Gliebs Shaking things UP

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The Glieberman family didn't invent the team name Renegades, it was inherited when they bought the club last June.

But what a fit.

Renegades they are, defying just about every operating convention of the eight other CFL cities. If anything, the Ottawa organization seems to delight in living in its own galaxy. It wants to be the Purple Cow in a field of Jerseys. (Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Becoming Remarkable was a bestseller by Seth Godin.)

It could make for an interesting new nickname down the road. The Ottawa Purple Cows.

The mind boggles at the marketing possibilities. Those Vermont bovine souvenirs will seem dull by comparison.

President Lonie Glieberman, currently receiving daggers from other CFL governors over the million-dollar contract he handed to a linebacker, likes to be different. In lieu of a real marketing staff or a media relations director, the five-year contract to Kyries Hebert doubles as a promotion for the Renegades' two-for-one season-tickets sale this Saturday.

Other teams offer two-year contracts and a one-year option. Ottawa is printing off five-year deals like counterfeit currency from the basement. In the case of Hebert, the first two years are guaranteed, at $150,000 per season, wild riches for any defensive player in the Canadian game, let alone a guy ranked 13th in the CFL in defensive tackles last season.

Curiously, when the Renegades want to demonstrate their interest in retaining the core of the club, they sign three defensive backs, a Canadian punter and now a linebacker, all to deals that are four or five years in length.

Defensive back Bo Rogers is said to have a deal worth 90 grand.

Heads are scratching across the country.

So, what else is new?

If the unsung heroes on the defensive side are cashing in, what kind of contracts can we expect for the offensive stars?

The Renegades say they want to bring back quarterback Kerry Joseph, but it's not a sure thing. Should Ottawa's offensive players worry because the well is going to run dry, or will this Mardi Gras madness pervade all the new deals?

One ex-CFLer said, somewhat in jest, that the new player payroll of the Renegades is going to hit $10 million.

I doubt that.

The Gliebermans have consistently campaigned for a real salary cap in the CFL. Some day.

This is a management group that signed almost no one new in 2004, albeit when it didn't have its own football staff in place.

Are the Renegades suddenly going to become big spenders? Let me find my copy of Purple Cow and I'll get back to you on that one.

Their "process" of hiring a new head coach was equally unique, by CFL standards.

When the Winnipeg Blue Bombers set out to hire a new head coach, general manager Brendan Taman interviewed several bright CFL coaches, including: Kent Austin, the Toronto Argos' offensive mastermind; Greg Marshall, the Renegades' defensive co-ordinator last season; former Renegades head coach Joe Paopao; and Montreal Alouettes offensive co-ordinator Doug Berry.

Good choices.

Tough pick for Taman.

When the Renegades went looking for a head coach, they anointed scouting director John Jenkins, who hasn't had another CFL coaching offer since being let go as offensive co-ordinator by the Calgary Stampeders in the summer of 2004.

There was no Ottawa short list. No list of any kind. Jenkins is highly regarded by Renegades football operations boss Forrest Gregg, an old college foe. And so Jenkins got the job. Let the rest of the league conduct interviews.

Then there's the business of the season-tickets sale.

Last year, we gave Lonie his due for a good idea with the $99 season-tickets blitz, launched after the Renegades' first road game, against the Eskimos in Edmonton.

Losing that game wasn't much of a promotion, but the Gliebermans assumed ownership during training camp.

There was no time for a season-tickets campaign. This was a quick fix, it created a sudden buzz, resulting in about 6,000 instant ticket holders for the season in the south stands.

So now that they have time on their side, a two-for-one is the best they can do?

Where's the offseason campaign, led by the quarterback (oops, he needs a contract) and some of the other key players?

What season-tickets holder wants to renew his or her seats from last year when the price just got cut in half?

One corporate ticketholder said yesterday he is going to pass on renewal and get in line tomorrow. Though he can't get the exact seats from 2004, he can request a particular section.

There has been precious little buildup to the two-for-one.

Maybe if they had a media relations director, the club could have staged some public appearances.

But then that would be conventional. Consultant Phil Kershaw, bless him, cranked out a press release yesterday on the ticket sale, going on at local cinemas.

It's going to be interesting to see how fans respond.

Football games are fun to attend twice a month, even with Ottawa's ongoing 26-year search for a winner.

Some fans are learning to separate their competitive urges from their social agenda.

These are the people that sleep well at night.

Remember that Gregg said he considered others but never named them, never interviewed them.

Very true about the ticket sales as well, hardly any announcements. A few days notice doesn't really do the job, but that's the way the Glieb's run the operation.

are you talking about the 2 for 1 ticket sales? cause if so, these have been advertised since september i believe

Again, hardly any annoucements, read the article again. The writer says that there has been little build-up.

i saw ads for this sale every day in the newspapers, i saw them daily on tv and on the radio, you must have been in hiding. don't know what the writer of this article is talking about. that's the negative press from the media that i talk about.

Maybe everybody has just been engulfed by the Senators... A class organisation which has become one with the community.

Maybe it's just the class....