Quebec City has announced its partner for the development of its new multi-purpose NHL arena that will be built in the upcoming years, and it is Montreal-based media conglomerate Quebecor. The new arena will be named the Videotron amphitheatre.
Mayor Regis Labeaume and Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau held a news conference in Quebec City earlier this afternoon to officially announce that the media giant Quebecor will be the new 19,000-seat arena’s manager and naming sponsor.
Under the terms of the deal, the privately-owned company will pay $33 million for naming rights over 25 years (a number that will jump to $63.5-million if an NHL team ends up playing in the building) to the $400-million news facility, and another $3.15 million annually for the right to manage the building.
Quebecor will also pay between 10 and 15 per cent of its profits from concert revenues back to the city, depending on whether there’s a hockey tenant.
But Labeaume repeated during the presser that he would continue pushing for federal money in the next few months. Labeaume added the deal means that even without an NHL team the city’s effective financial participation in the arena would be about $57.5-million, or about $600,000 per year. Just a little bit over the original amount of $50 million the City was supposed to pay with the participation of the federal government.
Quebecor, which owns the Sun media chain in English Canada and the TVA chain in French Canada, has long expressed interest in bringing NHL hockey back to the provincial capital, which lost its Nordiques in 1995.
Rival conglomerate Bell, part owner in the Montreal Canadiens was reportedly also involved in the bidding – along with Evenko, the concert promoter owned by the Molson brothers, owners of the Montreal Canadiens – but in the end Pierre-Karl Péladeau, whose company recently won regulatory approval to launch a specialized cable sports network, has won out the administration of the new facility.
As part of the deal, Quebecor has promised to make the building available 30 days each year for cultural events. The Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, currently the main tenant of the Old Colisée, will also be able to use the multipurpose facility for their home games.
The Remparts currently lead the league in attendance with an average of 10,692 fans per game. There was 11,1000 fans for Friday’s game against Victoriaville (which I attended) and 15,176 fans (full capacity) for Saturday’s contest against Rimouski.
Finally, there was more than 11,000 fans in attendance for hall-of-famer Guy Lafleur’s farewell tour on Sunday afternoon at the Old Colisée, which I attended with my father, a die-hard Habs fan. The Canadiens legend played his last alumni game donning the Nordiques and the Habs jerseys in the same game. Lafleur scored two goals, one with each team, in a 6-5 win by the Nordiques.
Peter, Anton and Marion Stastny, as well as Joe Sakic, Scott Young and Jocelyn Thibault were amongst the Nordiques players, while the Canadiens dressed several notable players such as Steve Shutt, Mario Tremblay, Pierre Turgeon, Stephane Richer, Claude Lemieux, Eric Desjardins, Patrice Brisebois and Mathieu Dandenault.
My childhood idol, Joe Sakic, used the setting to make the case for the return of NHL hockey to the city.
“I hope it will work,” he said. “Quebec is a great city and I hope it gets a team from the National Hockey League. It certainly deserves to have a new arena. When it is built, it will be a great place to play hockey.”
Now they need to find an NHL team ready to move north of the border… which is easier said than done!
About the Author: Working as a freelance sports writer and translator, Fred, 33, graduated from Laval University in Quebec City, earning a bachelor of translation in 2002. An avid fan of the Northeast division teams, he's also a long time fan of the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens. Fred also speaks fluently French and Spanish. http://twitter.com/FredPoulin98 www.traductions-quebec.com