For sale: massive scoreboard in 'fair condition'

Edmonton city council votes to transfer drainage to EPCOR

The City of Edmonton is looking for a new home for the old scoreboard at Northlands Coliseum.

A report from city staff Thursday indicates the scoreboard is in "fair condition" — operable but not functioning at full capacity.

The company that built and serviced it has gone out of business. Parts are no longer available and have to be specially made.

"We should see if we can auction it when we're done with it," Mayor Don Iveson said. "Hopefully someone will give us a few bucks for it."

The sheer size of the unit is a hindrance to its sale. It was built to fit into the coliseum and would only be usable in a similar or larger-sized building.

It can't be dismantled to be used as a scoreboard in another facility, since it's built as one piece.

"It was state-of-the-art a long time ago and state-of-the-art changes pretty fast in the sports and entertainment world," said Iveson.

Current scoreboard technology is substantially lighter, easier to repair, and designed to be replaced when malfunctions occur, the report stated.

"The score clock liability is one of the other liabilities that Northlands is going to struggle with," said Iveson.  

The organization is also having to consider future uses for the coliseum and the Expo Centre. "It's kind of all lumped in together," added the mayor.

At the end of December, Northlands owed the city $1.15 million on a loan for the scoreboard.

The Oilers had an option to purchase the scoreboard when they left the coliseum, or to make an "exit payment" to Northlands. The club made an exit payment to Northlands of more than $400,000. The money went to the city in February.

The report says Northlands still owes the city nearly $713,000 for the scoreboard. The balance is to be repaid in annual instalments.

Some revenue is being generated through a ticket surcharge, on events such as the current Men's World Curling Championships, being held at the coliseum, Iveson said.

"We may be able to use some of the ticket surcharge money for example to defray that liability," he said.

Northlands is also spending $10,000 a year for operations and maintenance for the scoreboard. 

The report will come before city council Tuesday.

Administration and Northlands believe the resale or salvage value of the scoreboard would be minimal and there would be few potential buyers.

The most likely outcome would be its sale for scrap parts, the report stated.