Katz shedding more light on arena negotiations
Published Monday, October 1, 2012 6:29PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, October 1, 2012 7:16PM MDT
After sending out an apology to Edmontonians in a letter over the weekend, Oilers owner Daryl Katz apologized in person – and shed more light on the ongoing negotiations on Monday.
Daryl Katz spoke on 630 CHED’s Oilers Now program on Monday, and cast an optimistic light over the ongoing arena negotiations.
“We’ve shared some information with the city and our discussions have been more productive as a result,” Katz said in his radio interview Monday.
He also reiterated his apology from Saturday, which he had previously issued in a letter.
“I feel I reacted emotionally which I shouldn’t have done,” Katz said.
Katz referred to a recent trip to Seattle he took with a number of Oilers officials – which sparked speculation that Katz was pondering the idea of moving the Oilers to that city, which has just moved ahead with a new arena, and is looking for a professional sports team.
“What we didn’t consider is how our supporters or how our fans would feel,” Katz said Monday. “And that was wrong, and I apologize for it.”
The mayor said he hopes the move means the owner of the Oilers will be open with the city, and Edmontonians, during arena negotiations.
“An olive branch means that you’re going to sit down and have meaningful discussions,” Mayor Stephen Mandel said Monday. “I hope that’s going to happen.”
Meanwhile, a public relations expert said it’s too early to tell if Katz’s latest moves will translate in support from city residents.
“I think in this case, it’s going to be over time that people decide which side they choose to really believe in,” Colin Babiuk, Public Relations Chair at Macewan University said.
“Actions speak much louder than words.”
The apparent tactical adjustments came after it was revealed the Katz Group approached the city to change the arena deal that both sides agreed to one year ago.
Among the reported requests: an annual subsidy from the city, and that the city offices move to a new office tower built by Katz.
However, the city manager said the Katz Group would have to bid for the city’s tenancy, just like anyone else.
“Our leases are coming due, and we would be putting these out on the market irrespective of an arena,” Simon Farbrother said.
Now, the Katz Group has until October 17 to go before City Council and clarify their position.
With files from Bill Fortier