CFL using Grey Cup to Lure new ottawa owner***

[url=http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/sports/story.html?id=1f473503-80eb-4041-b7df-794489f2ad4f]http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/new ... 4489f2ad4f[/url]

If the Ottawa Renegades are sold in the next week, this city might be welcoming back the Grey Cup Game sooner than expected.

The Citizen has learned that future Grey Cup games are being discussed as bargaining chips in an effort to keep the Renegades alive in 2006. It is believed the Canadian Football League would be willing to promise a new Ottawa owner a Grey Cup in the next five years in order to close a sale.

To a buyer, a Grey Cup might mean the difference between fielding a team in 2006 and mothballing the Renegades until 2007, when the brunt of the financial burden is gone. It would also help offset a purchaser's estimated losses this season, projected to be at least $4 million.

The Grey Cup is worth at least $2 million to the host club. The league provided a similar Grey Cup guarantee to the original group of expansion investors who founded the Renegades in 2001, and the league's championship game was played at Frank Clair Stadium in 2004.

The CFL must find a new owner for the Renegades before the end of next week or the team will not play in 2006, and there is an intense debate going on between CFL stakeholders.

Some officials believe the Renegades could be suspended for 2006 and successfully revived soon after.

Others are adamant that the Renegades must play this season or the Ottawa market will be lost forever.

Still others are ready to abort Ottawa and have no appetite to help fund the Renegades even if it means securing what the league calls the "right" owner.

The Grey Cup bartering treads on sensitive ground for the league's three-member search committee, which is talking to interested parties. It could mean some CFL teams will be asked to take on a disproportionate share of the financial burden associated with saving the Renegades.

Officially, Grey Cup games beyond 2007 have not yet been assigned.

Still, CFL governors have a strong understanding of the schedule for the rest of the decade. The league wants the Grey Cup to move around the country. There are nine teams in the CFL, and each franchise would play host the money-making event once every nine years.

According to that formula, the Edmonton Eskimos, Montreal Alouettes and Calgary Stampeders all stand to play host to games between 2008 and 2011 and may be asked to move backwards in the queue to sweeten the pot for a prospective Renegades buyer. Conveniently, those franchises are among the best-equipped to make sacrifices, and it is believed officials on other teams have appealed for their co-operation.

The Stampeders and the Eskimos are the only two CFL clubs that consistently make money, and neither is banking on future Grey Cup profits for financial stability. Alouettes owner Robert Wetenhall has often mentioned the importance of Ottawa as a geographic rival for his franchise.

For now, it is unknown whether any Grey Cup deals have been cut. What is becoming clear, however, is that the league is in deep discussions with one of three credible groups it has already met.

A southern Ontario-based group shares the opinion that the Renegades must play in 2006. This group is urgently trying to gather information to determine whether the team is prepared to kick off.

Meanwhile, one would-be buyer on the periphery is Calgary businessman Bruce Urban, who yesterday authored a quick flip-flop.

In an interview with an Edmonton newspaper last week, Urban, owner of Western RV Country, said another season in Ottawa would be "suicide" and it had proven it was not "the right city." Urban further pledged he would move the team to Halifax, but that city lacks a suitable stadium.

Relocation is contrary to what the CFL is trying to achieve. The league couldn't care less about preserving the Renegades, but it cares immensely about preserving the Ottawa market.

The league also wants a squeaky-clean buyer to sell to a cynical Ottawa fan base. Urban, who spoke with CFL commissioner Tom Wright on Wednesday, would quickly be bombarded with relocation questions, even if he has changed his tune.

"Tom turned my opinion around on that and made me believe Ottawa could work as a football town," Urban said yesterday. "But you're right, (fans) might have to worry about me moving the team. The CFL has no control over that. The market will make that decision. ... That's not an option at this point, but it might be in the future."

The league has a list of individuals who have previously expressed interest in buying franchises. While Urban is on it, he was never contacted by the search committee.

He owns a National Lacrosse League franchise, but that makes some in the CFL nervous that his interest in the Renegades will be linked to the success of the Edmonton Rush. The league went down that road with Brad Watters, the former president of the Renegades and the NLL's Ottawa Rebel.

Coincidentally, the Rush is the resurrection of the now-defunct Rebel. Urban says he is only interested in the Renegades if he can partner with someone he called a high-profile investor based in eastern Canada.

"If it's not a good deal, I'll let someone else buy it," he said yesterday. "I look at the western teams and I look at Ottawa, and it has the population, the wealth, and all the things you need to make it successful.''

How can it not work? It can't be that scientific, but maybe I have blurred vision because of what I see in Calgary and Edmonton."

