Flames complete power play
NHL club buys majority stake in Stampeders
By Kristen Odland, Calgary Herald
March 30, 2012
The Calgary Flames Limited Partnership now has a major stake in every sports team in the city after Thursday's announcement that they've assumed majority ownership of the Calgary Stampeders.
"I think we can really have some fun," said president Ken King in a news conference at McMahon Stadium. "Now, with the addition of this, which will be our fifth team (including the Flames farm team, the Abbotsford Heat, the Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen and the National Lacrosse League's Calgary Roughnecks), it's about the right size in order to get more things done.
"It'll help the Flames too, it'll help the Hitmen, it'll help the lacrosse team. There is some cross-pollination in terms of marketing promotion and ticketing.
"But most importantly, it'll benefit the fans."
Stampeders president and chief operating officer Lyle Bauer agreed.
"It makes a lot of sense," he said. "Our vision and plan for the future mirrors what the Flames are trying to do. Ken and I have had numerous conversations about the future.
"This is a tough business.
"The more you can divide in other assets, expertise, and other areas, it makes imminent sense."
It was also a natural progression. In 2005 a group led by John Forzani, Doug Mitchell and Ted Hellard purchased the team. At the same time, the Flames took on a minority ownership position.
Although the closing of the transaction announced Wednesday is subject to league and other approvals and will officially take place in the next few weeks, Forzani handed over the ball Thursday.
The Stamps chairman called the move a positive step, adding the deal will offer more buying power and a better fan experience.
"Professional sports team have an inherent risk," said Forzani, who will still maintain a stake.
"Year after year, you're under the gun. By turning over a majority interest to a professional sports management group - they'll have five teams they are going to manage - it certainly takes the risk out of it."
The process, which King said "was in the back of everyone's minds," began a few months ago because one of the owners wanted to retire his interests.
King said discussions will continue over the future of McMahon Stadium and, also, may now coincide with the future home of the Calgary Flames.
"We are smack in the middle of planning for a new building," he said.
"I think we've been pretty public about that," King continued. "We haven't talked about what that might look like or exactly where it will be . . . Now, only now, we'll look in to determine if it makes any sense at all to try and combine a stadium and arena. We'll look closely at that. But that's not to be confused with a master plan that we're going to pull out tomorrow."
King also said the name of the Calgary Flames Limited Partnership will change in the future.
"Its name is really unimportant," he said. "It needs to be clear only for the purpose of people understanding it's a sports corporation.
"The brands of the teams are their individual brands. It's critical they have their own identity."
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