The $1.4B in Calgary’s New Arena Deal That No One Is Talking About.

July 25, 2019

Update Dec 11, 2019: The City and The Flames have officially approved the Event Centre deal. We’re thrilled the complex is moving forward – we can now focus on bringing amazing talent to the city, driving the economy, and making Calgary a first-class arts & entertainment hub. For Calgarians, the news has been received with mixed emotions. Taxpayers aren’t happy to foot half the bill.

We agree that taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook, and here’s our solution.

‍Our offer still holds true: Showpass is ready to commit an additional portion of the ticketing fees from the arena BACK to the city of Calgary—which would help cover the City’s proposed $290M investment— if we are chosen as the ticketing provider.

If you support keeping money in Calgary, help us get this idea in front of the right parties so we can build up the local economy.

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Calgary is long overdue for a new Event Centre. But the current deal—which some economists have pinned as a $47M loss—has Calgarians in a frenzy. However, the calculation didn’t consider a ~$1.4 billion revenue stream that could more than offset the loss.

Source: Ticketmaster website, July 25, 2019

If US-based Ticketmaster continues to do ticketing for the new Event Centre, they stand to receive $1.4B over 35 years. In one egregious example, Ticketmaster often charges 35% in fees on General Admission, as seen for the Eric Church concert tickets in September 2019. With a conservative estimation of a 20% ticketing fee surcharge on events at the new arena, only 2% of the ticketing fees would make it back to the City of Calgary with Ticketmaster taking the remaining 18%. Ticketmaster & LiveNation walk away with over a billion dollars while Calgary pockets a $155M over 35 years. Calgarians are paying for the new facility in fees and they’re being sent straight to the US instead of the local economy. There’s still time to set this right.        


‍Calgary-based ticketing company Showpass will commit an additional portion of the ticketing fees from the arena BACK to the city of Calgary—which would help cover the City’s proposed $290M investment.

“There’s an easy way to turn this around. On the estimated $1.4B in fees over 35 years, an agreement with Showpass can make this into a more lucrative investment for the city,” said Lucas McCarthy, CEO of Showpass. “This could also free up capital for the city that can cover unexpected costs or be reallocated back into emergency services, while generating hundreds of  jobs and occupying Calgary’s vacant office space.”

So Calgary, let’s keep the ticketing fees in the community and the City of Calgary, and not give them to the company who admittedly gouged ticket buyers by diverting tickets straight to their resale sites and just got sued by the Canadian government

Make sure your voice is heard!

Share, or tweet, this story, email or tag your city councillors, tag a Flames Exec, or a friend to let them know we can keep revenues in Calgary. Let’s make sure that Calgarians are the biggest winners.