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SHOFEAR
Mar 24, 2008, 3:39 PM
http://tsn.ca/cfl/news_story/?ID=232483&hubname=cfl

Cohon working to bring CFL back to Ottawa


The Canadian Press

3/20/2008 7:36:29 PM

OTTAWA - If the commissioner's travel plans are any indication, the CFL's return to the Canadian capital looks like a good bet.

With reports of a conditional expansion franchise being granted to a Ottawa as early as the 2010 season surfacing earlier this week, CFL commissioner Mark Cohon sounded positive about the possibility during a stopover here Thursday.

''I'm working hard to get this done,'' Cohon said after speaking at a sports business conference at Scotiabank Place, home of the NHL's Ottawa Senators. ''I think we've got the right (ownership) group and we're working hard to bring this back to Ottawa and we'll have an announcement very soon.''

An ownership group led by Jeff Hunt, owner of the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's, and backed by Ottawa businessmen Roger Greenberg, chairman and chief executive of Minto Developments, John Ruddy, president of Trinity Development Group, and William Shenkman, chairman of Shenkman Corp., are in talks with the league.

Related Info
CFL close to returning to Ottawa
Repeat Performance?
Ottawa has been without a CFL team since the league suspended the Renegades franchise following the 2005 season.





Hunt was part of a previous group, Golden Gate Capital, that was interested in bringing the team back last year before it was forced to withdraw from its pursuit when one of its major financial backers became seriously ill.

Hunt told the Ottawa Sun in its Thursday editions that he believed the new group would be successful this time around.

''Are we close? Yes, I believe we are,'' said Hunt, who believed the announcement could come as early as next week. ''There are a lot of components to any conditional franchise.

''We're just going through all the details that need to be dealt with.''

Cohon seemed to support those words.

''I was joking before (that) I'll probably have to change my suit, because you guys will recognize because I will be back soon,'' he said. ''Very soon.''

When reached last night at OHL league meetings in Toronto, Hunt said he preferred to remain tight-lipped over Cohon's comments or the possibility of a 2010 start-up until they get past this stage.

''I really can't even add anything to that, it's too blue sky to think about those kind of details,'' he said.

The franchise fee as well as a lease agreement and the condition of Frank Clair Stadium, home of the Renegades and the old Ottawa Rough Riders, have previously been stumbling blocks for the CFL's return.

Hunt said his group was ''comfortable'' with that aspect.

Cohon didn't have offer any comment on the financial details or the state of negotiations with the city regarding the stadium, but sounded positive that a solution would be worked out and appeared to be a supporter of Hunt's group.

''I'm smiling so ...,'' he said. ''I think it's really important that people know that my job as a commissioner is to make sure that we find the right local owners and then empower them to make sure that they do have a (good) relationship with the city.''

wild wild west
Mar 24, 2008, 3:54 PM
Excellent news. The CFL needs Ottawa. There are only a few markets in Canada big enough for a CFL team, and we need a team in every one of them. Having 8 teams sucks.

But PLEASE learn from your mistakes. Don't let the Gliebermans have ANYTHING to do with a CFL team in Ottawa.

Greco Roman
Mar 24, 2008, 4:19 PM
Any bets on how long this next team will last? Three, maybe four years? :D

MolsonExport
Mar 24, 2008, 4:53 PM
I hope that Quebec City will soon be added as an expansion team.

drew
Mar 24, 2008, 4:59 PM
Good news...

I guess this means Winnipeg will get shuffled back to the west division...

ErickMontreal
Mar 24, 2008, 5:06 PM
I hope that Quebec City will soon be added as an expansion team.

Great new for Ottawa but that should have been Québec instead of Ottawa.

Nicko999
Mar 24, 2008, 5:06 PM
Great news for Ottawa!

harls
Mar 24, 2008, 5:06 PM
^^ Why not both?

Ayreonaut
Mar 24, 2008, 5:08 PM
Because Quebec didn't get a team (but should).

SHOFEAR
Mar 24, 2008, 5:08 PM
Great new for Ottawa but that should have been Québec instead of Ottawa.

oh please. It's not like they choose one over the other. One just happens to have a stadium.

drew
Mar 24, 2008, 5:09 PM
Agreed, that should have been Québec instead of Ottawa.

