Friday, July 16, 2021 - 2:45 PM

Fast Facts on the New Basketball Deal for Mile One

Logo: Mile One Centre Live it Live
Since the announcement yesterday that St. John’s Sports and Entertainment Ltd. (SJSEL) has a tentative deal in place to bring an American Basketball Association League team to Mile One this season, Council has watched and listened to feedback from residents and sports fans and would like to clarify some misconceptions.
 
The teams, not the City or SJSEL, chose not to sign the lease.
 
In 2019, the City, SJSEL and the ownership of the Growler’s and Edge announced that we had reached a 10-year Agreement in Principle with exclusivity for the teams at Mile One. From the moment of that announcement until April of this year, we have been more than willing to sign a lease based on the Agreement in Principle. However, the teams have not signed. 
 
Despite the fact that no lease was signed in 2019, SJSEL and Council agreed to allow the teams to play in our facility according to the terms of the Agreement in Principle. 
 
In 2021, Deacon Sports & Entertainment and Atlantic Sports Enterprises (the ownership groups for the Growlers and Edge) asked for new terms on the 10-year Agreement in Principle which would increase the City’s subsidy to SJSEL.   The City and Board declined this request. We did, however, confirm home ice territory for the Growlers and offered relief due to the COVID pandemic to both teams, set a deadline by which to complete negotiations and meet conditions - including payment of monies owed to local contractors and a resolution to the outstanding litigation regarding the LED ring.
 
The teams were not blindsided by our decision.
 
The Board notified the teams in April that their exclusivity to Mile One Centre was at an end and that SJSEL would begin accepting proposals from other organizations.
 
The allegations of bad faith by the Board and Management of SJSEL are unfounded.
 
SJSEL has a mandate to operate exceptional facilities that provide value to citizens, business and visitors by attracting events and activities that generate economic benefit and enhance community vibrancy. 
 
Practically, that means we want to reach mutually agreeable terms with potential tenants that work not only for the business owners involved, but more importantly for the taxpayers and residents of the City of St. John’s.
  • We are seeking the best possible lease arrangements that guarantee a good price for rent, and an opportunity to profit from concessions and corporate sponsorships, so that costs to run this facility are covered to the greatest extent possible.
  • The Board and Management at SJSEL have been unfairly criticized. The City stands behind them in their efforts to get the best deal possible, all the while balancing efficient operations with the need for community entertainment and economic investment.
We will not release the terms of the tentative deal until the final deal is signed.

We are still in negotiations with 2001 Investments Limited and would not jeopardize those talks by releasing details at this juncture. However, once the lease is signed, we will release the terms and, if Deacon Investments is agreeable, we would also provide the proposal from their group to the public for comparison.

There has never been a formal offer on the table to purchase Mile One.

 
While there has been a lot of talk in the media about an offer to buy this facility, no formal offer has ever been received. That being said, SJSEL, the owner of Mile One Centre, is not in a position to meet with and discuss a potential sale with any one individual.  
Mile One is an important asset for our City. It is an economic driver and a prime location for regional entertainment. Does it cost money to run? Yes. But so do all our recreational facilities.
 
Right now, the process of determining the condition of the building is underway, which would impact sale price. We believe that if a decision is made to sell, we need to have the best information possible so that we can get the fairest price possible.

We are very excited about the strong proposal offered, and we hope the community supports this new league.

In July, SJSEL were approached by a local interest group about bringing a basketball team to Mile One from the American Basketball Association. The American Basketball Association was first established in 1967 and merged with the National Basketball Association in 1976. The ABA was reformed in 2000 in partnership with the NBA and has been operating in harmony with them for the past 21 years.

 
We anticipate many exciting nights of basketball at Mile One this season, and we are more than willing to enter into lease negotiations to get the Growlers back at Mile One.