Seems like a better article but now I don't know what to belive when I see something published in a Sun paper.

[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/Sports/Football/2006/03/31/1513274-sun.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/Sports/Footbal ... 4-sun.html[/url]

THE CFL got a close-up view of the Renegades yesterday, sending an envoy to the club's football building to take stock of the equipment.

Kevin McDonald, the CFL's manager of football development, counted helmets, shoulder pads, jerseys and other items to find out what remains following a winter of solitude and neglect.

More importantly, McDonald's mission was to report to league headquarters whether the club would be equipped to operate if the Renegades take the field for the 2006 season.

ALL ABOUT TIMING

The visit was significant in its timing.

With the CFL pushing to solve the club's ownership situation in time to field a team for the upcoming season (the Renegades are scheduled to begin training camp May 21 and have an exhibition game in Halifax slated for June 3), the league wants to assure potential buyers that scenario is doable, even at this late stage.

Bruce Urban, a Calgary entrepreneur and owner of the National Lacrosse League's Edmonton Rush, became the first person to publicly state his interest in a purchase of the club after telling the Sun on Tuesday he would travel to Ottawa and visit Lansdowne Park next week.

He will be in Ottawa with Duane Vienneau, president of the Rush.

Vienneau said after the lacrosse team plays a game on Sunday in Portland, Ore., the plan is for he and Urban to travel from there to Ottawa on Monday.

"When we get to Ottawa, we'll take a look at all the nuts and bolts," Vienneau said.

A GLIMMER OF HOPE

The league has received other interest, including contact from a potential local buyer.

Renegades fans received a glimmer of hope with Urban's declaration.

Urban also revealed the league isn't entertaining offers to buy the team and move it to another city.

He also said the CFL wants the team operational for the 2006 season, a gargantuan task given the short time frame.

Meanwhile, it's believed the league's board of governors will wait until the week before Easter (April 16) to make a decision on the team's status for 2006.

With Good Friday falling on April 14, it's believed the governors will decide either on the Wednesday or Thursday of Easter week whether this modern-day resurrection might take place.

A southern Ontario-based group shares the opinion that the Renegades must play in 2006. This group is urgently trying to gather information to determine whether the team is prepared to kick off.
So someone is interested enough to make it work this season!!! That's great news!!! I hope that someone does buy the team, and that whoever it is is willing to keep the Renegades going this year. I think suspending the team for a year would be a baaaaaaaaaad idea. Out of sight, out of mind ... and will the fans come back after that? I don't think it's a good idea at all. So if this guy/group is looking to have them play this year, that would be great. I just hope it's someone of a Bob Young calibre, who can turn this franchise around. All that is needed is a competent and committed owner ... the market can work, the fans are there. And hey, if it takes another Grey Cup in Ottawa, so be it. Doesn't matter to me if the big game goes there in 2008! (Although I wonder why Hamilton wasn't mentioned in the "next up" list ... they haven't had it since 1996; longer than any other team, if you consider that Toronto will host in 2007).
[url=http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/sports/story.html?id=8a2fb051-8904-4159-aa8e-cc1053a285c7]http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/n ... 1053a285c7[/url]

Less than a year into his reign as a pro sports team owner, Bruce Urban is considering adding the Ottawa Renegades to his collection.

The Calgary-based businessman and Edmonton Rush owner has expressed his interest in the Renegades franchise to Canad-ian Football League commissioner Tom Wright, though he's stopped short of making a bid. The league is desperately searching for a buyer for the team who's willing to keep it in Ottawa.

Urban sees value in the franchise in much the same way he saw value in the used cars he started selling from his family's driveway as a 15-year-old entrepreneur.

It will need some work and there's the possibility it will have to be moved in order to make a profit.

"How bad does Ottawa want football?" asked the 40-year-old, who made his millions in real estate and the RV business. "Well, they haven't shown they really, really want it."

Urban gives Ottawa's fans the benefit of the doubt that they've had a tough run of unstable ownership, including the Glieberman family twice, plus the fact they've fielded some bad teams over the years. But he says there's always the possibility of picking up the team and moving it to the Maritimes if Ottawa proves it can't support the team even when it's run properly.

"Maritimes Canada is dying to have something to call their own," said Urban from his business headquarters in Airdrie. "I guarantee every game would be a sellout.

"The difference is young Maritimers are vibrant people, party people. Ottawa has a very old population... . They're just more of a proper crowd."

Urban pegs his interest in purchasing the Ottawa franchise and keeping it there at four out of 10. He says that number would rise considerably if there were a possibility the franchise could be moved to an East Coast city like Halifax or Moncton.

