Dan Orlich is not interested in buying the beleaguered Ottawa Renegades.
Although the current owner of the Edmonton Cracker-Cats baseball club was interested in buying the Ottawa franchise last year, he will not be the CFL’s white knight this spring.
“I don’t think it’s a good deal right now,” Orlich told the Sun yesterday.
"I think that over the last year, it has become more difficult to sell tickets.
“The fan base has been eroded.”
The CFL officially put the Renegades on life support this week, publicly stating the team is for sale.
However, if a new buyer isn’t found by early April, the club could fold with the league reverting to eight teams.
The Renegades are in this mess because the current ownership tandem of Bernie Glieberman and Bill Smith aren’t able to cover the team’s expected $4-6 million debt if it plays in 2006.
Orlich’s name surfaced as a possible owner earlier this week, but he remained quiet for two days before breaking his silence yesterday from his southern United States home.
The For Sale sign is up in Ottawa almost exactly one year after Glieberman re-entered the picture as majority owner.
In the beginning of 2005, Orlich was willing to buy the Gades, even though he knew he would have to settle old debts in the market and had no chance of posting a profit in 2005.
“At that time, we thought we had an agreement on Calgary (to buy the Stampeders, but lost out to a local ownership group),” recalled Orlich. “We were still interested in the ownership of the CFL and (Ottawa) was the opportunity.”
Instead, Glieberman became the majority owner with Smith remaining a minority partner.
In hindsight, it was a terrible move by the CFL.
The ticket base in the nation’s capital has plunged and any attempt to sell further tickets has been put on hold as the CFL searches for a new owner. In fact, some reports indicate the Gades have sold just 2,000 season tickets for 2006.
However, if another team in the league were put on the block, Orlich admits he would be interested.
Besides trying to buy the Stamps and Gades, the multimillionaire Florida real estate developer inquired in the past about the B.C. Lions and will definitely look at the Lions again if David Braley tries to sell.
“Oh yeah,” blurted Orlich. "We want to try to get more active in the West.
“The (Lions) are a much better run team and they spent a lot of time developing it.”