Global giants best bet for privatizing HECFI operations
By Andrew Dreschel
One of the most significant issues this term of council has to deal with is back on deck.
This Friday, KPMG consultants will finally present their advice on which private company should run the financially troubled Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc.
With city’s staff’s backing, KPMG argues that the city should start negotiating with two entertainment giants — Global Spectrum/Live Nation and SMG/Forum Equity.
Of the six companies that answered the city’s request for proposals, those are the only two interested in managing all three city-owned facilities — Copps Coliseum, Hamilton Place and Convention Centre.
KPMG argues both bidders are in the best position to save taxpayers money through a change of HECFI management.
Global Spectrum manages 40 arenas, 13 stadiums, and 32 convention centres around the world and its parent company owns the NHL Philadelphia Flyers.
Its partnering bidder, Live Nation, is one of the world’s biggest concert promoters.
SMG globally manages 77 arenas, 54 theatres and 68 convention centres, including two NHL arenas. Forum Equity is a Toronto-based development firm.
But the recommendation doesn’t mean it’s game over for some of the other bidders.
Councillors are expected to be presented with the possibility of sticking with the status quo and a hybrid option.
The latter would keep the door open on talks with AEG Facilities/Katz Group, which is only interested in operating Copps Coliseum.
Some believe that AEG/Katz may represent Hamilton’s best long-term chance of landing an NHL team.
AEG operates more than 100 stadiums and arenas worldwide and owns the NHL Los Angeles Kings while the Edmonton-based Katz Group owns the NHL Edmonton Oilers.