Venue News: Oilers Stay in Edmonton With New Arena; Thrashers-to-Winnipeg Deal Finalized?

Plans for a downtown arena in Edmonton, AB, took a major step forward Wednesday when the city and the Katz Group reached an agreement in principle to build the facility. The deal, approved by an 8-5 council vote following an hours-long meeting behind closed doors, closely follows a 17-part motion passed in April that laid out what the city wants to see happen. Maximum construction cost is projected at $450 million. That will be covered by $100 million in cash from Oilers owner Daryl Katz, $125 million from a ticket fee, and $125 million from taxes on surrounding development and other city funds.

Despite numerous reports indicating that a deal has not yet been finalized, The Globe and Mail is reporting an agreement to sell the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers to a Winnipeg group that plans to relocate the franchise to the Manitoba capital. Sources confirmed Thursday night that preparations are being made for an announcement Tuesday, confirming the sale and transfer of the Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns and operates the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League and the MTS Centre arena, which would become the NHL team’s new home…

…A prominent Milwaukee business leader said Wednesday that the community needs to discuss “at an appropriate time” the idea of extending the Miller Park stadium sales tax as a way of funding a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. Timothy Sheehy, leader of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, a pro-business group, floated the idea at a civic forum. The idea of extending the stadium sales tax is not new, but it has never gained political and civic traction in a time of budget deficits, antitax sentiment, and a struggling school system…

…Ole Miss wants to build a new arena (

www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2011/05/16/Facilities/Facilities-column.aspx)

that will most likely follow Oregon’s model, meaning no suites. The school recently hired Aecom to determine the cost of constructing an arena similar in size to 9,061-seat C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum, which opened in 1966. At the same time, the UMAA Foundation, the school’s nonprofit fundraising group, is developing a plan to finance construction, including long-term commitments tied to club seats and a private lounge for premium-seat patrons.