^ I think a pre-existing CFL sized stadium makes it an easy choice for the CFL. If Quebec or Halifax had a suitable stadium, I would imagine the league would have seriously considered those cities as well.

harls
Mar 24, 2008, 5:10 PM
oh please. It's not like they choose one over the other. One just happens to have a stadium.

well, half of one.

ErickMontreal
Mar 24, 2008, 5:13 PM
oh please. It's not like they choose one over the other. One just happens to have a stadium.

With temporary seating, Université Laval would be a valuable choice pending the construction of a permanent stadium.

SteelTown
Mar 24, 2008, 5:14 PM
An ownership group led by Jeff Hunt, owner of the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's, and backed by Ottawa businessmen Roger Greenberg, chairman and chief executive of Minto Developments, John Ruddy, president of Trinity Development Group, and William Shenkman, chairman of Shenkman Corp., are in talks with the league.

Group ownership is never a good thing, especially 4 owners.

Ayreonaut
Mar 24, 2008, 5:18 PM
The Stamps have group ownership.

Wooster
Mar 24, 2008, 5:20 PM
They had left again?? :shrug:

flar
Mar 24, 2008, 5:23 PM
They should call the new team something like the "Lions" or the "Blue Bombers". I think Roughriders is already taken.

Ayreonaut
Mar 24, 2008, 5:27 PM
They had left again?? :shrug:

Was that to me?

The Jabroni
Mar 24, 2008, 5:49 PM
I'm guessing the teams name "Renegades" will be sticking around again, unless they make another name change just to confuse the hell out of people, like how they were named the "Rough Riders" many moons ago.

Ayreonaut
Mar 24, 2008, 5:52 PM
They should call themselves the Bills.

wild wild west
Mar 24, 2008, 5:52 PM
They should call the new team something like the "Lions" or the "Blue Bombers". I think Roughriders is already taken.

Nah, wouldn't want to have the same name as another existing team. They should go with either "Bluebombers" or "Argo Nauts".

Greco Roman
Mar 24, 2008, 6:33 PM
Group ownership is never a good thing


I think that the Edmonton Oilers have proved otherwise.

ExcaliburKid
Mar 24, 2008, 7:46 PM
What a joke. This makes what, the 3rd time this franchise has been resurrected in the last decade? Stay gone please, Hamilton already took over the roll of league basement dwellers, the East doesnt need 2 incredibly crappy teams.

wild wild west
Mar 24, 2008, 8:07 PM
What a joke. This makes what, the 3rd time this franchise has been resurrected in the last decade? Stay gone please, Hamilton already took over the roll of league basement dwellers, the East doesnt need 2 incredibly crappy teams.

It wasn't the fans or the market, it was the ownership. The Ottawa Rough Riders had a long and sproud history in the CFL until running into at least a decade of inept ownership groups that have mismanaged the franchise (including the Gliebermans - twice!). The Gliebermans are so useless, they could make the Montreal Canadiens fold.

Get Ottawa a competent, committed, patient ownership group that is willing to put money into a venture that may lose some money for a few years before it starts making money, and you will have a winner. The Ottawa market is too big for the CFL to ignore.

SHOFEAR
Mar 24, 2008, 8:14 PM
What exactly is the condition of Frank Claire? I recall reading that there were significant structural flaws appearing

harls
Mar 24, 2008, 8:40 PM
The south grandstands are condemned and are going to be demolished.

kitchener-lrt
Mar 24, 2008, 9:08 PM
Finally, the Renegades are coming back!

O-Town Hockey
Mar 24, 2008, 9:08 PM
Once the stands are demolished, the current plan/hope is to build a ring of stands around the 3 vacant sides of the field. It will have slightly less capacity than the current two-level grandstand on the South side but it will be lower and the fans will be closer to the action. Here is a diagram of the proposed Lansdowne Park redevelopment from the newspaper last year:

http://img503.imageshack.us/img503/6812/lansdowneparkwf7.jpg

If this happens will be great for an already vibrant part of town. Go Jeff Hunt!

IntotheWest
Mar 24, 2008, 11:42 PM
Nah, wouldn't want to have the same name as another existing team. They should go with either "Bluebombers" or "Argo Nauts".

