Sat. Dec 9th, 2023

Les Kings à Qué ;bec: “It’s important to invest in leisure” /></p>
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<p class=Prime Minister François Legault (Archive photo)

  • Félix Morrissette-Beaulieu (View profile)Félix Morrissette-Beaulieu

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François Legault justifies his decision to subsidize two games of the Los Angeles Kings by affirming that it is important to invest in leisure activities. He has no intention of backing down, he will grant up to $7 million in public money for the holding of these preparatory matches in Quebec in October 2024.

There are some who play petty politics, declared Prime Minister Legault while visiting Bonaventure, in Gaspésie.

For François Legault, the public service unions, which denounce such a subsidy while negotiations are failing with the government, are making bad comparisons.

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If we accepted the unions' demands, it would cost $3.7 billion. The ability of Quebec taxpayers to pay is limited. There is no question of increasing taxes. When we talk about 5 to 7 million […] we are not talking about the same amounts.

A quote from François Legault, Prime Minister of QuebecOpen in full screen mode

The Videotron Center filled with fans who came to encourage young players at the Quebec Pee-Wee Tournament last February. (Archive photo)

The Prime Minister justifies this subsidy by the importance for his government of financing leisure activities, but above all giving back to people from Quebec a National League team.

I don't know if you know, the people of Quebec would like to have a hockey team , they would like the Quebec Nordiques to return.

A quote from François Legault, Prime Minister of Quebec

François Legault is convinced that the Presenting two exhibition matches is a step in the right direction.

We are going to show the extraordinary amphitheater that is in Quebec to the Los Angeles Kings, the Boston Bruins, the Florida Panthers. We hope that Mr. Bettman will come visit us during these games. […] It is time that the national league agrees to give a franchise.

And also, the people of Quebec, they love hockey, concludes the Prime Minister.

It will take more than presenting two exhibition games to convince the NHL to set up a team in Quebec, believes Geneviève Harbec, head of operations, promotion and transfer at the HEC Montreal sports center and lecturer in sports marketing.

According to her, the charm operation is already done. Quebec fans and governments have already demonstrated their interest and passion for hockey to senior NHL officials. However, historically, I think that the senior management of the league has proven time and time again that Quebec was not a priority, believes Ms. Harbec.

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Nordiques fans at the blue march in October 2010.

The fact is that the NHL's decision is first and foremost a business decision.

First, an ownership group must be ready to buy an expansion team or a team that will relocate, notes Ms. Harbec. So far, no investors have publicly shown interest. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any, believes Ms. Harbec. It's probable, possible. I dare to believe that there are people who have this potential in our market.

Recently, the Senators of ;Ottawa were acquired for nearly a billion dollars by Canadian Michael Andlauer. The billionaire owns 90% of the team.

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Michael Andlauer spent 13 years as minority owner of the CH before acquiring the Senators. (File photo)

If the market is there, Geneviève Harbec does not also rule out the arrival of foreign investors. We've already seen it, even in the CFL where it was an American group that owned the Montreal Alouettes for several years. […] Yes it is happening. Will Quebec be a priority for these investors? If they see potential in the market, it can quickly become a priority.

Markets like Houston and Salt Lake City are also in the sights of investors, in particular because of projected revenues from television broadcast rights.

There will be a market study carried out, will the market respond, but not just with the honeymoon effect which lasts one or two seasons. Is it viable in the long term? asks the expert. For now, recent proof must be demonstrated.

It would then take the commitment of the business community, which will buy boxes, advertising and partnerships, in particular. To say that it is possible or viable at the moment, I think there are still too many questions.

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