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Lockout + Wings attempts to publicly subsidize new rink = bad mix

On Monday, Crain’s Detroit Business’s Bill Shea penned an article about the adverse effects of a lockout upon any attempts by the Red Wings’ ownership to secure public subsidies for Joe Louis Arena’s follow-on facility, but the article’s blocked by a paywall, so MLive’s Brendan Savage provides the gist of Shea’s article (via RedWingsFeed) in publicly-accessible form this morning:

[A lockout] could be a roadblock to getting a new arena built in downtown Detroit, a Clemson University economics professor said in a story by Crain’s Detroit Business.

It was reported last week that the Red Wings have selected an architect for a possible new building to replace aging Joe Louis Arena, which opened in 1979.

But if Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch wants tax payers to help foot the bill for the arena, which is expected to cost upwards of $300 million, he could encounter resistance if there’s another lockout when the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in September.

“Public money requires political support, and you lose that by canceling hockey games,” said Raymond “Skip” Sauer, the Clemson instructor who writes for TheSportsEconomist.com blog.

Politicians might be reluctant to support funding for an arena if the players and owners can’t reach an agreement that would prevent the cancellation of games, which would hurt business owners, vendors, concessions workers and others who rely on NHL games for income during the winter.

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Comments

Primis's avatar

Forget the new arena:  if there’s another stoppage already I might give up on the NHL altogether and go to supporting only minor pro and college hockey.  And I’m sure I wouldn’t be alone…  I’ve had enough of this Millionaires vs Billionaires crap.

A new arena needs to be way, WAY down the list of concerns for Illitch at the moment until a new CBA is in place.

Posted by Primis on 05/29/12 at 09:59 AM ET

joedaiceman's avatar

I have to be honest - even if there is a lockout, I’ll come back. I’m addicted and there is no cure. The players and owners can use and abuse me and I’ll bitch and complain but they know they have me over a barrell because there is no where else to go for the best hockey in the world and there is no where else to go to root for the best team in the world - the Detroit Red Wings.

Posted by joedaiceman on 05/29/12 at 10:09 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Primis, I share your sentiments. It’s getting harder and harder to remain a fan of the NHL.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 05/29/12 at 10:13 AM ET

Heaton's avatar

Easier said than done.  I can see someone trying to be strong and not watch in October, hell they may go an entire regular season.  But game 1 of the playoffs with the Wings on and people won’t watch?  I find that hard to believe.

Posted by Heaton on 05/29/12 at 10:33 AM ET

Avatar

Ilitch wants public funding?  From where??  Detroit is beyond broke, Wayne County has to pay for all of Ficano’s sweetheart deals, the State of Michigan doesn’t have extra money to dump into an arena…  I think Ilitch is going to have to look to his corporate friends on this one.  Public support for a new arena is there, but public funding can’t and won’t be.

Posted by Joshy207 on 05/29/12 at 11:14 AM ET

Avatar

If there’s another stoppage, I’ll watch but I won’t spend a dime of my money on any NHL products or attending games. Hurt the owners where it matters most.

Posted by Jeremy from Toledo, OH on 05/29/12 at 11:17 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Easier said than done.  I can see someone trying to be strong and not watch in October, hell they may go an entire regular season.  But game 1 of the playoffs with the Wings on and people won’t watch?  I find that hard to believe.

Posted by Heaton on 05/29/12 at 09:33 AM ET

People said that when I gave up on the Lions too, and it never has proven a problem, even this past year.  Once I gave them up, I truly gave them up.

It’s not as hard as people think.

Posted by Primis on 05/29/12 at 11:55 AM ET

creasemonkey's avatar

If there’s another stoppage, I’ll watch but I won’t spend a dime of my money on any NHL products or attending games. Hurt the owners where it matters most.

Posted by Jeremy from Toledo, OH on 05/29/12 at 10:17 AM ET

This would be my choice, though I wouldn’t go out of my way and struggle to find free services. I’d probably read most online posts/articles and maybe watch a game if I happen to be at a place that has a game on (as I don’t subscribe to any tv service) but I won’t be purchasing tickets, traveling over 100 miles to a game, or purchasing any service or good.

