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It's now third down in negotiations to bring the CFL back to Ottawa.

"(Negotiations) have entered the next phase," CFL commissioner Tom Wright said yesterday. "I'm not going to comment on who or how many (groups), but we are continuing down that road and we're going to do what's right for the fans of the city.

"I remain confident something will be in place for the 2008 season, but only with the right (ownership) group and under the right circumstances.

"The fans of Ottawa have been through enough. You only get so many mulligans."

It's believed the CFL is now down to negotiating terms with the group of American investors fronted by former CFLer Bill Palmer after the league told beverage entrepreneur Frank D'Angelo, thanks, but no thanks.

That came on the heels of the withdrawal of the group that was perceived as the frontrunner, the Golden Gate Capital bid which had recruited Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt to be its man on the ground here.

They withdrew after backer Ernest Anderson was stricken with cancer.

Wright said any ownership in Ottawa would have to meet the "new standard for excellence" ownership in the other CFL cities has set and Ottawa fans would be "pleased with the process. It's continuing."

Wright's term as commissioner is up Dec. 31 and there has been speculation Wright wanted to announce Ottawa's return before he leaves office, perhaps as early as the Grey Cup a week from Sunday.

But he dismissed that speculation yesterday.

"I think if I was going to be commissioner for another 10 years or if I had left 10 months ago, it wouldn't change the way I would approach it," he said. "We need to have 10 teams in the CFL and before we have 10, we have to have nine.

"Hockey might be Canada's sport, but the CFL is Canada's league. We need to be in Ottawa. The fans deserve it. We should be there."

Trying to push the game in Ottawa again, AND!!! with the possibility of american ownership????

Palmer may live in the States, but he grew up in Ottawa and played in the league … he knows how the CFL and Canada fit together, unlike some owners, such as Mike Feterik.

Damn...I like that Tom Wright! :thup: Too bad the BOG didn't. :thdn:

What's with this "New standard for excellence" ????? The ownership in other CFL cities has set!?????

Just a minute here...are they telling us that they have set a level for excellence and it's going to cost you 3 million dollars to lose money, but we already own a team, so you pay us that money so we don't have to post the same bond!

I'm not liking what I'm hearing from this BOG! Sure...get it right...but get it with "WRIGHT"! The more I listen to all this...the more I come to the conclusion that this was all about the existing teams getting a premium from a new that they themselves didn't have to pay!

The fans of Ottawa are the ones that have paid and will keep paying to this BOG! If they get ownership in place that meets the "Wright" qualifications, then I'll say they did the "Right" thing, providing they play ball in 2007...beyond was a mistake to fold the team. I think they should have took over with Gleib's money and ran it till new ownership was in place!

The way it is football in Ottawa, and they don't have any urgency as owners to find a new owner! No incentive to get it done!

I don't think that the CFL had the money to operate the Ottawa franchise though. I might be mistaken on this, please let me know if I am.

Yea...we are not in the know, but I qualified my statement with only what I'm seeing in the papers. Sure they are not going to tell us much...but it makes you wonder what this is all about! :roll:

10 healthy teams sure would be nice! :thup: :thup:

If there is another group or person in the running besides the Palmer group I would think it might be Eugene Melnyk. It's really the only thing that makes sense for Ottawa. IMO
I understand the only reason he hasn't stepped up before is that he wants the city of Ottawa to sell him the stadium and arena but they have refused. After monday there will be a new mayor in Ottawa and we'll have to see what happens.

The Canadian Football League could receive a formal offer from a group of American investors interested in placing a franchise in Ottawa as early as Friday.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, the group is preparing a counter-proposal following a negotiating session with the league last month. The topic of CFL expansion into Ottawa will be on the agenda at the board of governors meeting in Winnipeg.

"I'm confident we can make a deal if it can pass the reasonable test," said former CFL linebacker Bill Palmer, who is fronting the group.

The Citizen also reports that while the number of bidders for the Ottawa franchise is down to one, the cost of placing a team in Ottawa is going up.

The franchise fee has reportedly soared in excess of $5-million and that the final price tag could come in at around $9-million. The original fee was believed to be in the neighborhood of $3.5-million.

Palmer tells the Citizen that his group remains "seriously passionate and interested" in putting a CFL team in Ottawa.

The Palmer group is the lone remaining applicant after Golden Gate Capital was forced to pull out due to the health of one of its primary investors. As well, the CFL told entrepreneur Frank D'Angelo it was no longer interested in negotiating with him last week.

Good posting DG.
Yes I also agree if the story is correct, the franchise fee of $3.5M was way undervalued.
Look you have stupid CHL franchises going for $6M and no one is going to tell me the CFL team is below the Junior hockey nonsense.

I will respectfully disagree with you on that one Tom, as junior hockey is a big business now. It is why the Western League has mandated that no franchise can have an arena that has a seating capacity of less than 5,000 people. It puts places like Moose Jaw, Swift Current , Medicine Hat(if the capacity is below 5 000), and Prince Albert in a tight spot. We just went through a civic election where the ballot contained a referendum on a new arena. The voters committed $15 million to the project, and a new rink will cost at least 35 mill, maybe even 50 mill when all is said and done.

I only need to look where I grew up, London, and see what a new rink there, 9,000, in the heart of London has done. The Hunter brothers have made a killing with the Knights and are now worth I'm sure in the range of about $10 mill, as much if not more than some CFL teams. Junior hockey CAN BE, not all teams, but CAN BE, very big business.

Granted some franchises are making a boat load of money simply because of the "hockey culture". But, I can also name several locations that are loosing big money and are only afloat because of rich owners. Here in Toronto the St. Michaels Majors can't fill the delapidated 1500 seat arena. likewise, in Brampton where they built a brand new arena of 6000 and I believe the team is lucky to draw one third. The Mississaug Ice Dogs have not been sduccessful as going threw several owners and they also have the same digs as Brampton.
As for the TV ratings, not even close to our CFL and they don't even have a major TV contract. The odd game shown regionally is lucky to get Toronto Craptors 40,000 figure.
So when you think of it Sambo, it is truly sad how taxpayers dollars are used to build new arenas all over Canada with all the bells and whistles to include corporate boxes, but your Riders who are surely more popular then any local hockey franchise can't get a new stadium. I know, they have had some bailouts and recently Taylor Field will be upgraded, but that was a major fight to get it.

The $9 million franchise fee is outrageous. Its nothing more then a cash grab by the other owners in the league, people who don't seem to give a damn if the new Ottawa team is successful or not.

If they really wanted the team to do well, they'd have a smaller franchise fee with guarantees lined up for funding, because everybody knows this team is going to take time before it can even break even (especially given the damage done in the Ottawa market the last time around).

Starting the team off down $9 million is a recipie for failure.

Totally disagree Tridus. For years the league has been "giving away" and devaluing franchises for $1 and basically you take it for nothing and just pay the bills mentality.
In order for the league to grow and the franchise to appreciate the league has to go away from this position.
The $9M is not outlandish in this day and age of overpriced MLB, NHL and NFL billion dollar figure.
The league must obtain owners who have the money not only to pay the franchise fee but also the $10M bond which must be posted in order to carry the team.

well with the history in Ottawa, wut did u expect? 8)

I fully support the higher franchise fee. If we want the league to be considered more than bush league, then prospective owners should pay the fee. It shows their commitment to the franchise, and weeds out carpetbaggers who buy a team on a whim, run it on a shoestring budget, and bail when things get tough. If the new owners cough up $9 million before the team even hits the field, they mean business.