Well, just Argonauts should be fine...given the existing Argonauts won't exist for long after the NFL arrives in TO.

VANRIDERFAN
Mar 25, 2008, 4:45 AM
Well, just Argonauts should be fine...given the existing Argonauts won't exist for long after the NFL arrives in TO.


So Toronto is going to trade 9 games for 1? Sounds like sound policy to me.

trueviking
Mar 25, 2008, 4:56 AM
so...is the plan to demolish the stands around the civic centre or to build new?

i will be glad to have ottawa back....they have been jerked around enough...remember that the riders were the oldest sports franchise in north america before they folded.

i hope they get the name back too....i used to love that 20% of the league had the same name for like 70 years....that could happen nowhere else....

NFL aint coming to toronto....after the 5 year buffalo deal is done, the two 90 year olds trying to land a team will be dead.

SteelTown
Mar 25, 2008, 10:59 AM
Cats and Bills teaming up
Clubs look at joint efforts to promote football in Hamilton and Buffalo

Ken Peters
The Hamilton Spectator
(Mar 25, 2008)

Buffalo is located just over 100 kilometres from Hamilton.

But the two cities' professional football teams have never been closer.

For the first time in the history of both the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Buffalo Bills, the two teams are close to a joint marketing partnership to strengthen each other's grasp in their respective markets.

Ticat owner Bob Young said yesterday that while details are still being worked out, both franchises are committed to helping each other survive.

"It's one thing for us to say nice things about each other in the occasional newspaper article. It's something again, for example, to do joint promotions," Young said. "Get, say, (former Bills star quarterback) Jim Kelly and Danny McManus to do autograph signings together.

"The conversations have started and we're both optimistic we can do some interesting things together."

He also raised the possibility that Tiger-Cat games might be aired on Buffalo television for the first time.

The announcement is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser, given that the Tiger-Cats pulled their support from a Bills plan announced in January that will see the NFL club play eight games over the next five seasons at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Young said he believes the Canadian Football League will continue to flourish, even with the Bills playing some games in Canada.

"We have finally got off our duff, and instead of sitting back and waiting for the Bills to encroach on our league, we have actually opened a dialogue with the NFL and the Buffalo Bills," the Ticat owner said, adding he sat down and talked with Bills management last month.

Young said there is a huge Buffalo Bills market in southern Ontario that the Bills have not capitalized on. But there is also a huge CFL market in both southern Ontario and northwestern New York that remains untapped, he added.

Young said the Cats-Bills discussion reveals both franchises have much in common.

"The lack of dialogue between the CFL and the NFL generally, and between the Buffalo Bills and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, for the last 50 years is scandalous," he said.

"So we're going to fix that and you will be hearing, over the course of the next six months, some interesting initiatives coming out of that partnership.

"We're both in the same business. And we want to see each other prosper. There is no downside here."

Young said the only downside from the Bills' perspective would be to see another NFL club set up shop in Toronto.

"They want to make sure they are the NFL team of choice for football teams in southern Ontario."

And the Bills seem to be prepared to help the CFL teams in southern Ontario as a way of strengthening their own grip on that market.

Young insisted that the Cats haven't changed their tune.

"My interest isn't in helping them be successful in Toronto," he said. "My interest is seeing them be successful in Buffalo."

Young said that while he "had nothing to announce today," the marketing plan between the two teams would be to encourage fans in each market to attend the other's games.

"You are going to see some initiatives between us and the Bills just because their interest and our interests are aligned. They want to be successful in Buffalo and we want them to be successful in Buffalo. But equally, they want to see football be successful in southern Ontario and that's what our interests are."

Young said Bills football in Toronto is only a problem if the CFL isn't proactive and doesn't try to work with the organization.

"It turns out the guys in Buffalo are really good guys. We see many more opportunities to collaborate. The other people I love are the Bills fans. They are our perfect allies because the Bills fans want the Bills and are desperate for the Bills to be successful in Buffalo."

harls
Mar 25, 2008, 1:45 PM
One of the conditions for an Ottawa franchise is that the stadium must hold minimum 25,000, so I heard on CBC yesterday..

IntotheWest
Mar 25, 2008, 3:51 PM
NFL aint coming to toronto....after the 5 year buffalo deal is done, the two 90 year olds trying to land a team will be dead.

