City, Battalion amend agreement

NORTH BAY, Ont. — The City of North Bay has announced that it has reached an agreement to amend its arena lease, license and loan agreements with the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League.

The revised agreement was approved by city council Tuesday night and will become effective upon signing. Once signed, it will be posted to the City’s website.

Under the new agreement, provisions within the original lease pertaining to a shortfall in season ticket revenue will be removed and the City will repay the Battalion an outstanding balance of $3.99 million owed to the club on a $5-million interest-free loan for improvements to Memorial Gardens.

The original lease, signed in 2012, gave the Battalion the option of terminating the agreement and collecting repayment of any outstanding balance on the loan under certain circumstances, including season ticket revenues falling below $750,000 annually for three consecutive years and the City declining to make up the shortfall. That option, which never was exercised, has been removed.

“This new agreement simplifies and streamlines our partnership with the North Bay Battalion and enables us to continue our valued relationship with the team,” Mayor Al McDonald said in a news release.

“The North Bay Battalion benefits our community in a number of ways. Not only is the club a source of civic pride, it provides local employment, generates economic activity and supports many charitable and non-profit organizations.”

While the amended agreement removes the requirement to share in revenues related to season tickets, gate, suite licenses, advertising commissions and in-ice logos, the City will continue to have exclusive rights to all advertising opportunities within the arena and ice during City-run special events and will share equally with the Battalion in any revenues from arena naming rights.

The City will receive 100 percent of all capital reserve fund fees, which are added to ticket prices for all events, and will continue using the revenue generated from the $2.50 fee to repay monies used for the arena renovations, including payout of the loan from the Battalion.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with the City under the updated agreement,” said Battalion owner Scott Abbott. “It’s important for us, as our players enjoy North Bay and we all appreciate the loyalty from our billets, fans and corporate supporters.”

The City originally entered into a 15-year lease agreement with the Battalion, which relocated from Brampton to start play in the 2013-14 season. The agreement involved renovations to Memorial Gardens, including expanded seating, new corporate boxes and an extended ice surface.

North Bay had been without an OHL team since the Centennials moved to Saginaw, Mich., and became the Spirit in 2002.

As of last June 30, the Battalion had collected and paid to the City almost $2.9 million in revenue through the lease agreement, including more than $2 million in capital reserve fees.

The Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the start of the 2020-21 OHL season to an indeterminate date. Last season was cancelled on March 12.

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