Melnyk changing his tune

Looks who is now saying he's open to sharing "his" stadium with a CFL team HE owns. Hmm, do you think this has something to do with the Slam Sports poll last week that overwhelmingly favoured a multi-purpose facility rather than a soccer only?

Never mind the fact that he doesn't have a CFL franchise. Never mind the fact that the MLS has openly stated its preference for soccer-only facilities. This guy is a joke and his continual use of the CFL as a pawn in his game is really starting to tick me off.

The other thing that is somewhat disturbing is why was he addressing council but Hunt's group wasn't? And the tone of the article makes it seem like at least some people on council liked the fact that he was there, though I don't know what 'cosmopolitan flare' means or matters to this process.

[url=] ... 6-sun.html[/url]

[b]Melnyk game for football

CFL franchise could play out of Kanata complex, councillors told
An outdoor soccer stadium being pitched by Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk could also play host to CFL football, a city committee heard yesterday.

Melnyk was at City Hall making his case to the city's planning and advisory committee to secure moral and financial support to build a $110-million, 20,000-seat open-air soccer stadium on a piece of city-owned land near Scotiabank Place.

The CFL franchise is central to the rival stadium proposal before the city, which is spearheaded by Jeff Hunt, owner of the Ottawa 67's. The CFL has already granted Hunt's group a conditional franchise, but it's dependent on the city renovating the stadium at Lansdowne Park.

Nobody from the Hunt group was at City Hall yesterday, something that didn't go unnoticed.

Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder said Melnyk and his group made a good move speaking at committee.

"He showed his cosmopolitan flare, as opposed to the other group," she said.

If council supports Melnyk's bid the conditional franchise would likely be pulled, but Melnyk didn't rule out also taking on a football team.

"We could potentially," he said. "I like football but I like soccer better."

Melnyk said if he were to field a CFL team there would have to be some design changes to the stadium, but that wouldn't be a problem.

In Melnyk's proposal, the cost would be shared one-third among the provincial and federal governments and the city. Melnyk's share would be part of the city's one-third, which is about $37 million.

Bolster economy

Melnyk said he is prepared to invest $50 million of his own money to bring a Major Soccer League franchise to Ottawa and guaranteed committee members a soccer team would become as integral to the city as the Ottawa Senators hockey club.

"I don't believe there is any other stadium model that would serve the city," said Melnyk, adding soccer has billions of fans around the world. "With the exception of a Stanley Cup I want nothing more than to bring the world to Ottawa."

Melnyk said a new state of the art stadium would bolster the city's economy, drive tourism, create 1,600 full- and part-time jobs and would "remind everyone why Ottawa is Canada's capital."

Since taking over the Ottawa Senators, which he said at the time was a "mess," the organization and Scotiabank Place have become a sports and entertainment success.

"Scotiabank Place is one of the top NHL arenas in North America and one of the Top 40 entertainment arenas in the world," said Melnyk.

Cyril Leeder, Ottawa Senators COO, said a long-time stadium tenant would generate about $9 million a year for the city and suggested that over the past decade the Senators have generated close to $170 million a year in economic benefits.

City council is scheduled to make a decision on the stadium by mid-April and are expected to debate a staff report regarding the two unsolicited proposals at today's council meeting.

What the hell? This sucker needs to be tarred and feathered and run out of the country on a rail! Scum like him ruining my plans to watch the Rough Riders playing at Lansdowne Park? AAAAaaaargh. Can we call Ghostbusters to get the slime sucked away forever? Then m :twisted: maybe the Senators might win a Cup after all!


I know it sounds like it's giving Melnyk props, but keep reading...

Melnyk could get stadium built just with razzle-dazzle
Smart entrepreneur knows when to seize the moment

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By Randall Denley, The Ottawa Citizen
March 12, 2009

[i]If the issue of Lansdowne Park redevelopment versus Major League Soccer in Kanata were to be settled based on razzle-dazzle, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk would win hands down. Mr. Melnyk, as they call him at city hall, made an unexpected appearance before city council's planning committee this week to give councillors and the media a strong pitch for his soccer plan.

It was a smart strategic move. In two weeks, city staff will tell the public which plan ranks highest on an objective point score. There's a decent chance it won't be Melnyk's, but he's canny enough to know that public opinion will play a big role in what councillors ultimately decide. Melnyk's strategy was all the better because there no representative from the Lansdowne Live group present to contradict his arguments or highlight the strengths of the opposing plan.

All councillors were really doing this week was approving the process that will lead to a decision in April, but a smart entrepreneur knows when to seize the moment, and Melnyk is certainly a smart entrepreneur.