I do hope that is the case...I was just kidding anyway. Just seems to be talked about a fair amount the last several months.

I'm still hoping a few other teams are possible in Canada, before they decide to move into the US' "Border towns" (as per the commisioner's own words several months ago).

HomeInMyShoes
Mar 25, 2008, 8:55 PM
I've come up with my name. The Ottawa Outahere's.

Aylmer
Mar 25, 2008, 11:32 PM
I heard they actualy want to call them the roughriders!

:)

HomeInMyShoes
Mar 26, 2008, 12:10 AM
I'm good with roughriders actually. It's part of the history. I was sad there was no CFL in Ottawa when I lived there. It's such a great stadium location (not transit-wise, but neighbourhood.)

I really do hope this iteration sticks.

Gdoggy
Mar 26, 2008, 12:12 AM
ahhhh the signs it's a leap year...

1) February has 29 days
2) summer olympics
3) The CFL is expanding to a city it has been in several times already

:rolleyes:

Greco Roman
Mar 26, 2008, 3:03 AM
I do hope that is the case...I was just kidding anyway. Just seems to be talked about a fair amount the last several months.

I'm still hoping a few other teams are possible in Canada, before they decide to move into the US' "Border towns" (as per the commisioner's own words several months ago).

Um, the only true "border towns" in the US, according to my geography, that would be worthwhile of expansion, are Detroit, Buffalo, and Seattle (but this is really reaching). And since all of these have NFL teams, CFL expansion here is highly unlikely.

So where would these border towns be located? Watertown, NY? Grand Forks, North Dakota? Great Falls, Montana? Yeah, these would be wise choices for expansion :haha:

Ayreonaut
Mar 26, 2008, 3:11 AM
Spokane comes to mind, half a million people, the Chiefs compete against Canadian WHL teams, and the best they have for pro football is AF2 (is it the Shock?). Not exactly a border town, but not too far.

EastVanMark
Mar 26, 2008, 6:23 AM
Portland Oregon could also be considered a border town and they have played host to a CFL pre season game b4 that drew a capacity crowd. They also have a junior hockey franchise in the WHL so its not like they aren't familiar with Canadian cities. (western ones anyways).

EastVanMark
Mar 26, 2008, 6:44 AM
Um, the only true "border towns" in the US, according to my geography, that would be worthwhile of expansion, are Detroit, Buffalo, and Seattle (but this is really reaching). And since all of these have NFL teams, CFL expansion here is highly unlikely.

So where would these border towns be located? Watertown, NY? Grand Forks, North Dakota? Great Falls, Montana? Yeah, these would be wise choices for expansion :haha:

He didn't mean literally right on the border, but rather cities that are somewhat close to Canada. Part of the reason why US expansion failed last time was that all but 1 of the franchises were too far south to have any connection with Canada. The most northern US franchise was also by far the most successful (Baltimore).

Some northern cities that could possibly be hosts for a CFL team would include Portland (Oregon), Salt Lake City, Hartford, Rochester, Milwaukee and even though they have an NFL team (allegedly) Detroit.

Ayreonaut
Mar 26, 2008, 1:24 PM
Portland and SLC might be successful. Rochester might be Bills country, Hartford-Patriots, Milwaukee-Bears/Packers.

Greco Roman
Mar 26, 2008, 3:43 PM
Portland and SLC might be successful. Rochester might be Bills country, Hartford-Patriots, Milwaukee-Bears/Packers.


Well, I would say the same thing for Spokane, as it is in Seahawks country. It really doesn't matter where you look anymore. And I think it's a shame that the CFL has to look south of the border to maintain the viability of the league.

IntotheWest
Mar 26, 2008, 4:15 PM
He didn't mean literally right on the border, but rather cities that are somewhat close to Canada. Part of the reason why US expansion failed last time was that all but 1 of the franchises were too far south to have any connection with Canada. The most northern US franchise was also by far the most successful (Baltimore).

Some northern cities that could possibly be hosts for a CFL team would include Portland (Oregon), Salt Lake City, Hartford, Rochester, Milwaukee and even though they have an NFL team (allegedly) Detroit.

@Greco, that's why I put "border towns" in quotes - because they really aren't very close to the border.

