Esks host 2011 GC, renovations at CW, NFL game in edmonton?

Rick's grand plan
By TERRY JONES, EDMONTON SUN

Sixty-thousand green and gold seats?

Eskimo offices attached to the stadium?

An indoor field-house practice field?

Artificial turf?

An NFL regular season game?

The 2011 Grey Cup game?

Those are just some of the visions Rick LeLacheur has for Edmonton and the Eskimos.

LeLacheur was officially press-conferenced as Eskimo president and CEO on the first day of "next season" yesterday.

Chairman Bob MacLean offered no clear details on contracts for either LeLacheur or Campbell.

He did say Campbell would be "a paid elder statesman consultant for what we hope will be a long, long time."

He added LeLacheur's deal "was substantially completed" but offered no details.

As expected, LeLacheur offered no clear picture of the organizational restructuring on the football side, other than Danny Maciocia would be back as head coach.

An entirely new organizational structure, he said, will be worked out in the coming weeks.

LeLacheur said he sees the Eskimos taking their next turn at playing host to the Grey Cup in 2011. Originally, the hope was to have it here in 2012 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the national classic at the home of the long-time flagship franchise and recent Grey Cup host with the most.

"It's going to go to Toronto," he said.

That'll go over like a lead balloon in the West, where the Grey Cup has been kept alive all these years with Toronto a CFL dead zone. "We're pencilled in for 2011."

An NFL game regular season game here? "We'll certainly take a look at that."

New seats in Commonwealth Stadium?

"Those seats in there now are close to 30 years old. We can't even find parts anymore," said LeLacheur, who says to replace the seats will cost about $6-7 million.

"The success of the stadium is to keep upgrading it. This stadium is 30 years old. Most major cities in the U.S. take their 30-year-old stadiums and blow them up and build new ones at half a billion dollars."

The Eskimos have a lot of money from the Trappers sale but not enough to write a cheque for $6-7 million for seats. But he suggested they'd be able to contribute some money. Especially if they get to pick the colour, he laughs.

Offices attached to the stadium are possibly at the top of LeLacheur's agenda on the business side because they are tied into becoming a bigger, better business.

He envisions a larger organization than under Campbell, one being more willing to spend money to make money.

The current offices a block from the stadium have been outdated for years. He envisions the new offices attached to the stadium on the south side.

Unlike Hugh Campbell, who was big on keeping grass in the stadium, there's no question LeLacheur leans to the new, improved variety of artificial turf, which many players now prefer to grass.

Having Canada's only big- time stadium with grass has won Edmonton a lot of international events. It would effectively boot rugby out of the joint. Soccer and future big -event hostings would also be put in jeopardy.

Is this the Eskimos' stadium or Edmonton's stadium? New seats make sense. Not artificial turf. That one will be a political football. Put me down in the "against" column.

As for a proposed field house next to the stadium for practices, LeLacheur said he's going to be taking a tour of NFL sites, some with field houses and some with bubble structures.

"We're going to look at a few facilities. A number of NFL teams have them. It would be great for us and enhance the Clarke Park area."

Grand plans. But first the football team, huh? Packaging a product is one thing. Having the product to package is another.

What LeLacheur does next, in terms of reorganizing what has become a dysfunctional organization, is going to have more to do with his ability to see his grand plans through than anything.

All sounds good except for the nfl game. Who needs it? Still sounds to me like some of the Team higher ups treat their own league like a minor league for the idiots down south!!

Personally I think Edmonton should be hosting the 2012 Grey Cup, especially if they go along with these changes. Edmonton is a true CFL city with fans in every corner and would put on a better show then Toronto could ever think about putting on.

I also like the shift to field turf. It's tough watching a game in Edmonton in late October, early November and seeing the players skills go to waste because they can't keep their traction and it basically comes down to whoever has the best cleats wins.

This all sounds very interesting. Commonwealth is already one of the best stadiums in the CFL, especially after all the renovations that were done for the 2001 World Athletics Championships. But, there is still some parts, such as seats, that are 30 years old. Improvements are always welcome!

As for an NFL regular season game, I'm not sure how that could work. What NFL team would be willing to give up the revenue from a home game, to play it in Canada? I doubt there would be many volunteers. But an exhibition game could be exciting. Not because the NFL is better or more exciting than the CFL, but just for the novelty factor. It would be fun to see how small the NFL field looks, when overlayed directly on a CFL playing surface.

how bout holding judgement until after toronto's '07 grey cup?...they did sell 21,000 tickets in one day after all!

