Archive for the ‘Dollars That Make Sense’ Category

Sao Paulo Indy 300 - Day 3I don’t believe in fate or destiny, but I understand why others might. Sometimes, seemingly unrelated circumstances coincide so perfectly to form a singular result that it’s difficult to not believe in an unseen and powerful guidance shaping the outcome.

Like many Canadians of a similar background and age to my own, I loved open-wheel racing before I even understood that it was open-wheel racing that I loved. Also, like many Canadians of a similar background and age to my own, my love for North America’s premier source for open-wheel racing came to an abrupt halt in the mid-nineties when the departure of Jacques Villeneuve from the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series conspired with the introduction of the Indy Racing League (IRL) – and subsequent desecration of the Indy 500 – to reduce the relevance of the sport on the entire continent.

Eighteen years later, the IndyCar Series is haunted by this past, even as it strives to return to a time when its brand of racing attracted new fans and captivated long-time supporters. Leading the charge to fight these ghosts and bring the sport back to an era of increased public interest is a 26-year-old driver from Oakville, Ontario – James Hinchcliffe.

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Early Wednesday morning, City Councillors in Markham, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto with more than 300,000 residents, voted 7-6 against a motion that would have stopped a controversial plan to subsidize a $325 million hockey arena. The vote took place after a seven hour meeting, attended by more than 500 residents, many of whom spoke out against a financial framework that calls for the city to take out a considerable loan to fully finance construction.

Despite previous denials that the ultimate purpose of such a colossal project was to attract a National Hockey League franchise to the community, Paul Kelly, the former executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, made no attempt to further the charade during his address to the council.

It is true that if you build it, they will come. This is your opportunity, citizens of Markham. If you don’t act now and keep this project moving forward, you will likely never again have the opportunity to secure an NHL team.

While a pitch of this nature is more common to direct response television advertisements than city council meetings, those who support the project point to an unprecedented cost-sharing arrangement with GTA Sports and Entertainment and its financial backer, Remington Group, which under the current proposal, would take responsibility for paying back half of the city’s $325 million loan over the next two decades. In addition, Global Spectrum, the proposed arena operator, has promised to cover the cost of any operating losses.

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