BC Lions owner David Braley dies at 79

Can't think of another person in CFL history who was both adored and reviled at the same time the way Braley was.

He certainly wanted things his way and when he didn't, people (especially commissioners) didn't seem to last that long. His marketing efforts were also straight out of the 1950's.

However, you have got to give the man his due respect for his enormous love for the CFL, and his willingness to keep infusing personal resources towards that end. It is not hyperbole to suggest that there would be no Hamilton TigerCats or BC Lions without this man (Toronto is a different story).

First he steps up to purchase his local team and receives very little if not no support from local politicians. In fact, they were downright hostile towards him regarding the team's lease and I believe threatened to serve the club with an eviction notice. Does he complain in the media? Does he threaten to move the team? No, he handles it with class.

Then he takes over a team on the opposite side of the country which was essentially dead in the marketplace with absolutely nobody local stepping up to take on the responsibility of ownership. He then continues to underwrite the team's losses for a few seasons until he seeks out one of the greatest managers in league history, and lets him operate the team on his own terms. In between time, he answers the call to take over ownership of another money losing professional sports organization (for a sport he wasn't even a real fan of), and keeps them afloat until a new owner could be found. I don't think that people realize just how bleak the pro sports scene was in the Vancouver area at the time, and how David Braley saved the day in that regard.

RIP David Braley. :cry:


Great read EastVanMark. I get the impression David Braley made people in cities like Vancouver and Toronto, look themselves in the eye sort of speak that an outsider is coming in and supporting something local that they should be doing themselves and sometimes that makes people uncomfortable and then you get the backlash sort of thing. I don't know.

Refresh my memory please, did David Braley hire Bobby Ackles to run the Lions?

I think he hired him to water the lions :slight_smile:

Yes, he did.

Although I believe earlier in Ackles life he worked as the team's waterboy.

I was surprised to hear about interest in a new stadium. But I agree with Farhan. The new ownership should do all it can to make it work at BC Place, which is a fantastic stadium if they get 25,000+ in there.

I am divided. I am convinced that a 25,000 seat outdoor stadium (shared with the Whitecaps?) would invigorate the franchise and get people interested in going to Lions games that otherwise wouldn't.

Just look at the popularity of our Vancouver Canadians baseball team, the darling of the local sports scene because people here just LOVE being outdoors in the summer. It's single A ball and people can't name a single player. But that doesn't matter, they come anyway. In droves.

That said, come Oct and Nov or playoff time when the rains hit, I would love to be inside the cozy confines of BC Place, as I'm sure most people would.

Eh! Baseball is a strange animal. People do like to sit outside in the summer. but when it rains it has rain delays and rescheduled games as doubleheaders. Football is played rain, sleet or shine.

I heard Farhan Lalji on TSN Vancouver said that if the BC Lions went back to another Empire Stadium set-up, they might not sell out if it rained. He said that the Lions experienced small crowds when it rained. I agree with him on that possibility. Lalji said the Lions has make it work at BC Place to draw more revenue. He stated that the White Caps own land in the Gastown area, but seem not want to move to their own stadium. Maybe the grass is greener on the other side

The MLS's Chicago Fire left their small stadium(it's a nice facility) and moved to Soldier's Field thinking that they can gain more attendance sharing the stadium with the Bears. Chicago was my go-to choice on US expansion by the CFL

I would actually argue that Empire Field was a success. No plumbing in the bathrooms, no rapid transit, tight walkways, exorbitant parking fees, and most importantly, a disappointing 5-9 home record in the year and a half they played there (14-16 overall) and they still averaged 24,316 fans a game - 88.42% of capacity. The seats that invariably sat empty were the over-priced end-zone seats. The ones between the goal lines were virtually sold-out and everyone I've spoken with loved the experience - the tailgating, mountain views, sunsets, sightlines, proximity to the field. The only buzzkill was the crappy onfield product.

Would you mind! This thread was about David Bradley, not a re-hash of old threads.

I didn't get the sense that there is a plan or need for a new stadium.

Lalji mentioned it's not a great situation from a revenue standpoint as they don't control the venue and can't max out of concession sales or even seek out naming right for that matter.

They don't pay a flat rent either so it's not terrible. Increase the season ticket base and paid attendance in general will help their bottom line. The new ownership will need to change the demographics.

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The late David Braley would've wanted to have us talk about his team. He might've wanted to be included in the discussion

It was about David Bradley? Braley probably could've used Bradley's help on the BOG at times over the years. :slightly_smiling_face:

Be careful about words like " doves"
3,000-5,000 is a huge crowd there. But it is fun.

Lions at BC place is not the problem. You can't build a new stadium as soon as apathy sets in.

BC place is beyond a great stadium. C'mon


There is no interest. Farhan was just talking out loud with another radio personality. Nobody has actually shown any interest in pursuing a stadium project. The only way it could work would be for government to commit funds towards the project which they aren't doing since they already spent $500 million + on a new roof for the one they already own.

The Whitecaps were looking at building a smallish stadium (15-20,000 seats) but those plans have been mothballed. Braley actually did inquire about purchasing BC Place but those talks went nowhere.

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Droves meaning being among the best franchises in minor league baseball with attendance averaging 6,303 per game (x 39 home games)...far more than 9 home games in the CFL.

I'm not saying BC Place isn't a nice stadium. It is a wonderful venue for Grey Cups and Rugby World Cups and International Soccer tourneys...but it is far too large for the CFL with half the inventory of seats behind the 10-yard lines. It's okay for a constant flow of play sport like soccer. Not ideal for football.

Anyway, this is all moot. A new 25,000 seat outdoor stadium isn't likely in the next 20 years, at least.

big can be made to be cozy and warm...we cannot possibly be thinking that fans are not coming out because of the stadium

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It's a shame they can't/don't configure the tarped off areas to match the needs for best football viewing. Instead of having the entire upper deck blocked off they could block off the endzone and corner seats and leave the prime upper decks ones open. Some fans were complaining about that when they first did it and cited it as one reason for attendance decline.

Opening up any of the upper desk would be an extra cost not covered by the paltry number of paying fans.

Bit of a chicken and egg sitution. There used to be a lot more paying fans before they tarped off those seats.

If costs were equal, they'd be better off closing sections of the lower deck and keeping the best sections (between the 30-yard lines or so) of the upper deck open.