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Gridiron good news?
Asper set to speak during Bisons' game
By ROSS ROMANIUK, SUN MEDIA
Sat, September 13, 2008
[i]David Asper will be on the field today, apparently to go over his game plan for delivering a new stadium for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
But will the business heavyweight use his appearance at University Stadium at the University of Manitoba to announce he has scored a touchdown for the project or to tell a homecoming Bisons football crowd that he has a few key plays yet to make?
Asper will make what's been billed as a "joint announcement" with U of M president David Barnard about 3 p.m. at midfield at the Fort Garry campus stadium during halftime of the Bisons' game, though there's been no word on what they will announce.
However, speculation is rampant that Asper will tell media and an expected large Bisons crowd that he has made big gains in his recent talks with the U of M and the three levels of government toward constructing a stadium for use by the CFL club and the Bisons at or near the campus site along Chancellor Matheson Road.
Barb Biggar, Asper's spokeswoman on the project, suggested that gridiron fans are in for good news.
"That's all I'm going to tell you," Biggar said, adding Asper would not comment publicly before the announcement.
"They are going to be at centre field. I'll let you draw whatever conclusions you want to."
Rumours of Asper's interest in a U of M site for a new Blue Bomber facility rumbled for weeks before Winnipeg Sun columnist Paul Friesen revealed last month that the media mogul's Creswin Properties arm has approached the federal government with a request for $15 million for the project.
Asper is believed to be seeking $25 million from the provincial government.
Following stalled drives to get the governments on board for a new stadium -- expected to cost anywhere from $120 million to $200 million -- at the current Polo Park site of Canad Inns Stadium and then along the Red River in Point Douglas, Asper's vision is believed to include a state-of-the-art complex for the Bombers and Bisons.
U of M brass are believed to have offered Asper free property to bring his stadium dream to the campus, which is set to grow through the university's recent purchase of the nearby Southwood Golf and Country Club.
However, sources say that while the city supports the U of M stadium concept, the provincial government has been cool to the idea.
Mayor Sam Katz -- who will not attend the announcement -- may not know what will be revealed, said spokesman Brad Salyn.
"He doesn't want to get into anything premature," Salyn said. "If the university and Asper are doing an announcement, we'll see what they have to say before we comment." [/i]