OTTAWA CFL STATUS - COMING UP

I just heard Bob on Fan 590/Sportsnet, those who have the availability should listen on radio or on Sportsnet sometimes between 5-7 pm eastern as Jeff Hunt will report the status of the "negotiations" with the city.
I will report results or others are also welcome with their slant.

Go Ottawa Rough Riders!

Just heard the interview, nothing major to report.
Jeff says the big council meeting is for April 23, I believe. He has no idea how it will go.
If they get rejected, the group is done and they will not pursue it further.

Is it open to the public? That is where you need your 2500 fans... from the sidewalk entrance all the way to the doors of the hall.

Agreed. Ottawa City Council needs to see that there is a groundswell of support.

What baffles me entirely is how we've lost site of the fact that having a venue for large events is as much about community building as the dozens of hockey arena's that get built every year by tax payer dollars, often for professional and privately-owned hockey teams, but multi-sport large stadiums are somehow taboo.

Either way, the citizens of Ottawa are on the hook for 25 million just to fix the Lansdowne site. For 75 million more, why not create a community venue that benefits all citizens and host events and amateur and professional sports alike for 30-50 years. The alternative for the city is sell the land off to a couple of large developers who will build a bunch of condos and pocket the money (and likely put it in a Bahamian bank!).

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The CFL in Ottawa failed on its first two attempts. Do we really want to see a turnover on downs?

At some point, someone should basically mercifully end the idea of a Canadian Football League franchise in Ottawa.

There have been enough red flags -- and no I don't mean football flags -- to indicate the CFL has had its day in the nation's capital.

It has already failed twice before, the last time for the same reason it collapsed the first time: ownership and insufficient resources.

The CFL only returned to Ottawa in 2002 after it died following the 1996 season because the new commissioner at the time, Mike Lysko, pushed hard, perhaps to show he could do it and demonstrate his business and leadership skills. Sadly, Lysko lasted only a season and a half, while the Ottawa franchise, christened the Renegades, died after only four seasons. To this day, Lysko and the Renegades are linked in CFL history.

Mark Cohon, now in his third year as CFL commissioner, has been working diligently to make Ottawa a reality. He believes it's necessary to create a league from coast-to-coast and with 10 franchises. Similar to Lysko, this could be his legacy if that happens. He has a solid ownership group lined up in Ottawa consisting of well-known, well-respected and deep-pocketed land developers and an equally sound sportsman in Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt. Collectively, Cohon has labelled the Hunt group The Dream Team.

Inasmuch as this group is excited about a CFL franchise, it is an add-on as part of a commercial/housing development plan. Creating infrastructure to support the team and the stadium on days in which there are no games helps to drive the overall business.

A sports franchise as a stand-alone proposition, particularly in the CFL, is not a textbook way to make money. If it can turn a small profit that's considered an accomplishment. It's a difficult thing to do when the revenue streams are not great, particularly in this economy. The CFL is a ticket-driven league and filling up a stadium is a challenge. Most CFL franchises are surviving because of private owners who have the financial wherewithal to offset the losses against their primary businesses.

The Hunt group is becoming increasingly frustrated with the political process that is moving the franchise idea forward at a painfully slow rate. It has cost the group $500,000 in third-party costs and countless man hours, according to information revealed on Monday, and there is no immediate resolution. Ottawa City Council isn't sure it can foot the bill for stadium costs due to more pressing issues such as transit, sewage and other things. Venerable Frank Clair Stadium may be in such disrepair that it might make more sense to raze it rather than renovate it.

And this says nothing of Eugene Melnyk's bid for a Major League Soccer franchise in Kanata, Ont., on land next to the arena where his Ottawa Senators play. Melnyk, who has been vocal in criticizing the relative merits of the CFL and in turn caused Cohon to publicly reply with data to challenge what he believed were gross untruths, wants the city to give his location the green light. So far the other bid is running in front.

The CFL has already extended the conditional franchise deadline it awarded to the Hunt group. That may be a moot point if the group tires of waiting for the city to put forward money or the city decides to invest in public service needs rather than a stadium.

