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Mark Chipman warning about Winnipeg Jets relocation doesn’t make sense

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Photo credit:JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Goose
By Goose
4 months ago
Be sure to check Betway to check out the latest Jets game day odds and bet on the NHL! I’ve had a few days to digest Chris Johnson’s report on the Winnipeg Jets’ current season ticket sales not being good enough to keep the team here long term. From what I’ve heard, people are paranoid about the team leaving again, but it doesn’t feel like Mark Chipman will let the team leave Winnipeg while he is still alive and breathing.
As well, we know that Chipman and David Thompson own True North Sports and Entertainment (TNSE), and they are looking to not just own a hockey club but to mostly own a large part of downtown Winnipeg. Last May, it was made known that the owners of Portage Place were going to close the mall if they could sell it. TNSE made it known they would like to potentially buy the mall and add two towers, one to each end of the mall.
In trying to purchase Portage Place, TNSE is trying to make downtown a more community-oriented space. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to shut down one of the biggest attractions of downtown just before this potential plan goes into effect. Unless TNSE is trying to back out of the plan to revitalize downtown Winnipeg, there is no chance this team leaves Winnipeg.
I could see the Manitoba Moose leaving Winnipeg. Although I know there is dedicated love for the Moose, and they are perfect games on a budget, I would suspect that on the low end, 40% of Moose season ticket holders would end up buying Jets season tickets. It would be a whole lot easier moving an AHL team before an NHL team. There has to be more overall money for the owners to have an NHL team here rather than selling the team to Ryan Smith in Salt Lake City.
This is where I get into the politics of this so bear with me. But what if this is Chipman making noise to hush any further news about the purchase of Portage Place from Vancouver’s Peterson Group? Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham’s inner circle voted to give the private group a six-month extension in looking to purchase the downtown mall in December. We are a little over four months away from the extension to purchase the mall.

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If there is something seriously wrong with it, like the foundation isn’t strong enough to support the towers they want to build on either end of the mall, that could increase the cost to more than what it’s worth to pay as investors.
As well, if there is dodgy activity that the previous owners engaged in, that could cost the two billionaires more money than it’s worth to buy the large property that could bring back life downtown.
We haven’t seen an update on this from the province since before the Manitoba election. Former Premier Heather Stefanson was in favor of the project and was even offering tax incentives for TNSE. But we haven’t heard the current NDP provincial government’s official stance on this, though Wab Kinew has made positive remarks about the purchase.
Shots have been fired. I think true local fans will keep the seat sales high and get the team back to consistent sellouts. I was at the WASAC game on Sunday night, but the way the building echoed during the “GO JETS GO” chants was something else. The empty seats may look bad to the eyes, but for how loud the building gets even after being back for nearly 13 years, it would be a total failure of TNSE to let the Jets go once again.
I don’t have an agenda on Gary Bettman’s visit to Winnipeg on Tuesday, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he not only talks to local business owners to purchase season tickets, but also Mayor Gillingham and Premier Kinew about the purchase of Portage Place to keep the Jets around.
 
 
 
 

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