City of Hamilton vs. Bob Young - Stadium

.

Ticats say no to west-harbour stadium
Want 90-day freeze to look at other sites

http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/764349

Wade Hemsworth

[i]The Hamilton Tiger-Cats say that the west harbour site for a new football stadium will not work.

Ticats owner Bob Young told a private meeting of Tiger-Cats supporters this morning that the team could lose as much as $7 million a year if it were forced into the city-preferred west harbor option.

Bob Young's Letter: http://www.ticats.ca/article/caretaker- ... am-stadium

The Cats are asking the City of Hamilton for a 90-day moratorium on the stadium decision to look at other options.

After the meeting, Young explained there are at least three options that have not been full explored: One is the intersection of the QEW and the Red Hill Valley Parkway near Confederation Park; the second is “on the Hamilton side of Aldershot;? and the third is Chedoke Park, although Young acknowledged this site would be complicated because the land is under the protection of the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

Young said he considers the first to be the best of those option.

Outside the breakfast meeting, Young emphasized “failure is not an option? and said he plans to work closely with the city to find a successful resolution.

“David Braley (owner of the Argos and B.C. Lions) and I own these institutions that were in business for 100 years before we got involved, and we have a responsibility to make sure they’re still in business 100 years after we’ve been involved,? he said.

Hamilton is contributing $60 million for a $102-million, 15,000-seat track-and-field stadium, $11.4-million velodrome and the land they sit on for the 2015 Pan Am Games. The provincial and federal governments are chipping in almost $32 million each.

The Tiger-Cats and the private sector are being asked to come up with up to $50 million to create a 25,000- to 30,000-seat stadium for football after the Games.

Young said, “like any landlord, you’d better make sure your tenant is successful if you’re going to make your business successful.?

“I don’t know about you, I don’t know about Mr. Braley, but I sure don’t have $7 million a year to support the Tiger-Cats with.?

Young said the west harbour site is effectively landlocked.

It’s bordered by a residential neighbourhood that lacks sufficient roads to move fans in and out of football games and hemmed in by water, rail yards and the cliff at the High Level Bridge.

It also lacks visibility to make sponsorship feasible for the team and the city, he said.

[url=http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/postedsports/archive/2010/05/06/tiger-cats-owner-blasts-city-of-hamilton-over-pan-am-games-stadium-plans.aspx]http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blog ... plans.aspx[/url]

by Mark Masters

[i]Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young is blasting the City of Hamilton for not working with his team to ensure a new stadium built for the 2015 Pan Am Games becomes a suitable future home for his Canadian Football League franchise.

In an open letter to Ticats fans, Young said city politicians are refusing to compromise regarding the location of the new stadium.

Young writes: "Simply put there has been no collaboration in Hamilton’s stadium project to date. The Tiger-Cats have pointed out many unresolved problems with the West Harbour location."

The City of Hamilton is contributing $60-million to build a 15,000 track and field stadium and other venues for the Pan Am Games. The provincial and federal governments are also making contributions.

The Ticats and the private sector are expected to come up with around $50-million to increase the stadium's capacity after the event.

Young contends that the current proposed location is in a part of the city that is hard to get to and has little available parking. The team currently plays its home games at Ivor Wynne Stadium, which was built in 1930.

"Whenever we try to point out any of these problems to the City our concerns are summarily rejected, with the claim that it won’t be any worse than Ivor Wynne, but Ivor Wynne is a drain on the City’s of Hamilton’s budget, and is the cause of the Tiger-Cats financial instability for more than 40 years," writes Young.

Young wrote that the current stadium location could result in a $7 million loss for his club per season.

The Ticats are asking the city to delay any final decision on the stadium location and look at other options.[/i]

Build it for football

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/unwritten-rules/build-it-for-football/article1558941/]http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/u ... le1558941/[/url]

JEFF BLAIR

[i]The sense in Hamilton is that they’ll screw this up somehow – that the stadium that was supposed to be built here for the 2015 Pan Am Games that nobody seems much interested in will never see the light of day because it’s an issue too big to be handled by a city council that always seems bereft of ideas.

Thursday, Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young flatly rejected a cock-eyed idea to wedge the stadium in the city’s West Harbour. Here’s The Spec’s website piece and here’s a design of the place with more background.

As usual, there are two sides to this argument. Young’s a great guy and god love him for bankrolling the Ti-Cats but there is no such thing as a private businessman without an agenda, so let’s just put that out there and be done with it. But civic politicians never cease to amaze me: they see waterfront and they think automatic success! Camden Yards! Picturesque views!

