Companies go to battle over Hamilton’s entertainment venues

The two operating companies in charge of Hamilton’s main entertainment venues have been given the green light by city council to go to battle.

Carmen’s group, which operates the Convention Centre, is looking to manage the other two facilities, the city’s downtown arena and concert hall, which are run by Spectra.

With Carmen’s group looking to operate all three entertainment hubs, the competition is heating up meaning people in Hamilton could see bigger and better acts coming to the city.

Like the sold out shows for Paul McCartney, The Tragically Hip, and Elton John. Along with major musical events like the Junos and later in September, the Canada Country Music Awards.

John Hertel works with the city and manages the venues. He says Spectra receives a $1,400,000 subsidy each year that goes towards the operating costs.

Last year happened to be a successful one, lowering the city subsidy by $100,000.

It all depends on what acts come to Hamilton, some are much more profitable than others.

According to the city, both operators have been great to work with and have saved taxpayers $5,000,000 since taking over the formerly city-run HECFI facilities.

But now the goal is to lower costs even further for the taxpayer, while expanding Hamilton’s entertainment scene.

Today council approved a six-month extension of the existing operating contracts that were set to expire at the end of the year. The big decision on whether or not one company will operate all three facilities will be left to the new council following the October municipal election.


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