In the meantime, the idea of a CFL franchise returning to Ottawa appears to be standing on a foundation as shaky as Frank Clair Stadium. It's looking more and more like two and out in Ottawa.

Yes I am very surprised that the pro CFL writer Perry Lefko and one time employed by the CFL office would have such a negative slant, even if it is true.
As for reading the tea leaves from afar as most of us are and all of the reports, I hope that I am wrong but it does not look good from the crooked politicians in Ottawa.

Come on guys, give Perry the benefit of the doubt here. Sportsnet/Rogers is an extremely aggressive company, as we only know with the Bills thing and other stuff over the years, and I'm sure they want Perry like all of their writers to be controversial and get things stirred up. Perry is just playing devils advocate here, I am very sure he is a big CFL fan and wants to see our league succeed totally. He didn't say anything about wanting soccer over football and all that crap that has been written about by others.
He just said Melnyk's bid is in front to be controversial, not from his opinion. He gave no figures or whatever, just trying to please his bosses to get people writing on his blog. If someone can find solid evidence to suggest that Perry likes soccer any league over football any league, give it to me but I'm 99.9 percent sure you won't find this evidence. I hope not, I like Perry.

Let's face it, there has been problems in Ottawa but not so much with the CFL as with the finding some solid local ownership who can deal with what appears to be one winner of a city council there who also happens to own a stadium that is in need of support. Big problems in Ottawa any way you look at over the past few years. The fan base supporting the teams as they did were excellent considering the city didn't care that much nor the local people with scads of money who could have been CFL fans and owners but didn't want anything to do with a city council like this and their stadium. Who could blame them, really. Also, the CFL didn't give the expansion Ottawa franchises a solid base of players to work with and the CFL can be accussed a bit like the NBA in this respect with the Grizzlies, different though yes.

Well said Earl, sums it up in a nutshell. I've decided to write Ottawa Council and let them know that the rest of the country is waiting for them to make a bloody decision. Lets stoke the fire under their soft councillor asses!

Good idea SS. Let's just hope this city council doesn't have anything to do with defense department up there or else by the time some other country is firing rockets at Canada and millions of people are dead, this council would probably still be debating whether Canada should attack or not. But if they get the LL off the ground, I take back that statement. Do it Ottawa!!!!!!!!! You have local people for crying out friggin loud on this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just what we need more negative media to fuel the fire.

One thing I take major exception with is his contention that the league only stays afloat because of "benevolent" private owners. Give me a break. While the current crop are certainly better than most...how many private owners have bailed out in the middle of the night when things got tough? More than I can even remember!

It is the community-run teams that have been the backbone of the league. Through prudent management, Edmonton and Saskatchewan are the envy of the league, and these are the teams that kept things going when the privately held teams were spending money they didn't have, and planning wet t-shirt contests in the stands!

I hear ya Yukoner but come on, Perry is the CFL writer and wouldn't be in this position if he didn't love the league.

The bigger question here, and I've seen it with other sports and leagues on Sportsnet, and not just Sportsnet, is the mission of the company and how they wish to operate. Basically, you work with Sportsnet/Rogers, you better be not only controversial, but you better do it no matter what even if this means stretching the truth along lines of torn ligament rather than just slightly pulled. They want you to basically lie up to the point where the company would get a lawsuit agains't them.

yes, Perry did choose to work with Rogers as I'm sure they pay huge bucks, well, I know they do. But he's ok, he's one of us even if it doesn't appear so. I've seen hockey writers there basically calling the NHL a bush league for how it's handled fighting and supspensions over the years, hockey writers.

This is how they want their writers to write and talk. The more people are mad after reading something, the happier the editorial department is. The way it is. It's a company, not the CFL or NHL or whatever, they can do what they want a lot more with what they say.

You sound like you know this guy Earl, and maybe he's a nice guy. But its factually incorrect statements like this from the media that people hear over and over again until it sticks in their head that the CFL must a bush league on its last legs (because they hear it all the time), when in fact its a great family entertainment that attracts millions of fans (both live and televison) and is thriving.

I don’t know him personally but I have a cousin who works in the media business in Toronto that knows what goes on.

