LeBreton Flats: Who’s who in the Ottawa Senators new arena deal

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On Thursday, the Ottawa Senators were announced as the preferred bidder for the land at LeBreton Flats Arena. The team also announced that they are partnering with Live Nation, Sterling Equities, Tipping Point Sports and Populous to build an arena at the site. Here’s a look at the US-based companies that will be instrumental in building the new Ottawa Senators Arena.

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Jeff Wilpon and Sterling Project Development

Jeff Wilpon, 60, is the executive vice president of New York-based family firm Sterling Project Development.

In 1980, Wilpon’s father, rags-to-riches real estate magnate Fred Wilpon, purchased a 1% share in the New York Mets baseball club. From 2002 to 2020, the Wilpons were the majority owners of the National League team, until they sold their stake to hedge fund manager Steve Cohen for $2.4 billion.

During the Wilpons’ tenure, Jeff oversaw the construction of the Mets’ new ballpark, Citi Field, in Flushing, NY, on time and under budget.

But the Wilpons’ tenure as majority owners was difficult.

This is how the New York Times story describes the Wilpon years in a 2019 story.

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“At their best, the Wilpons, self-made multi-millionaires from the city’s outskirts, shone as generous philanthropists who sometimes broke the bank for a star player. At worst, they were a disorganized, bickering clan with a baseball team that fans viewed as inept and thrifty, and operating as a vanity game for family scion Fred Wilpon and his eldest son, Jeff, who overseen a team with mostly disappointing results since 2002.”

The same story describes Jeff as “aggressive and short-tempered”. Jeff, who like his father had a short career as a professional baseball player himself, has been accused of being a micromanager who interfered too much in club operations.

Jeff Wilpon is also the owner of the New York Excelsior, a team of professional video gamers.

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The Wilpon family were notable investors along with convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff, who allegedly lost $700 million in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

Sterling was also a partner in the New York Islanders’ new home arena, UBS Arena.

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Tipping point sports

Tipping Point Sports advertises itself as a “sports funding and advice shop”. Based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Tipping Point and its CEO Mitchell Zeits, lists the NHL’s Florida Panthers as clients it has advised on building new arenas with the National Basketball’s Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons. Association.

The Tipping Point website states that Ziets “performs a vital role in providing financial advice to teams and municipalities looking to build arenas and stadiums.” This advice includes due diligence, public-private partnership strategy and development agreement negotiations.

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His company’s clients include the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, and Florida Panthers on arena matters. Elsewhere, Ziets serves as a financial strategist for Chris Hanson tied to the development of a new downtown Seattle arena. In Phoenix, he provides investment banking services to the Coyotes as they explore building a new arena. In Oakland and San Diego, he provides financial advice on the construction of new NFL stadiums in these two markets. In the Bay Area, its client is the city of Oakland. In San Diego, he is assisting JMI Realty as the Chargers propose a downtown stadium tied to a convention center expansion.


Populous is a global architectural design firm that has built arenas such as the Climate Pledge Arena for the Seattle Kraken, the T-Mobile Arena for the Las Vegas Golden Knights, the Videotron Center in Quebec City and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England.
Formed in 2009, Populous has operations in 34 countries around the globe.

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nation live

Live Nation Entertainment was formed in 2010 from the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation and is the largest event promoter in the world.

Its president is Canadian Michael Rapino, who was born in Thunder Bay and was named president and CEO of Live Nation in 2005 and continued in that role with Live Nation Entertainment after the merger.

A graduate of Lakehead University, Rapino began his career promoting small Canadian artists and later worked in sales and marketing for Labbatt Breweries.

Live Nation Entertainment opened an office in Ottawa in 2017 and brought blockbusters to the city like Justin Bieber in March and Maroon 5 in August. It also sponsors music festivals like Escapade, which takes place this weekend at Lansdowne Park.

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After nearly two harrowing years for the concert industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Live Nation rebounded at the end of 2021, hosting 17,000 concerts for 35 million fans, mostly in the US and UK.

The industry rebounded even more this year, with more than 70 million tickets sold, a 36% increase from 2019 that the company attributes to pent-up demand for live shows.

Live Nation also hosts events in the lucrative field of mixed martial arts.

It bills itself as the “world’s leading live entertainment company”, hosting 40,000 shows a year, over 100 festivals and selling half a billion tickets worldwide.

The company is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, and employs 44,000 people. Live Nation Canada is based in Vancouver.

Also: Ottawa Senators Win Bid for Downtown Arena on LeBreton Flats

with files by Bruce Garrioch

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