I used to spend a fair amount of time in a stadium that was built without any input at all from its future main tenant. A place that had so many bells and whistles it became unusable. A place that was like some goofy architectural and engineering acid trip. That was Olympic Stadium, and while I’m not equating this modest little pigskin paradise in our modest little burg with the Big Owe, I’d like to remind the people my tax dollars go to – yeah, I have a vested interest in this thing - that much like the Montreal Expos were ultimately done in by their concrete tomb there will be no second chances if Young tires of the nonsense. This will be the Ti-Cats Stadium. Nobody else's. If it doesn't work for them, give it to Burlington or Oakville or some other place.

This whole thing has been predictable from Day 1. Anybody who lives here and has gone down to the harbour had one simple question: how the hell do we get in and out. On bikes? Helicopters? Boat? What if there’s an evacuation necessary? Whatever ….

I’m not a big fan of hooking urban development onto a stadium to begin with because there are more than enough economics to show that a new stadium does not generate as much income for an area as sports owners and their amen lobby like to think. At best, there’s a redistribution of existing money. (And the fact of the matter is Baltimore’s Harbourfront revival owes more to its stunning, world-class, year-round aquarium than a now often-empty ballpark.)

But this is pretty simple. The stadium is about the Ti-Cats, not some B-list international event being held to soothe Toronto’s pain at never landing the really big show. That’s just an excuse to get government money (Oh come on, you all know that as well as I do!) It needs to be economical and accessible. It needs to be football-first. Hamilton’s already been screwed by its blind love affair with Jim Balsillie – who, while it was all good fun and yucks, had no real hope in hell of ever bringing an NHL team here. Build the stadium for football. Add all the other stuff later. Because David Braley already owns one-quarter of the CFL. Tough to ask him to make it three of eight, no?[/i]

Young’s a great guy and god love him for bankrolling the Ti-Cats but there is no such thing as a private businessman without an agenda, so let’s just put that out there and be done with it.
lol, this reporter needs to bone up on what goes on in civic politics, it's one big payola pal.

Good for Bob, after what he has done for the franchise, a little respect from the city wouldn't hurt.

Great post, even if it is a copy-and-paste smorgasbord - thanks dmont!

I’m not familiar with Hamilton…what is the fan consensus on location?

Non-existent.

Go to TiCats forum on the CFL Network and you mostly get people who are more or less with Bob on this one.

Go to the Scratching Post blog by Drew Edwards, the TiCats beat reporter for the Hamilton Spectator, and you get more or less the opposite in the comments of his blog post on the topic.

I like the site that the city chose, but I'm more than willing to ditch it if the business case for the team can't be made.

A major should be a consensus builder but this guy doesn't even know what the word consensus means. :thdn:

http://forums.cfl.ca/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=54451 would disagree with you.

Anyways here is Fred's response.

http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/1071/#comment-40454

[i]Mayor Fred Eisenberger just held a press conference in which he reconfirmed the city's commitment to the West Harbour site for the Pan Am Stadium.

He announced, "I want to reassure the community that we are moving full steam ahead on the West Harbour site, and we will not waiver from that because it is best for Hamilton."

He reiterated the city's larger goal of "building community" rather than merely providing a venue for the Ticats to play. He said, "This is about what's best for the people of Hamilton - today and into the future."

In response to the argument from Ticat owner Bob Young that the West Harbour site doesn't meet the Ticats' needs, Mayor Eisenberger pointed out that it is close to many compatible amenities, has excellent transit connections and is within walking distance to "hundreds of existing parking spaces which can be used at no additional cost to the taxpayer."

The West Harbour site also has the support of the Chamber of Commerce, the Jobs Prosperity Collaborative and a wide cross-section of individuals and businesses across the city.

Eisenberger pulled no punches, pointing out that Hamilton subsidizes the Ticats with $1.3 million a year in public funding and stating, "We have been working diligently to find common ground with the Tiger-Cats, so today's revelation from Owner Bob Young that the team will not play at a West Harbour Stadium is disappointing to say the least."

The discussions over a site have been ongoing for years, and Ticats representative Scott Mitchell has been on the Pan Am advisory committee since its founding.

Eisenberger added, "Statements made by Bob Young only talk about what is best for the Tiger-Cats organization. There is no mention of the community. Bob Young needs to understand that the community is important and the purpose of this project is community building."

Here is the full text of the Mayor's statement:

The City's involvement in the Pan Am Games is an important initiative. We've always believed that this is about building community and leveraging this investment with our many other investments.

This is about more than just a two-week sporting event, and more than a professional football franchise. This is about the community, and community development. This is about what's best for the people of Hamilton - today and into the future.

To respond to some of the concerns raised earlier today in the media and by one of our partners, I want to reassure the community that we are moving full steam ahead on the West Harbour site, and we will not waiver from that because it is best for Hamilton.

The community is behind the West Harbour site. The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the Jobs and Prosperity Collaborative, and hundreds of private citizens and business leaders are behind it because it is best for the community.

