They Should Call it the Mats-o-tron

by Ryan

The first new thing hanging in the rafters in years.

We’ve talked about it here before, but there are some big changes going on at the ACC over the next few years, and this is just the start of it. Jokes about mediocrity (check the comments) aside, the board itself is fantastic, and it certainly does improve the building with regards to other events.

The thing that many sports fans forget is that most owners are concerned about making money and not about actual team performance. Where fans see a $126 million atrium project as money not spent on players, an owner sees it as maintaining a state of the art arena to match his state of the art high-rise apartment complex/television station/offices going up next door.

For Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment the goal seems to be making a profit first and foremost, as all smart businesses should. In a market like Toronto the goal will always be bigger and better no matter how the team below the fireworks plays. It isn’t always the right way to build a team, but an owner not concerned with profits is a very, very charitable man.

The grand scale the Leafs are aiming for is downright fascinating: $7.8 million for a really nice, 17-sided TV. Just the price tag for the video board alone is enough to blow your mind, let alone the cost for a few doors and windows. A $126 million “project” shows you just how much money is thrown around in a city like Toronto. It really is no wonder the Bills didn’t look into tapping that market sooner, and puts to rest any questions in my mind about the viability of a second hockey team surviving in the GTA.

The Buffalo News’ John Vogl had a great point about the atrium project: the entire HSBC Arena construction cost just $1.5 million more than their “expansion”. Even with inflation that’s a shocking number, one that can be taken one of two ways.

On one hand, for a ten year old building to still be considered state of the art is pretty impressive, especially if that building is sitting in downtown Buffalo. Larry Quinn may not get enough credit for the work he did with the Crossroads Arena Project, but as time goes on he looks better and better for it.

On the other hand, just how far out of our league are we when it comes to keeping pro franchises? If MLSE can throw a few million at a glorified hallway, what chance do we have of keeping a team here once the for sale sign is on the front lawn at One Bills Drive or South Park? Sooner or later Ralph will die or Tom will get tired, and what happens if the highest bidder doesn’t have a soft spot for struggling to stay in the green in a quaint little rust belt city?

Buildings like the ACC and Jerryworld are meant to be the pinnacle of venues, but when the time comes, can we even reach the median? If we can’t, I’m sure there is a better building somewhere with a vacancy.

One Comment

  1. eppic

    You just freaked me the hell out with this post, man. Those are the precise reasons Buffalo will lose out, not a lack of fan support.