Even a person who thinks soccer is about as exciting as watching a hand of whist at the seniors' club would have been impressed by Melnyk's enthusiasm. The man is a natural salesman, and he does have a good record as a sports team owner. He came equipped with a slide show and well-honed arguments and he was ready to promise that soccer would never leave Ottawa as long as he "is on this planet."

Melnyk argued that it makes perfect sense to put the new stadium in Kanata because it's adjacent to Scotiabank Place and can share a parking lot. Yes, that does make sense if you are the guy who owns the hockey rink and parking lot.

This is essentially a real estate development play, although not much was said about that. It was all about that wonderful game of soccer.

Local and national soccer association representatives were present to praise the soccer complex and its supporting fields. No doubt they'd be appreciated, but one needn't spend $110 million on a pro soccer stadium to build soccer fields for local use.

The Melnyk presentation made selective use of numbers. Senators Sports and Entertainment executive Cyril Leeder said that Melnyk's group would pay the city $9 million over the term of its lease at the new stadium, but he wouldn't say what the term was, for competitive reasons. He was equally vague about how the $37-million local share of the stadium cost would be divided. It's assumed that the federal and provincial governments will each pay one-third of the $110-million total, and the Melnyk group has agreed to split the other piece with the city. By "split," the group doesn't mean pay half, but Leeder wouldn't say how much his group would contribute. The city will release those numbers later.

This week's meeting also provided the first indication of an unanticipated complication that could be a big problem for both bids. While all the talk has been about stadiums and sports franchises, Lansdowne Park is also Ottawa's main home for consumer shows. Its various buildings provide 143,000 square feet of exhibition space and the shows held there attract 300,000 people a year.

The Lansdowne Live proposal says that consumer shows will still be part of the mix, but it also proposes tearing down the Coliseum and using the Cattle Castle for another purpose. That would take away more than half the prime exhibition space at Lansdowne. Lansdowne Live spokesman and Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt says his group can be flexible, but the people who produce shows at Lansdowne are worried about losing their business. They want more space, not less.

The city has asked Melnyk's group to incorporate consumer-show space into its proposal and Leeder didn't look too happy when describing this late addition to the city's requirements. The $110-million cost of the stadium is already going to tax the ability of the three governments. Adding the trade-show space would cost tens of millions more, and it's not the business Melnyk was planning to operate. Leeder said such a building was in the long-range plan for the site, but not now.

There are other repercussions, too. If the city put money into new consumer-show space in Kanata, it couldn't very well compete with that space at Lansdowne. That would mean shutting down Lansdowne's show capacity, and making the site even less financially viable. That only makes sense if the plan for Lansdowne is to wipe the slate clean.

It's quite possible that neither plan will address the demand for consumer-show space, and that could be a critical failure. It could also be just the out risk-averse councillors are looking for. Despite the enthusiasm Melnyk's presentation generated, councillors were underlining the point that they want the plan that has the least risk to the city. What councillors need to do is balance the risk with the reward. Doing nothing might have the least risk, but it has no reward.

Contact Randall Denley at 613-596-3756
or by e-mail,

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen[/i]

He's got flare all right, shister flair. Biovail shister flair. Where's he live, in Barbados somewhere? :thdn:

Neither group was supposed to be. Presentations were supposed to be April 6th. Melnyk apparently made a "surprise" appearance. Not surprisingly, the Hunt group is questioning the fairness of that a little bit.

I also don't know what a Cosmopolitan Flare is. I assume it's something like a Flaming Moe.

Yes, well said CRF. Let's also just say that I bet the person who said he has this "cosmopolitan flare" so to speak, wouldn't know the difference between a football or a soccer ball. Or better yet, the difference between a hockey puck or a football to be quite honest.

Can someone please tell me that when you're not scheduled to appear at a meeting to give your speech, if you do then this looks good? WTF is going on there in Ottawa with this city council? Don't they understand protocol? That is pure BS.

This just in, well, from yesterday: Anheuser-Busch joining to bring MLS to St. Louis. No wonder Melnyk is saying anything, even CFL, to get the stadium in Kanata passed, I don't think he stands a chance now.

Anheuser-Busch joins effort to bring MLS to St. Louis

Anheuser-Busch joins effort

Anheuser-Busch added clout to a group seeking an MLS franchise for St. Louis, offering its soccer facility as a possible site for a future stadium. Supporters of the effort call it a “huge turning point? in the quest to get an MLS team in the city.

St. Louis is among four cities in the running for two expansion franchises that would begin play in 2011 or 2012. Ottawa, Portland and Vancouver are the other cities.

