The moment when Bob Stauffer abandoned all pretense of being a journalist was at approximately 1:50 PM MST on July 26, 2010, when he asked a condo developer with a financial interest in the arena project going ahead if there’s anything wrong with businessmen making money. The developer almost seemed embarassed for him and paused for about five seconds before answering no and then sharing an anecdote about how much Daryl Katz loves the Oilers. It’s worth going to the Team 1260′s webpage and listening to – it’s that bad. Mark Spector wrote a trainwreck of a column on Sportsnet that I’m not linking to on the off chance that he gets paid for hits but it’s still a good 10-15 times more insightful than Stauffer was in interviewing this developer.
The developer was a bit questionable too – he threw out a stat that 91% of people want to live downtown, which I find highly dubious. There have to be a billion caveats on that. Nobody wants to live downtown once they have kids, even in cities that don’t have terrible downtowns – they want a yard and extra space. Spector happened to be a guest on today’s show and by the end of the first hour, he was making points against the rink just to provide some sort of balance to the discussion. The whole thing was like an infomercial without the quiet sense of dignity.
It’s also quickly becoming apparent that Stauffer’s response to the economics is going to just be to mock it and ignore it. He pays lip service to the argument and then sniffs it away without explaining why. The explanations that are out there – Edmonton needs more gay people to drive the economy and gay people are attracted to hockey rinks (or something like that; Richard Florida doesn’t make a lot of sense to me) – suck (in my view) but he can’t even be bothered to mouth them. Dan Tencer would be embarrassed if he was covering the arena story this poorly.
Memo to Spector: the Edmonton economy was, in 2007, something like 170% of the size of the Winnipeg economy. I’m not precisely sure how that’s calculated and whether it includes Edmonton’s bedroom communities but there’s probably also a lot more wealth within three hours of Edmonton than there is within three hours of Winnipeg. The Oilers are a top ten team in revenue in the NHL, despite being spectacularly mismanaged and doing without playoff revenue for four years. Maybe if Katz isn’t handed a pile of free money by the city, he’ll see if he can’t improve the hockey team’s financial performance by, oh, I don’t know – getting rid of the managerial and coaching failures he’s currently paying six figure to have hang around Rexall Place? If you can’t perform analysis that is somewhat more granular than “cold, prairie town”, you should probably stay well away from the business of hockey, something that was already evident from the work you’ve done on the NHLPA, which amounts do “They should do what the owners tell them.” I don’t know where you went to journalism school but, I assure you, the expression is not “Comfort the comfortable, afflict the afflicted.” Really. The compulsion to do whatever the man with money says is unbecoming.
(By the way – there’s some possibility that Stauffer is a precog, because he was kind of muttering during Lowetide’s appearance that I take mean personal shots, something I hadn’t done in a while (I don’t actually think I’ve ever been that hard on him), maybe since Joffrey Lupul left town which was pretty much the last time he was so absurdly myopic about something. It’s iike he knew this was coming.)