The NFL has made an initiative to play two regular season games outside of the U.S. in the future.

And Edmonton has lead the league in attendance for how many straight seasons?

I don’t believe Toronto should the Grey Cup just because they are Canada’s biggest centre, they should have to earn it. Personally I believe Edmonton, with their strong CFL support over the years has earned the right to host the 100th Grey Cup game.

i think toronto is getting it because thats where the first one was played....not because its the biggest city.

DG the GC count for Toronto by the way is in excess of 22,000 sold.
That according to Bob McCown who is on the GC Toronto committee.

hold on there fellas'.. what about Regina? Many people believe it should go to Regina where everytime they've held a Grey Cup.. they've blown away the competition!.. Toronto Definitely should NOT get the game.

As far as getting rid of the Grass.. YES PLEASE?!?!?

that stuff is terrible, it gets hard and slippery and then you have players constantly slip slidin away!..

you don't have the best turf in the land..

New Seats wouldn't be a bad idea.. perhaps do the lower half first...

Green and gold seats could look tacky.

I think LeLacheur has the right idea, to make money you need to spend money. Part of the problem with the CFL 25 years ago was that they never reinvested in their product. It is about time they started pumping cash back into the organizations.

As far as the 2012 GC goes I think before we critize toronto we need to see how they handel the 2007 cup. If they do a poor job they cross them out, if on the other hand, they do a great job then they deserve it as much as the other seven teams.

Not sure what you mean by "blown away the competition". The biggest turnouts for Grey Cups have been in Edmonton, Montreal and BC.

The Esks have had larger regular season turnouts than the Grey Cups in Sask.

How do you measure the success of a Grey Cup if not by ticket sales?

1
68,318
Nov 27, 1977
Montreal Alouettes 41
Edmonton Eskimos 6
(at Montreal)

2
65,255
Nov 25, 2001
Calgary Stampeders 27
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 19
(at Montreal)

3
65,113
Nov 25, 1979
Edmonton Eskimos 17
Montreal Alouettes 9
(at Montreal)

4
62,531
Nov 24, 2002
Montreal 25
Edmonton 16
(at Edmonton)

5
60,431
Nov 16, 1997
Toronto Argonauts 47
Saskatchewan Roughriders 23
(at Edmonton)

6
60,081
Nov 18, 1984
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 47
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 17
(at Edmonton)

7
59,621
Nov 30, 1986
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 39
Edmonton Eskimos 15
(at Vancouver)

8
59,478
Nov 29, 1987
Edmonton Eskimos 38
Toronto Argonauts 36
(at Vancouver)

9
59,345
Nov 27, 1983
Toronto Argonauts 18
BC Lions 17
(at Vancouver)

10
55,097
Nov 27, 1994
BC Lions 26
Baltimore CFL 23
(at Vancouver)

The Grey Cup also has to be measured by community involvement, buzz around the city, and festivities leading up to the grey cup. Just because a Grey Cup has the highest attendance does not mean it was the best grey cup ever.

What is the Rogers Centre capacity for football?

And then what if all of the tarps are removed?

The 2012 GC should be held somewhere where it will have one of, if not the largest attendance ever at a CFL game.

Hey EE, you forgot last years GC game in Vancouver. There were over 59000 at that game. It woud fall somewhere between 7th and 9th on the all time best attended games.

I believe Rogers capacity without the tarps is in the 54,000 range.

Well, if all you want is capacity, we'll just put up more temporary seating at Taylor Field....
Anyway, our team plans to bid for the 2010 game as far as I know, which will be the 100th anniverary of the Regina Rugby Club (Riders).

Skydome does hold approx. 54000 for football, so attendance isn't everything.
I think the Big O would hold the largest crowd if you shoehorn people in.
But Toronto is the logical place to go for the big anniversary. But teams should get to bid.
However, shouldn't we also be making a big fuss over 2009?
That will be the 100th anniversary of the Cup itself.

Anyway, I think that Edmonton can and should get an NFL game.
I think if they got the first one, that would be thumbing our collective Western noses at Toronto.....

Edmonton is proving once again, it is by FAR the best football city in the nation. For showing the rest of us how its done :thup: to them.

Ugh ... even if you're right, it still churns my stomach to hear that ... I don't know if it's by FAR the best football city in Canada ... they may get the highest attendances, but otherwise I'd say they're probably in the same boat as Calgary, Regina and maybe Winnipeg, Hamilton or Montreal ...