Worse, only a plurality (44%) of Oilers season ticket holders agreed. If there is one group of taxpayers who stands to benefit substantially from a new arena, it is hard core Oilers fans. Of course Katz and the players will also benefit, but they will pay only a fraction of the bill.
I was on CTV in Edmonton last night discussing the results of the poll. Here’s a link to video of the segment. As you can see, I have a face “made for radio.” Here’s a link to some of the survey results. This appears to be a setback for Katz’ attempt to get a new, publicly financed stadium in Edmonton.