•In Portland the City Council approved financing of $60 million to lure an MLS team, but it hasn’t resolved how to raise one-fourth of the money.

"Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder said Melnyk and his group made a good move speaking at committee. "He showed his cosmopolitan flare, as opposed to the other group," she said. "

...HA, Jan Harder!, wasn't she the overbloated hambeast of a councillor that danced on the Rough Rider grave a few years ago?...she had no reservations about the death of the CFL in her city....

harder, harder… oops, just reminded my of curling, great game will say.

I’m sure ol’ Jan and Eugene had a little conversation that went a bit like this, a bit like that, and the ol’ boy Eugene wowed her with his talk of priceless artwork and classical music pieces, collections of artifacts from the far East etc. Hey, any woman’s dream and then paid her nicely for an evening unparalleled in her life with whatever she fancied. A woman’s man I’ve heard ol’ Eugene is, and he’s got the money to woo them however he wants I’m sure. :wink:


A tale of two stadiums

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March 07, 2009
BY Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder

[i]In my recent newsletter I asked the question “I haven’t heard from many of you regarding your thoughts on a stadium for Ottawa.? Which reminds me if you haven’t signed up for my e-letter please email me at and I will be happy to add you to my list. Anyway back to the subject at hand I ask again what your thoughts are regarding either of the two unsolicited proposals or for that matter the 23 sites that staff has now studied to further “muddy the waters?.

City manager Kent Kirkpatrick hired The Corporate Research Group Ltd to write a “Needs Analysis for Multi-Purpose Sports and Entertainment Facilities City of Ottawa?. In order to determine Ottawa’s need for new sports and entertainment facilities or the need to seek new facilities, he felt that this study was important. I don’t and I will tell you why.

Back in early post amalgamation days the province and the feds asked the new Ottawa to list our priorities and we did. They were Terry Fox, a new congress centre, Woodroffe and Fallowfield, Castlefrank, and Innes Road. Over the years both levels of government have contributed funds to match the city’s money and each project has or will be completed. Mission accomplished you might say. Other than transit, the Ottawa River, and a bunch of other “priorities? identified through urgent need as opposed to careful planning when did we EVER identify a “pressing need? a “priority? for a new stadium/entertainment facility?

We didn’t. What has changed is that Lansdowne Live stepped forward in early October with a concept plan for this city owned facility. Well I don’t know about you but certainly I expected a report from staff coming forward in a timely fashion on this one concept. It hasn’t. Lansdowne has been a city owned fixer upper for decades. Along comes the fabulous four, local guys who have contributed hundreds of millions dollars to hospitals, the arts, universities and more in Ottawa but to this point we haven’t even been respectful. Council has not given due consideration to their proposal.

Then along comes Mr. Melnyk who of course is responsible for keeping our Ottawa Senators in town. He is an excellent businessman no doubt and he surely got one heck of a deal in purchasing Scotiabank Place for something like $25 million (for you Nepean folks…replacement value of Nepean Sportsplex is close to $50 million just to put it in perspective). So now he has made a connection with MLS…big soccer/20 games a year and guess what opportunity knocks, for him that is. We supply the land and some other stuff, feds and province provide cash, he gets to maximize use of his parking lot, and build condos, hotel, etc and Kanata will have new demands on infrastructure so development charges from Orleans/Cumberland/Barrhaven will have to be moved to fast track necessary work in Kanata due to a new sports facility.

This really is not about finding the best site for a stadium or an entertainment facility because in today’s time and economy no municipality should be spending money on such a “nice to have? unless of course opportunity really knocks and it makes clear sense. Also if we are going to spend money it should be for something we own, that will be a benefit all Ottawa taxpayers.

In reviewing the report from CRG I was interested in the criteria weighting and how important these weights were. On the issue of “technical site?, minimum size requirements, city owned, clean site (contaminant free), central sites, lower acquisition costs, lower site development costs. When it comes to weighting in the “general site? criteria, points are given to impact to neighbours (now how do you think Lansdowne scored here) and access to hotels, restaurants, other amenities (with even more points if they were within walking distance). Points were given on the issue of “transportation and access? regarding proximity/access to major roadways, public transit and parking. We awarded points in the area of “planning and infrastructure? with the highest marks going to those which already are compatible with land use designation in our official plan, where the property is already serviced or serviceable, and where sites had the opportunity for additional complimentary development or redevelopment. How does this all sound to you?