The CFL is brokering the sale of the Renegades for the Gliebermans and intends to make a decision on the franchise's future by the end of next week. The team could be suspended for a year or dissolved completely if the league doesn't find an owner in time.

To help attract interest from the few interested parties, the league is dangling financial help in covering the massive operating losses expected for the near future and, as the Ottawa

Citizen is reporting, the promise of hosting a Grey Cup in the next five years. The Grey Cup is worth approximately $2 million to the host team.

"It would have to be the right deal and the right amount of support to get things back on track there," said Urban. "The economics have to work, no matter what."

Urban talked with commissioner Wright Wednesday and said he was convinced about the merits of giving the club another go in Ottawa. He has made some inquiries about the team and has tentative plans to fly to Ottawa Monday with Rush president Duane Vienneau. He's also talked to former Renegades president, and current Toronto Rock president, Brad Watters about the team and market.

A big key for Urban is finding an Ottaw-area businessman with a squeaky-clean image to help present the proper picture to Renegades fans, noting the idea of a saviour from the West likely wouldn't fly.

i like the fact that he is willing to try his best in ottawa, and give them a few years operated absolutly perfectly trying to get the fans back...... but if fans STILL dont come, he will move the team rather than folding....a move to QC hopefully. ( i know he prefers halifax altho no stadium there, unless he wants to build one )

Interesting take on the thought that a western saviour won't fly ... probably a very good idea to get an Ottawa businessman to put a face to the franchise. I'm still skeptical about Urban's motives though; I'm doubtful that he'd give the fans a truly fair chance to show that they want the team. It would take a few years and almost a super-human effort to show that he could run the team properly, so that the fans would get the chance to see he's a good owner.

Interesting though that his is the only name we know, but the other groups are kept secret ... likewise, no-one knew who was going to buy the Argos and Ti-Cats until it was announced ...

Anyway, this situation seems to be improving! I'm a lot more optimistic about the Renegades situation than I was a while ago.

i also doubt that an ownership consisting of Urban wil be the deal announced next week....the league would be too concerned over his desire to move the team....just by sayin these things, urban has to be last on the CFL's list.

if he said he wants to move them to QC, he'd be first on my list..haha

I smell potential trouble with Mr. Urban, sounds like he speaks a bit too quickly off-the-cuff to reporters without thinking first.
He is off to a bad start and he isn't even the owner of the Gades yet! Makes me nervous.

Sounds like I good idea, give them the game of 2009.

I don't like his "the CFL has no control over that" statement. That sounds a little like "well, you're not going to sell me the team so I can move it, then sell it to me so I can keep it in Ottawa :smiley: ... :twisted: AHA! Now that I've got it, I'm moving it, and there's nothing you can do about it! "

I also don't like the fact that Hamilton was omitted in the list of the next teams to be due a Grey Cup. Considering they list 3 cities over 4 years, Hamilton must be #4. Perhaps they believe Hamilton is not "equipped to make that sacrifice"...even though they're doing okay despite hosting just one championship game in the last 33 years.

Bob young turned it down, said that his club wasn't ready for it yet.

But that wasn't part of the "formula" they were referring to. According to the "formula", Hamilton, who will have gone the longest without after the game in Toronto in '07, would be one of the next few cities to get it.

2008: Edmonton or Calgary
2009: Ottawa
2010: Calgar or Edmonton
2011: Hamilton
2012: Toronto
2013: Regina
2014: Montreal (Big O)
2015: Winnipeg

Hamilton won't go after a GC until the city does some major reno work at Ivor Wynne Stadium and it is unclear at this point if this will happen.
Also KK, do you think the Big O will still be standing in 2014?

Whether or not Hamilton is going after a Grey Cup in the near future, the formula they were referring to puts Hamilton next on the list.

Hopfully, it's a buetiful building, but needs a renevation badly that the city will not pay for, but still, it's a landmark.

This is what I have been saying for years. Other leagues do it, and the CFL could as well. The CFL should offer Hamilton the chance to host 2 Grey Cup games over a 3 year period in exchange for major renovations to Ivor Wynne or 3 games over 5 years for a new stadium. The money generated for the city hosting the games would go a long way in covering the costs. The same thing could be offered to Winnipeg to help get them a new stadium. Grey Cup games could be offered to any city making upgrades to their stadium. As I have said many times in the past, it could even be used to get stadiums in potential expansion cities.

Interesting c-way. Some planning along the lines you suggest makes sense to me.

The NFL does it with the Super Bowl (this year in Detroit for example). The NHL, MLB, and NBA do it with All-Star Games. A Grey Cup will generate approximately $30 million in economic activity for the host city. Half of that will end up being taxed.