Aspers thoughts on new Bomber Stadium

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The Winnipeg Football Club has unanimously agreed to a letter of intent with David Asper on a new stadium proposal, which would effectively end 77 years of community ownership of the Blue Bombers.

Asper must now acquire $40 million from both the federal and provincial governments to put towards a new $120-million facility. If the media mogul can secure that funding and build a new stadium, he said he would also assume control of the team.

Asper is willing to put $40 million towards the stadium and another $25 million towards commercial development on the existing Polo Park site. The retail portion of the proposal would generate revenue to help Asper operate the Bombers.

"It's a very exciting time. We think we can create for the community what the baseball park (CanWest Global) created and what MTS Centre, along the same partnership model, has created for Winnipeg, and to become a beacon for a revived and rejuvenated Blue Bombers and for the Canadian Football League," he said yesterday during a media conference.

"So we're looking forward to it. There's a lot of work left to do, but it's very gratifying to be in a position to do it."

The team chose Asper's Creswin Properties Ltd. as its lone negotiating partner on May 1 and Thursday night's unanimous vote concluded six weeks of talks.

It appears the ownership details -- believed to be the biggest hurdle going into the talks -- were ironed out but WFC chairman Ken Hildahl cautioned that a final deal has not been done.

"The final deal won't get voted on until the whole package is before the board," he said.

"What we've done is agreed to take it to the next step. It's far from a done deal."

Lawyers, accountants and politicians will get to work on the funding details. No timeline has been set for those discussions, but Asper plans to make some calls next week.

Asper said if the rest of the negotiations go as planned he will wind up being the sole owner of the team.

He would not, however, go into specifics yesterday about what safeguards have been put in place to secure the long-term viability of the franchise.

"There will be no circumstance in which my taking the business risk and failing will deprive Winnipeg of Blue Bomber football," he said.

When asked if the team reverting back to community ownership was an option, Asper said it was.

He noted that any government that contributes to the project would want to know those safeguards as well.

"They will care about what happens if I fail, because in the past, when the football club has failed, it's landed on their doorstep in one form or another," he said.

"So we're going to spend a lot of time (on it), and there are some very intricate and complicated legal issues around how to do that."

A new stadium could be ready to go in 2009 if the shovels go in the ground next spring.

Looks like a sic pack with that handle.

...i like the design and the idea of allowing (some) weather elements to come into play....seems more like football to me...i don't mind the design my son....though after having a good look does resemble a six pack of blue with a handle.... :lol:

Dad after doing this post you went and got a 24 pack right! Oh you are so stable.

Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.

mom said no to the 2-4......... and i have now gone on the wagon....i'm addressing the problem of seeing everything in the context of packs of know what i mean.... 8) :lol: :lol:

Despite the photo, its unclear whether this ggod looking stadium will have a retractable roof?
Does anyone know.

I would think that a retractable roof stadium would be the practical thing to do. That way it could house many different types of renters, plus make it climate controlled for sporting events.

Do people realize the added costs of a Roof not to mention a retractable one? lol.

there is NO roof. what you see is partial coverings, that provides Rain/Wind/sun(worst of 3) protection for most the fans in the East/West sides of the stadium, But keeps the game where it belongs outdoors.

It allows “real” fans to sit in the north/south sections of the stadium and be completely in the elements like the players.

now a roof could be added, and if someone wants to fork up the extra 40-60M to put on a Roof or the extra 80-100M for a retractable one, feel free But I like most other fans much prefer football to be played outdoors, fans may like to stay covered, but the players should be in the elements.

Wind, Rain, Snow, Fog.

I agree with Barnes. Football players playing in the elements makes the game so much more exciting. I remember a great game last season featuring the Packers. I think they were playing the Seahawks. The field was covered with snow. It made it so much more exciting because you didn't know which team would be able to overcome the obstacles.

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The deed was done at night, on the longest day of the year.

Thursday evening, the 10 men and one woman who sit on the board of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers huddled together, most of them in person, some on the phone, and decided they no longer had any choice.

If getting a new stadium meant selling the soul of a team that's been community-owned for 77 years, so be it.