The West Harbour stadium location is best situated for people to access the stadium by taking public transit including GO Transit and eventually the Rapid Transit line planned for the downtown.

A West Harbour stadium location is within short walking distance of hundreds of existing parking spaces which can be used at no additional cost to the taxpayers.

As for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, I want the public to know that we are committed to ensuring that the necessary conditions are put in place in the council-approved West harbour stadium to help the Tiger-Cats achieve success.

We have been working diligently to find common ground with the Tiger-Cats so today's revelation from Owner Bob Young that the team will not play at a West Harbour Stadium is disappointing to say the least.

Bob Young and the Tiger-Cats are on record as saying they would work with the City on "any site". Up to now, we have been proceeding on that basis.

At the same time, it is important for the public to know that he Hamilton Tiger-Cats is a tenant that the taxpayers subsidize to the tune of $1.3 million per year.

The West Harbour site was confirmed by council two years ago and was part of the Pan Am bid book. It was reconfirmed by council 90 days ago.

Statements made by Bob Young only talk about what is best for the Tiger-Cats organization. There is no mention of the community. Bob Young needs to understand that the community is important and the purpose of this project is community building.

Bob Young's statement that there has been no collaboration is puzzling. Scott Mitchell has been a member of the Pan Am Advisory Group since the very beginning. As recently as two weeks ago, I met with Scott Mitchell of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and we re-affirmed that we would continue talking and working together. It is hard to reconcile this with the statements made today by Mr. Young.

It is important to know that the Pan Am HostCo has imposed a May 17 deadline for site verification and as a key partner, the City is required to meet that deadline. I assure you that we will meet that deadline.

I want everyone to know that progress on the West Harbour site is well advanced.

Today, I would like to announce that, together with the City Manager and the City's Pan Am staff team, I will be hosting a Pan Am Community Engagement Session - which will include the Tiger-Cats and other stakeholders - to review the benefits of the West Harbour site, and the long-term benefits of revitalizing the West Harbour precinct. We'll be providing more details as plans are firmed up.[/i]

Not really. In fact, I think it confirms what I said. There isn't really a consensus. Sure, Rheem has the most support, but it still only has 45%. I would think a "consensus" on location would have at least 50% supporting it. It doesn't.

In any case, I was referring to this thread

http://forums.ticats.ca/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=55025

which was started in response to today's events. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of people there who are supporting the Rheem site.

This mayor seems like a real jackass. Bob Young has probably lost more money on the Ti Cats building the community, province and country than their entire staff of politicians will make in their lifetime.

I believe I found a major source of the problems...

Scott Mitchell was just on Prime Time Sports. Worth a listen if you have time to find it online.

Looks like we have ourselves a good old Mexican stand off here. So, who blinks first? The elected official looking for votes (who has to provide the PanAM games with a stadium location by May 17) or the billionaire.

I’m guessing the billionaire walks, which is what Scott Mitchell hinted at today. Young has lost 30 million and counting and has been quoted as saying the Tiger-Cats were the worst investment of his life.

Not a good situation for the CFL.

My money is with Mr. Young.
If the city of Hamilton blows this deal, well then I am all for Mr. Young walking away from the franchise.

Boy...this is really turning into a BIG BIG mess real fast.....not good at all.

This mayor really doesn’t seem to give a rat’s behind about the TigerCats as a whole. What “benefit to the community” is he talking about. Without the Ticats, this facility will be a huge white elephant and will be the worlds most expensive community field ever built! As for the subsidy, if this stadium is built in the right location, I’m sure the subsidy would stop as the Ticats would be on much firmer financial ground. This speaks NOTHING to the fact that the team; or more specifically Bob Young, along with the private sector, will pony up the millions of dollars needed to bring this stadium to an even higher standard! That should be a win-win situation for the city of Hamilton. Why they seem to be choosing to be such a stick in the mud is anyone’s guess.

Now, with all that being said, why in the blue hell did it take so friggin’ long for the Ticats to make their views known to the public. I’m sure if they presented their case earlier on (including all financial forecasts and figures), I’m sure the citizens of Hamilton would rally behind them and at the very least put a little more pressure on both the mayor and the city.

This is weird...10 days to deadline ! They've had a year to work together and it comes down to this ? Wow ! I guess some local politicians are even more inept than the ones here.

.

Bob Young can't budge because he'd have to put the team into bankrupcy.

Mayor Fred can't budge because he'll sound like a wimp caving into the private sector.

MY PREDICTION: Remember, you heard it here first!

The cost for soil remediation at the West Harbour site will magically be projected at some prohibitibely expensive level. Fred will say "aww shucks, I did my best to build communities, but like we've said all along, if the remediation is too expensive we'll consider other sites." Bob will say "We'd like to thank the city for their decisive and prudent action..." No feelings will be hurt, Fred won't come off too damaged, and the next site will be more acceptable to the Cats.