So in summary when I consider the two interests or concepts we actually do have before us I am considering the fact we do own Lansdowne, it is a recognized priority (has been for decades), we spend millions of dollars annually maintaining it, and we have yet to receive a report on the “concept?. I don’t know if it is a good deal for taxpayers or not. I don’t know it will cost us more or how much more than it does each year already if we did go forward with the Lansdowne Live concept. And the bottom line is this isn’t about sports from my perspective. It isn’t about soccer and it isn’t about football. Currently we have two stadiums that need help. They are whatever we call the former Lynx stadium this year and Frank Clair stadium (obviously with the home of the 67’s included). To even consider another one that will require public funding at this time is just dumb.[/i]

Just horrible...I can't believe that councilor had the guts or the stupidity to make a comment like that. Such a conflict its not even funny.

Every time I read the 2 articles I keep finding something else that amazes me. What is with this sudden requirement for exhibition space? How can the city just throw that out there this late in the process, AFTER they've asked both proponents to submit design proposals?

Here's hoping that the city of Ottawa goes for a plan with substance (and less risk) rather than one that has more "cosmopolitan flare".

I really like that article written by Jan Harder, though. Glad to see there's at least one councillor looking at it that way ...

That last line of hers is pretty solid have to admit. :thup:

I think Melnyk has little real interest in soccer or the MLS. This move is designed to derail the CFL franchise bid in Ottawa, which might cut into his thin profit line with the Senators, if successful.

Perhaps he hopes to muddle the CFL bid and try to delay it and create obstacles, hoping they go away. But, I would be very surprised if Melnyk ever follows through and gives the MLS a $40 million fee (in the unlikely event Ottawa is given a franchise), which is a ridiculous amount for essentially nothing. What are investors getting for that investment? A TV deal? National sponorships?? Try nothing, but a bunch of hot air, papered crowds and boasting about nothing...which is essentially the MLS.

Well I stand somewhat corrected. She does seem to be looking at this in a more logical way than was suggested by her 'cosmopolitan flair' remark. But whoever is in charge - and she has to take some of the blame as a city councilor - in Ottawa has sure made a mess of this entire stadium process.

Is it only me from afar, but enough already.
I am getting punch drunk with this daily dose of this marathon, worse then the everedy bunny.
To the crooked politicians of Ottawa(yes we all have our own), make a decision that’s what you are paid to do.
Declare a “winner” once and for all.

Seems like Eugene wants a soccer team more so that he can maximize his existing parking lot for the Sens, than he does for any other reason.

Melnyk [i]is[i] a good salesman and the fact that he has Ottawa city council debating between the two stadiums proves that. He also got the MLS commisioner to all but guarantee an MLS franchise to Ottawa sometime in the future. Based on what's been said so far though here and in other articles it sounds like Mr. Melnyk may not get what he wants but I won't stop being nervous until the final vote is in and (hopefully) Lansdowne Live wins.

And as far as Melnyk saying he would be willing to accomodate a CFL franchise I don't believe it.  I think he's just saying it so he can close the deal and once the deal is done I don't ever expect him to lift a finger to get a CFL franchise.

Now that you mention it, I believe she also suggested that Lonie Glieberman' Mardi Gras promotion was overcompensation for a small pecker.

The Sun's Earl Mcrae contacted Lonie to determine the size of said pecker and Lonie directed the line of questioning to his girlfriend of the week. I can not recall how said girlfriend responded, though as you can imagine I, and many others no doubt, came away highly impressed with the overall professionalism shown by all parties.

That's a very legitimate question, but maybe not in the way that you meant it originally.

When they started this dead-end design competition last year, exhibition space was stated as being the bigget money-maker for Lansdowne Park. the probme was that the space was divided between three (I think) buildings and hard to coordinate.

This is why the first proposal (summer 2007) was considered pretty crap by many people. It was mostly residential and did away with most of the exhibition space.

So the "real" Lansdowne Live is launched and they've accomodated for exhibition space, but at a reduced amount (still better than the original plan though, I'm pretty sure). The people in charge of the larger exhibition shows expressed some concern about that, but that I know of it hasn't really been addressed.

So the requirement isn't sudden. The prioritizing of it is. And it should have been one of the first things that the city told Lansdowne Live to correct.

It sounds as though Lansdowne Live would include a store like Chapters. Well, as you know, Chapters stores are gigantic. Trim those kinds of things into exhibition space and you might solve your problem right there. Or flush this aquarium idea and use that building for show rental space (that's what they do with it now).

I hope that when the presentation is..huh...presented on April 6th, they'll have adjusted for that kind of thing. But if they haven't, council should have made it clear that it was a huge deal from day one.