And an agreement was signed that, in all likelihood, will give David Asper the toy he's wanted for years.

Asper, the super-rich super-fan who, as a board member two years ago, got into the faces of players and head coach Jim Daley on the sidelines after a particularly frustrating loss and had to be escorted from the locker-room by team president Lyle Bauer.

Days later, Asper resigned his board seat.

Now, tossing that off as "a bad day," he's on the verge of not only re-claiming his seat, but the entire boardroom, the whole shebang -- lock, stock and barrel. Assuming he finds a way to pry $40 million each from the federal and provincial governments for his stadium vision, he'll get the keys to a franchise worth $7-10 million.

What's he paying for it, you ask?

Depends how you look at it.

Asper's contribution to this whole thing hasn't changed: for $40 million he'll get the team and full control of a $120-million facility.

A sweet deal, you might say.

"If you've got $40 million to invest and risk," Asper countered. "It's a substantial risk."

And if he ever wants to sell it? This is a guy who once bought a $6 million home in Toronto, only to put it up for sale within two weeks.

Asper claims any final agreement will contain guarantees "there will never not be Winnipeg Blue Bomber football in Winnipeg." But neither he, nor the Bomber board, were willing to explain.

Confidentiality, they said.

In fact, the 11 people who made this decision were strangely silent yesterday.

Board chairman Ken Hildahl didn't even appear at the announcement, and had to be prodded to offer any comment.

Calling it "far from a done deal," Hildahl was reluctant to say, outright, the team is headed for private ownership. Maybe he doesn't think we can handle the news. Better to have it buried amid the fanfare of a stadium agreement a year down the road.

"There's still a ton of work," the chairman said. "This is the first step."

Seems to me it's the most significant one.

And where was all the public consultation Hildahl kept promising along the way?

If you're going to hand over a public asset we've all sunk money into over the years, you might want to do more than survey season ticket holders.

Memo to the board: you've just performed a heart transplant on a patient without consulting the family.

Lest we forget, the CFL's crises over the years have been caused by private owners who either bail out on their teams (hello, Sherwood Schwarz), use them as their own personal playthings (remember Michael Feterik in Calgary, who bought the Stamps so his son could play quarterback?) or else leave so many unpaid bills the franchise folds for good (choose from multiple names in Ottawa).

Hey, Asper may turn out to be a model owner, at which point this column may officially be put under the heading, "much ado about nothing."

"David will be an extremely passionate owner," Bombers president and CEO Lyle Bauer said. "We've seen that on many occasions."

Yes, we have. Which leads nicely into Bauer's next comment, that many fans don't care who owns the team.

"They don't come to watch ownership, whether it's private or community, running around on the field," he said.

Got that, David?

and barnes7 thought it was worth $20M...hahaha

Drummer when did I say the team was worth 20M?

I know I've said 15M, with a new stadium then add in the 3M the team has in the bank.

the team being worth 10M not including a new stadium, not including their bank account works.

Also, Asper said the team is worth 7-10M right?

Why is Asper going to say: "I think this team is worth 18M" then go and ask Doer/Feds for funding and say he's only putting 40M$ for:

Rights to the Bombers, Long term Lease on new stadium, Rights to build on a Peice of land valued at around 30M(as stated by Mayor Sam Katz earlier during this years off-season)

If Asper values the team at 10M then 40M works(10M for team + 30M for land)

If Asper Values the team at 15M, the how does that add up?
15 + 30 = 40? NOPE

"Bombers barely make money"
2008 if the blue follow the cap, the bombers should be making money even in canad Inns stadium.

300K-600 less spent on players(600K amount given to bomber players in SMS loophole bonus money), atleast 450K more from the league.
With a home playoff game the Bombers can add another 400K

Let's just wait and see how Doer values the team:

  1. After he owns the team. or atleast
  2. After he secures funding and has to put 50M+ to the new stadium.

what are winnipegers saying about this?

its the guy writing the article saying the team is only worth $7M-$10M, not asper.

well here is what I have to say about this.
I am 100% pro Asper.
nuff said.