By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
While talks continue on the future of the General Motors Centre’s jumbotron, a decision could be coming soon.
In early February, Rocco Tullio, the owner of the Oshawa Generals, appeared in council chambers and seemed to have an answer to the city’s issue with the ailing jumbotron. Tullio offered to pay the full price for a new system in exchange for “concessions” on the shared marketing agreement between the city and the OHL club. When pressed later on the topic, Mayor John Henry said all the details of that offer were not made public and that discussions were continuing.
Replacing the scoreclock at the GM Centre, which has hung there since the arena opened in 2006, could come with a $900,000 price tag if the city chooses one with a few bells and whistles.
“In the end, we want to be able to support not only hockey, but be respectful to all other needs of the city as well,” Henry says.
He could not offer any more details about the ongoing dialogue between the Gens and the city.
“I can just say they’re ongoing…and they’re going back and forth, and right now, I can’t really tell you anymore than that,” he says. “As long as we’re talking, the dialogue is good. When we’re not talking, there’s some challenges.”
The Generals were also vague on the details of any discussions.
“The Generals and the City of Oshawa continue to talk and meet about the video board, but there have been no updates as of yet,” said spokesperson Andrew Gilbank in an emailed response.
Discussions on the jumbotron have been ongoing since the summer when, according to a city report, the Generals offered $60,000 annually for five years to help pay for a new system.
That offer also came with the caveat that the shared marketing agreement between the two organizations be extended for five years. Currently, the Gens control all advertising in and around the GM Centre and bring in revenues from in-game advertising. That agreement has approximately two years remaining.
At the time, the city felt an extension would lock them into the same terms for seven years and turned it down.
A counteroffer from the city was rejected by the Generals, following which talks dissolved completely.