I'm sure I speak for most here when I say "I can live with that" :slight_smile: :rockin: :thup: :rockin: :slight_smile:

I dunno, I just truly hope they don't seriously humor Confederation Park (which is a stone throw away from the Steel Mills) or Aldershot (it's the Hamilton Tiger-Cats), because I won't be renewing my season tickets if it's at either of these locations. Who knows, maybe another buyer of the team will come out of the woodwork or the city can make some concessions to make the West Harborfront workable.

I wish Hamilton Cemetary wasn't where it is, building a Stadium there and by Kay Drage Park would have been a perfect site.

I feel football is essentially finished in southern Ontario, probably in Ottawa also. There just isn't enough interest or fan support to maintain franchises in today's CFL. Perhaps if the league stayed like it was 30 years ago, selling 20,000 tickets for $20, they could survive. But the CFL today is averaging 30,000 fans per game. The revenues of the western clubs range from $14 million to $28 million. The eastern clubs can only dream about generating revenues like that. This is one of the main reasons the Renegades failed, and the Argos and Ti-Cats went bankrupt this decade...and Cynamon and Sokolowski wanted out in Toronto. They just don't have the revenue streams and tried to run their businesses on the old $6 million model of yesteryear...which does not work.

To make the West-Harbour downtown site work for the Ti-Cats, the team must invest $50 million to upgrade the stadium from the 15,000 track and field configuration the Pan-Am Games will fund. Incidentally, the federal, provincial and local governments will be spending over $1000 million for the athletes village alone. The Cats generate tens of millions in economic activity every year for the Hamilton area, and could for another 100 years. You would think the governments could accommodate the Hamilton football team into their plans rather than just issue a "take it-or leave it" edict?

Bob Young is well within his rights to request that the city/province provide an adequate stadium for the football team to play in...like every other major Canadian city has done. In Vancouver they're building a 27,500-seat temporary stadium, with lighting, video screen and FieldTurf for the Lions to use for two seasons, while the province completes a $560 million upgrade to BC Place.

One option would be to renovate Ivor Wynne stadium, but it might be difficult to generate the necessary revenues there. Another option is for the Cats to build their own stadium in another location. The Lions temporary stadium cost only $14 million (with 80% of the seats being covered) and the builder says the construction is robust enough to be used for many years if required.

Or Mr. Young could just walk away from the team, which nobody should criticize him for considering the $30 million in losses he's incurred. He could attempt to sell the team, but let's face facts. Nobody but Mr. Braley would buy the Ti-Cats and even he must see the writing on the wall in the eastern division. It's a lost cause. Southern Ontario has become too foreign and too Americanized. There is just too little connection with Canada or it's history for them to see the value of supporting Canadian football.

From Bob Young's letter in regards to the limitations of the current plan:

"Simply put there has been no collaboration in Hamilton’s stadium project to date. The Tiger-Cats have pointed out many unresolved problems with the West Harbour location. These concerns include:

?a) No visibility outside of the immediate neighbourhood. Stadium “naming rights? can sell for millions of dollars per year. But no company will pay to put their name on a stadium if no one knows where the stadium is.
?b) Traffic only has access to the West Harbour from one direction. This could be resolved with new roads, but the City has made the commitment to the local residents not to build any additional roads. This is just going to ensure that the residents are subjected to hours of traffic jams before and after every event held in the City’s new public facility.
?c) No Parking. The City assures us rapid transit will be built to the site, but there is no funding for the proposed rapid transit. So the only access for many years after the stadium is built will be by foot or by car.
?d) Neighbours. We try to point out that the majority of the neighbours are families whose quiet enjoyment of their neighbourhood will either be damaged by additional roads and parking lots, or by hours of traffic before and after every event held at the stadium if no other roads are built.

Whenever we try to point out any of these problems to the City our concerns are summarily rejected, with the claim that it won’t be any worse than Ivor Wynne -- but Ivor Wynne is a drain on the City’s of Hamilton’s budget, and is the cause of the Tiger-Cats financial instability for more than 40 years"

Its hard not to feel sorry for the guy. :frowning:

I think its s bit of both. Relocate the stadium between Burlington and Missisauga and merge the two southern Ontario teams. Make sure the facility is perfect for the future needs. Its probably best to have a southern Ontario team play to packed houses of 35 thousand than have 2 teams in hopeless situations. Yes the league and all us fans would lose a great rivalry but I think that is an acceptable price to pay for Southern Ontario CFL fans to experience football in a state of the art home.

As far as the Mayor of Hamilton he proved he could not count when he stated the city subsidises the Ticats to the tune of 1.3 million a year. Even as of now the Team brings in a lot more to the city than 1.3 million.