B.C. Ferries is sailing away from its sponsorship of the Vancouver Canucks, but B.C. Lottery Corporation is all-in for two more seasons.
The Crown gambling giant, which maintains executive and marketing offices on the East Side, signed a deal July 1, 2010 with Vancouver Canucks LP and Vancouver Arena LP, which do business as Canucks Sports and Entertainment. The contract, obtained via Freedom of Information, runs through June 30, 2013. Various sections were censored by BCLC for fear of revealing trade secrets, so financial terms were not disclosed.
Less than a month before the deal was signed, BCLC agreed to use luxury suite 260 in Rogers Arena through June 30, 2013 for 20 regular season and two exhibition games, plus every second playoff game and up to half of all other events.
The letter of agreement said BCLC was entitled to 14 suite passes to each Canucks game. The price of the suite was not explicitly shown, but if a game was cancelled, CSE agreed to refund “the per game price of $3,182 plus HST.” That would mean the suite cost $78,404.48 in 2010-2011, not including playoffs.
The per-game fee rises to $3,364 in 2011-2012 and $3,555 in 2012-2013. Food and beverage is separate. BCLC spent $7,239.28 on catering through Aramark, the CSE-contracted monopoly, over four home games in the first two rounds.
BCLC claimed it allotted 24 lower bowl seats through the first two rounds to contest winners and guests. CEO Michael Graydon, who was paid $421,084 in 2010-2011, also had four lower bowl tickets for the opening game of the second round series against the Nashville Predators.
BCLC did not comment before deadline.
B.C. Hydro had a similar half-season interest in a luxury suite at Rogers Arena, but sold its mandatory two games for the second, third and fourth rounds to undisclosed parties. It claimed to be unable to find a buyer for the opening round, so it donated its suite for two games to Canuck Place children’s hospice at a combined value of $10,601.
Hydro didn’t miss the action entirely. It rented a larger suite for 24 people to attend the second game of the opening round on April 15. CEO Dave Cobb, who was paid $467,641 in 2010-2011, hosted the BC Hydro Safety Taskforce group. The suite and food and beverage for the night cost $5,548.86.
ICBC, meanwhile, didn’t go to the rink at all. The taxpayer-owned auto insurer was neither a sponsor nor a ticketholder.
“We did not buy any playoff tickets or suites,” said spokesman Adam Grossman.
The provincial government enjoys a cosy relationship with CSE, whose owners are big donors. Various companies controlled by the Aquilini family gave a whopping $600,580 from 2005 to 2011 to the B.C. Liberals. The party received $22,250 directly from CSE.
“Generally Crown corporations are in businesses where they’re a monopoly. The argument they make that they’re competing doesn’t really hold a lot of water,” said Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation. “It’s disheartening when executives are making a quarter-million dollars a year, half-a-million dollars a year, or in David Hahn’s case, a million dollars a year and they can’t shell out for their own tickets, their own suites. That’s not fair to the average family.”