But the cities listed above are some that I read as well - Portland, SLC, and actually, Fargo, ND.

Personally, I think its a crazy idea, and if they consider Fargo, they might as well consider the Okanagan and maybe Victoria as well.

BTW - these were on top of the possible expansion to two other Cdn cities - Halifax, and I think Quebec City (though, I can't recall for sure if it was QC).

HAMRetrofit
Mar 26, 2008, 5:08 PM
For the sake of the CFL I hope locating a new team in Ottawa will not be a flop. I think it may be that the league is gate driven by a captive working middle class that Ottawa does not have. I think that locating a team in either Mississauga or Oshawa may have been a slightly better idea. Also, I think that South Western Ontario would be another hot spot in between London and Kitchener for a future CFL team.

Acajack
Mar 26, 2008, 8:15 PM
Fargo??????? It has fewer people in its metro (175,000) than about 10 Canadian cities that don’t currently have CFL clubs.

I don’t get this obsession with putting CFL teams in U.S. cities. Even Spokane, which is relatively large, underserved by pro sports and close to the border, shouldn’t even be considered until Quebec City and Halifax, at the very least, have their own CFL teams in place.

Make the CFL a truly cross-Canada league and then maybe we’ll talk about expanding it beyond our borders. But not before. Sheesh.

IntotheWest
Mar 26, 2008, 8:39 PM
^Yep. I know. Fargo.

Personally - and I've said this several times on here - I think if there were proper stadiums in place, a team in Saskatoon, one in Kelowna, QC, Halifax, St John's, Victoria, and definitely one or two more in southern Ontario would maybe work...or at least they can take the time to study the markets in these places. I just think any city in the US, no matter how close to the border is going to be a tough sell on 3-down football and a league called "CFL".

401_King
Mar 26, 2008, 8:44 PM
CFL aint expanding to these places guys, get serious

O-Town Hockey
Mar 26, 2008, 9:02 PM
For the sake of the CFL I hope locating a new team in Ottawa will not be a flop. I think it may be that the league is gate driven by a captive working middle class that Ottawa does not have. I think that locating a team in either Mississauga or Oshawa may have been a slightly better idea. Also, I think that South Western Ontario would be another hot spot in between London and Kitchener for a future CFL team.

It's interesting that you say that because Ottawa is probably more "middle class" than any other large city I can think of. All of those government jobs located in Ottawa (hundreds of thousands) make salaries that would put them in the middle class anywhere else in Canada. Also, Ottawa football has never had a problem with fan support. Here are the attendance figures since 1990:

Average Attendance:
1990 - 23,647
1991 - 23,479
1992 - 24,345
1993 - 20,026
1994 - 19,409
1995 - 21,101
1996 - 16,847
1997 - :(
1998 - :(
1999 - :(
2000 - :(
2001 - :(
2002 - 23,776
2003 - 23,378
2004 - 23,050
2005 - 18,489
2006 - :(
2007 - :(

Keep in mind, also, how many fans we lost everytime the team skipped town. It is hard to build up a fan base when a team folds twice in the span of a decade due to ridiculous ownership. If we get a new team and hold onto it for at least 5 years I predict that they will be here to stay. Not to mention that new South side stands and a renovated North side will go a long way to bring people back to Lansdowne.

HAMRetrofit
Mar 26, 2008, 9:10 PM
O-Town by working middle class I meant more blue collar middle class citizens. I mean it seams that it is the union paid $35-$40 an hour manufacturing types that often fill the stadiums. Ottawa has a huge white collar middle class, but not so much the more rough neck types that love to see 300lb men hit each other.

Acajack
Mar 27, 2008, 1:52 PM
Ottawa’s attendance figures stack up very well against the averages seen in the vast majority of CFL cities during those years, with actually very few exceptions. And the Rough Riders/Renegades during those years were generally dreadful.

Anyone who suggests lack of fan support was the reason Ottawa lost its teams simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Ownership problems were solely to blame.

IntotheWest
Mar 27, 2008, 11:31 PM
^I don't doubt it was ownership over anything else, but those attendance numbers aren't great. The average in 2005 and 2006 was more than 29,000...Edmonton I believe averages closer to 40,000.

