***Bombers listen to Asper's Offer Plus Stadium News***

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Public or private? Or public/private?

Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers governor David Asper has prepared a proposal where he could become at least a part owner of the community-owned CFL club, he has yet to present it to the club's board of governors. Asper had said he would pursue the proposal after the Grey Cup but he isn't ready to unveil his offer yet.

And this could be the key to either erecting a new football facility or renovating the current stadium.

"Everyone had a chance to talk it over during Grey Cup week and we'll finish it off in December," Asper said from Toronto yesterday. "There's still a lot of pieces to the puzzle and we can't have any naysayers if we want a new facility.

"But a lot of work has to be done before I can take it to the board. I'm hoping to talk to them and others in the next little while."

In other words, finances for a better facility would also have to come from different levels of government.

Although those running the club have expressed their preference to avoid public ownership, the board is willing to listen to Asper.

"The football club believes the future lies in a community-owned team," Asper said. "But that doesn't mean they're not prepared to consider other alternatives. It is wise of them to keep an open mind."

Club chairperson Ken Hildahl concurred.

"We will sit down and talk to (Asper) about it," he said. "We're not going to commit to any direction and it will be interesting, I'm sure. And I'm sure that it will involve revamping of the stadium or building a new stadium."

Hildahl, however, hinted that refurbishing the existing facility is more likely than erecting a new one at exorbitant costs. ( figures )

Meanwhile, Asper was relishing the success of Grey Cup week.

"I thought it all went off really well," said Asper, an honourary co-chair of the Grey Cup committee.

Asper kicked off the week by throwing a grandiose party for the media and others at his home "to get people in the right frame of mind.

"I don't know why they don't do something like this every year. Hopefully, the boys in Toronto will do something better -- on their own nickel."

The Argonauts will host the 2007 Cup.

...I believe the Aspers will make a very sound proposal....based on their successes in the past...i also believe though.....that a new facility would hinge on 3 components...the citys involvement....the provinces involvement....and last but not least...the involvement by the Aspers...IF...all goes well...can a new stadium be far off....here's hoping :thup: :roll:

winnipeg sun has a poll asking what to do about a stadium:



It never hurts to listen...

If the involvement of the Aspers means Winnipeg gets a new stadium, then by all means. I think a partnership between the community organization and the Aspers sounds best.
You need to maintain the structure and organization of a community team, because lets be realistic. When the Aspers get bored, or the "older" Aspers die off, will there be a next billionaire willing to buy the team, or will the community need to again step up?

But I think Asper Stadium will be a fine idea....

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Onward and upward.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers hope to realize a profit of close to $2.5 million from hosting the 2006 Grey Cup and hope to ride that momentum into a better home for the next one.

That money is not going to help at all towards building a facility,” Bombers president/CEO Lyle Bauer said at a press briefing yesterday.

So the club will need help to either build a brand new facility or upgrade the current, crumbling one.

“We’re going to have discussions with the political masters and others,” Bauer said. “Obviously, my board (of directors) will make those decisions. There’s several opportunities … that you wouldn’t think the football club would be looking at.”

That could include the community-owned club going private or forming some sort of private/public partnership to help finance such a venture. And if a joint agreement can be reached with the various level of government, the CFL’s marquee game could return here sooner than later.

“Certainly, we’d like to see it in five-10 years in the normal circulation,” Bauer said. “However, if we are fortunate enough that we’re supported by some of our friends downtown, we may have a vastly-improved facility and we might have a better shot at it.”

The Bombers do not know the exact amount of the Cup profit yet but it will certainly erase the club’s current $700,000 debt.

“We’re going to have a very healthy, seven-figure bank account once our audit’s finish and moving forward into 2007,” he said. "And that is not something that this club has been in position to enjoy for decades. The club before the Cup hadn’t been as healthy as it is for 30 years and now, I think things will get better.

“We have laid the foundation for the football club to start a new chapter in the book.”

And that would start by building a better facility.

“I’m talking about the amenities, the washrooms, the concessions and all those things and the standards that are set by the MTS Centre as well as the ball park (CanWest Global),” Bauer said. “The fans deserve it.”

Bauer, however, had no idea when a decision would be made on whether to build a new stadium or revamp the existing one.

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The next time this city hosts a Grey Cup, expect it to be in a renovated stadium -- not a brand new one.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers brass has come to the realization a major retrofit of their existing, 53-year-old home is more feasible than the construction of a new facility.

"I don't see the appetite out there for the federal and provincial governments to put a bunch of money into a new stadium," Bomber board chairman Ken Hildahl told the Sun yesterday. "(A renovation) may be the way we have to go."

That may disappoint sports fans with pie-in-the-sky visions of a new, covered stadium.

But, as Hildahl points out, there are advantages to improving the current one, which he says is structurally sound.

One, it's in an ideal, and valuable, location next to Polo Park. And two, the cost would be tens of millions of dollars less.

A new indoor stadium could easily cost $200 million. An open-air facility could run up to $100 million. Renovating the existing one would probably cost less than half that.

The value of the area has the Bombers looking at all kinds of possible commercial additions to the site. Hildahl even raised the possibility of some residential development.

The success of the Grey Cup, which generated some $2.5 million in profits, has put the team in a whole, new position.

"We're a credible partner now, in any venture," Hildahl said. "We're past the days of being a charity."

The stadium plan is one of three highly contentious issues that will move from the back-burner to the front, now that the Grey Cup has passed.

There's the proposal by David Asper that would alter the Bombers' community-owned structure to some form of private-public partnership.

And there's the showdown with Mayor Sam Katz over the city's stake in the team.

Which issue is top priority?

"All of them," Hildahl said. "And they're all interconnected."

You get the feeling that even though this franchise is out of debt for the first time in years, this will be one of the most critical off-seasons in the team's 76-year history.