Do I like some of what Perry has written here? No, not at all. But he doesn’t work for the league and doesn’t have to tow the party line here with the CFL, he can write what he wants daring anyone like you or me or whoever to take him to court over any factual errors. And look, he’s got people talking so his bosses are happy I’m sure. He has to please his bosses.

This is one reason I find the media business, parts of it, so slimy that it is almost disgusting. But I don’t make my living from it. My best friend, a very intelligent man and very well read, got fired because he knew more than his bosses who were in a little club at this radio station where he worked. They said his on-air voice wasn’t good. Fact is, my friend knew so much more he was a threat to the man’s job and his boss knew it so chucked him before he got chucked. yes, my friend should have brownnosed but not his style. RIP Mark. Most of the media operates slimebuckety IMHO.

I hear you Earl. We all have/had bosses whose butts we had to kiss. And the media do seem to feel they have to be sensationalistic to sell papers. Too bad its gone that way.

Lefko kind of left-o CFL in a hurry too, which was never really explained. So he may have a bit of an axe to grind. Who knows.

Yes, thinking the same thing about the axe as you say Yuk. What better place to work, therefore, than Rogers. Albeit, overall Perry hasn’t been overlly negative with every blog he’s written if memory serves me correctly.

I also think the concept of the success of the CFL is a very touchy subject with MLSE, Tannenbaum, who I still think is after the Bills or NFL franchise big-time, and who would love to see the Argos and TiCats go gonzo to make it easier for Tannenbaum. And MLSE and Tannenbaum have probably the most clout of all in the sports business in Toronto, huge influence on a lot of people. Tannenbaum doesn’t say much unlike Godfrey when he was with Rogers but there was no mistaking Tannenbaum in that photo with him and Ted Rogers and Ralph Wilson. The last thing Tannenbaum wants is a new CFL stadium and team in Ottawa. I’m surprised actually Tannenbaum allowed himself to be in this photo, he laid his cards on the table publicly which he rarely does.

I agree Earl...MLSE, Tannenbaum/Rogers and Melnyk. I think things are lining up to where all these guys will end up being partners in whatever the NFL inititiative becomes in the next few years.

I'm still not convinced that Melnyk's soccer bid was legit, or whether it was merely a ploy to keep the CFL from adding Ottawa. A team in Ottawa further strengthens the CFL, which adds further TV revenue, which makes the CFL more attractive to potential owners in Quebec or the maritimes...etc, and ultimately creates a growing problem for their NFL bid.

If they were indeed trying to shut the CFL out, you have to take your hat off to them, because it was a brilliant play. And if the CFL has no team in Ottawa it sure makes it easier for politicians in Ottawa to turn a blind eye to the CFL if the league ever has to go to the federal government to play the foreign competitive business card against a potential NFL team in Toronto.

I agree Yukoner and agree what you say about the legit part of Melnyk's soccer bid. Interesting. Hats off to them for sure if this is what the score is on this and I think it is. Now let's see if any writer out there has the gonads to write an opinionated piece on this. I doubt it, having the wrath of Tannenbaum et al. as a writer is not something I'd want.

If that group gets Balsillie on board, you have to think that a new NFL stadium in Toronto is a distinct possibility. And there are rumours of Balsillie's involvement as well on the Bills fan site.

Interesting...hadn't heard that about Balsillie. Hopefully that's just wishful thinking. But would make sense. The NFL group needs a billionaire to take at least a 30% ownership stake in the team. And Tannebaum doesn't have that kind of $$

Wouldn't that be funny (in a sad way for the CFL), if getting shunned the way he did by the NHL, turns Balsillie into an NFL owner. When about 6 NHL owners would hand him the keys right now if he wrote them a cheque. A development like that should cost Bettman his job...but probably won't unfortunately.

Hopefully wishful thinking. But if Balsillie pleases Tannenbaum, look for him to easily get his NHL team I think, that is if Balsillie has any cash left over after Larry gets through with him on the NFL thing. I really think Tannenbaum has that much influence in the NHL as head of Leafs Nation.