Well, I still plan on my monthly donation to this site. I get more back than what I pay into it.

Posted by creasemonkey from sweet home san diego on 05/29/12 at 12:04 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Ilitch wants public funding?  From where??  Detroit is beyond broke, Wayne County has to pay for all of Ficano’s sweetheart deals, the State of Michigan doesn’t have extra money to dump into an arena…  I think Ilitch is going to have to look to his corporate friends on this one.  Public support for a new arena is there, but public funding can’t and won’t be.
Posted by Joshy207 on 05/29/12 at 10:14 AM ET

This^^^^^

Primis, I share your sentiments. It’s getting harder and harder to remain a fan of the NHL.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Michigan, now in Flori-duh on 05/29/12 at 09:13 AM ET

And this^^^^  It would be hard for me to quit watching the Wings all together but the NHL is nearing it’s end for me. Between the poorly officated games and the general douche-baggery of todays players are really turning me off. Heck, I just dropped cable for the summer and don’t anticipate catching any of the Cup Finals. I will be supporting my local Griffins this fall though….. and possibly the Wings too.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/29/12 at 12:06 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Joshy207: It’s always possible for the City, County and State to sell bonds, but my eyebrows did a Magnum PI “Brow meets forehead” when I read about the push to receive state money, too.

Between the city going bankrupt, the county being under investigation for a crapton of corruption (and corruption is so legally entrenched that I do not know how the State of Michigan can “undo” it), and the fact that the State of Michigan is more concerned with, say, making helmetless motorcycling legal and dropping coin to restore better film tax credits than daring to bolster the nonexistent heat emergency fund because asking every Michigan resident to drop all of $1 to help fund that program “seemed like too much of a tax”...

Well, at least with the State, putting business ahead of the “public good” is no big deal, but they don’t have a ton of money, either, so every indication has suggested that the Ilitches will either have to take out more loans (which they’d prefer not to do) or to tap the golden goose that is their casino revenues (which they also don’t want to do, but at least in that case, they don’t have anything to “pay back”).

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/29/12 at 12:56 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

And watching-hockey-wise? I’ll have a conscience crisis of sorts if there is another lockout, but the Wings are one of the few NHL teams whose players not only win on a regular basis, but also play eminently “watchable” hockey in an era of shot-blocking and trap-trap-trapping, so if the owners do indeed lock the players out, we’re one of a few fan bases who would have both our loyalties and wardrobe choices to tug on our heartstrings and an on-ice product that is actually worth our time to come back to.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/29/12 at 12:59 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

I gave up on the NFL when the Cleveland Browns were stolen to play in Baltimore. It’s not as hard to quit as you might think.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/29/12 at 01:59 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

every indication has suggested that the Ilitches will either have to take out more loans (which they’d prefer not to do) or to tap the golden goose that is their casino revenues (which they also don’t want to do, but at least in that case, they don’t have anything to “pay back”).

I got the impression that the Amway sponsorship deal was just a step toward a major partnership in building the new arena. I fully expect it to be Amway Arena or Amway Center after they chip in 80 million toward construction costs possibly in addition to traditional naming rights leases.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 05/29/12 at 02:00 PM ET

calquake's avatar

I will probably never quit following the Wings but if there is a prolonged lockout I will certainly only do it through this website.  No more Center Ice for me, no more purchasing merch or attending games here in LA or Phoenix or San Jose.  Fool (lockout) me once…

Posted by calquake on 05/29/12 at 03:16 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

It probably will be Amway-related given that the DeVos family will likely be a co-investor…Regrettably. We could call it the “Pyramid” in that instance, as in pyramid scheme…

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/29/12 at 08:38 PM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

I’m with Cal and Creasemonkey. I will continue to support this wonderful website, and use the money I save with all NHL affilaited merchandise,tickets, center ice, NHL network, and buy upgraded hockey equpment for myself to play this wonderful game. A game that is being ruined by a bunch of gasbags in suits that would rather piss away the old traditional fans and develop a different fanbase similar to the NBA. No thanks.

Posted by cigar_nurse from Greenville South Cakalakee on 05/29/12 at 11:09 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.