However, I'm sure those lower numbers do have something to do with the ownership as well...its not too hard to market Blue Bombers, Stampeders, Eskimos, and especially RoughRiders in their respective cities..It may take some serious marketing effort to get those fans back in it in Ottawa. I'd be pretty cranky myself if my team folded twice, and is coming back again.

Ayreonaut
Mar 28, 2008, 12:53 AM
Yeah, I'm a Stamps fan because my dad is, and his dad is. It'd be hard to get attached to a team when your city goes through three in a generation.

Acajack
Mar 28, 2008, 1:57 PM
Over the past couple of years there has certainly been a resurgence in CFL attendance (which is where the 29,000 number comes from) but it wasn’t that long ago that the Ticats were drawing 12,000, the Argos under 20,000, B.C. barely at 20,000 and even some of the western teams were in the 21-23,000 range…

Montreal, that everyone cited as a great success story, draws exactly 20,202for every single game at Molson Stadium but their average is some years boosted by one game they play at Olympic Stadium. How many people would the Alouettes draw on a consistent basis if their usual stadium was bigger? Probably a bit more, but they wouldn’t likely break 30,000 as an average. In a metro of 3.5 million. With a consistently good team.

In an 8 or 9-team league, Edmonton’s excellent numbers also have the effect of pushing the average up. Take their 40,000 away and see where your 29,000 across-the-league average ends up. Most teams were in the low to mid 20s, right where Ottawa was. Without a winning season since when? The late 70s?

IntotheWest
Mar 28, 2008, 2:29 PM
^I see your point. But, I do believe its in the upper 20s/low 30s for the Prairie teams...so "great success story" in Montreal is relative. If Regina was 3.5 million people, you could guarantee sellout crowds over 100,000 :-)

And that 29,000 average was in 2005 when Ottawa was only drawing 18k, so they brought that average down just as much as Edmonton brought it up.

Anyway, there's no doubt Ottawa can pull in better numbers - it is entirely the ownership and marketing. Hopefully they can make it work this time.

Acajack
Mar 28, 2008, 4:10 PM
I think everyone’s enthusiasm for Montreal is based on the fact that people’s expectations were so low. The CFL didn’t even have a pulse there for a long time and then all of sudden there’s a sign of life.

It was kind of weird though to have people talking in the same breath of the CFL’s remarkable resurgence in Montréal with 20,000 people a game, and on the other hand of its imminent demise in Toronto when around 25,000 were showing up to see the Argos.

All in all, the league is doing a lot better these days. The turnaround in Hamilton, in the middle of the CFL’s southern Ontario “dead zone” just down the road from the Buffalo Bills, is particularly impressive. They’ve got a crappy team but they’re drawing twice as many fans as they did for pretty decent teams in the late 80s and 90s. Imagine how they’d do with a winner.

Now is the right time for the league to capitalize on this positive energy by expanding (modestly). The last time the CFL was in this good shape was in the early 80s. It had begun flirting with expansion, but it missed the boat with the Atlantic Schooners (pardon the pun) and then went into decline while other leagues were broadening their exposure (not always necessarily with new teams, but with marketing, TV, etc.)

ac888yow
Mar 28, 2008, 5:34 PM
1) The ownership group consists entirely of Ottawa locals. They have a vested interest in the city and are proven superior businessmen and sports-minded people.

2) I'd love to see the Roughriders name back too, but the rights to it belong to the numbnut Horn Chen. If they want the name, they'll have to pony up whatever Chen asks for it.

SmileyBoy
Mar 28, 2008, 9:30 PM
Fargo??????? It has fewer people in its metro (175,000) than about 10 Canadian cities that don’t currently have CFL clubs.

I don’t get this obsession with putting CFL teams in U.S. cities. Even Spokane, which is relatively large, underserved by pro sports and close to the border, shouldn’t even be considered until Quebec City and Halifax, at the very least, have their own CFL teams in place.

Make the CFL a truly cross-Canada league and then maybe we’ll talk about expanding it beyond our borders. But not before. Sheesh.

Actually, Fargo-Moorhead has a metro area of about 216,000. That's bigger than the metro of Regina, home of Big Green.

I'm not saying that the CFL would work in F-M. NDSU Bison college football rules the roost around these parts. 19,000+ crowd sellouts every game.