Here is the latest articles I came across from various papers. It gives different possibilities.
Renegades leave the CFL a tough choice
Matthew Sekeres, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, April 08, 2006
The Canadian Football League finds itself in a most unenviable position these days.
No professional sports organization wants to contemplate the death, or suspension, of one of its members, particularly not when the league comprises only nine teams, but that is where the CFL is after neglecting the looming Ottawa Renegades' disaster for the past 18 months, and what it faces is a defining moment, namely its commitment to football in the nation's capital.
The Renegades must be sold in the next week, and the buyer determined to field a team this season, or the club is likely to be mothballed. Thus far, indications are the league wants the sabbatical to be as short as possible and is planning a cushy re-launch in 2007.
That is easier said than done, particularly when one year might not be enough time to heal the wounds of abandoned Ottawa football fans.
A superstar owner with ties to the community, such as Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, could surely bring them back, but an unknown company with murky motivations, such as Golden Gate Capital, would face a Herculean public-relations task.
As Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young put it, the CFL needs an Ottawa owner who views the team as a "long-term viable enterprise, not a short-term hobby."
A new owner would require forgiveness, trust and support from the community, and those are not earned overnight. They would also need an agreement with the team's existing ownership, which still owns the equipment and other assets.
On chat-rooms and talk-radio, it is clear that Ottawa's core fans want to see football this summer. Just as clear is the league's insistence that it cannot afford to present an inferior product to the Ottawa market or it risks losing the casual fan altogether.
"Keeping it going does not necessarily ensure that there will be the right ingredients for that market," said Montreal Alouettes president Larry Smith, a former CFL commissioner. "We have an obligation not to offer something the city won't support."
For fans in other CFL cities, the obvious benefit of suspending the Renegades for a season is an improved team and on-field product.
A dispersal draft of Renegades would provide other clubs with difference-makers, such as quarterback Kerry Joseph and receiver Jason Armstead, and the weakest 40 to 50 players could be phased out of the league.
That should bolster the on-field product's quality.
One of the remaining clubs would also reap a $100,000 pay-out for replacing Ottawa in the "Touchdown Atlantic" exhibition game in Halifax in June.
More significantly, league-generated revenues, expected to be $1.3 million this season, would be split eight ways instead of nine. That means an additional $160,00 per team for every season the Renegades miss. Because clubs would also avoid funding Ottawa's team in 2006, the net savings would be immense.
The total cost of financing the Renegades' season without majority owner Bernie Glieberman's assistance could approach $1 million per team.
Under terms of Glieberman's deal rejected by the league last month, each CFL team would have been on the hook for at least $200,000, assuming Glieberman made good on his pledge to cover the first $2.5 million in losses and everything beyond $4.5 million.
Invariably, if the league suspends the Renegades, it will undoubtedly try to brandish the strength of its remaining eight teams. Few dispute that the CFL has the best collection of owners and operators in its existence, and removing the Renegades would eliminate the league's black sheep.
However, it would also kill the league's momentum, which, outside of Ottawa, has been climbing since the successful turnarounds of both southern Ontario teams in 2003, and do serious damage to the notion that Ottawa can make it as a CFL city and that the Renegades can make it as a legitimate business.
No matter how hard the league might try, it could not have full confidence in revival efforts even if it planned a favourable re-stocking of the team's roster.
It is believed the league has discussed a re-entry plan and agreed that Ottawa's team could not resemble an expansion outfit in 2007 if the re-launch was to have any success or credibility. Clubs may carry two additional roster spots for Canadian players this season, but those spots would be eliminated, and many of the players returned to Ottawa, if the Renegades compete next year.
For the moment, though, the league would be awash in negativity and scrambling to resolve logistical issues.
The controversy would undoubtedly compound as commissioner Tom Wright's opponents in ownership (B.C.'s David Braley and Montreal's Robert Wetenhall) seize on his Ottawa mishandling and push for his firing, as they did last spring. All expansion plans -- to Halifax or elsewhere -- would be put on hold and the CFL's very existence would be in jeopardy if another franchise experienced a financial hiccup.
The 18-game schedule would also have to be reconfigured, affecting scores of people and businesses. Because the schedule is connected to stadium availability and television needs, it must be completely overhauled.
Some teams have not yet distributed their tickets because of the Renegades' limbo, while others would have to reissue tickets already printed. Hotels and flights for teams would have to be re-booked, as would bus trips and other group-sales initiatives for fans.
Financially, there are many pros and cons to suspending the Renegades.
All five West Division teams have made it clear they don't care about Ottawa. The Renegades mean nothing in terms of an attendance draw, and local sponsorships would not be affected. In essence, they have little to gain, and much to lose, in the short-term.
The situation is not that tidy for East Division teams, who would add the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to their ranks. Without Ottawa, they face longer road trips and additional costs for travelling by plane and not train or bus.
It also means a lost geographic rival for the Montreal Alouettes, while the Toronto Argonauts and Tiger-Cats, who are working with the Renegades to lobby the Ontario government for sponsorship dollars, would lose an advocate.
Fate of Renegades about to be determined
Globe and Mail Update
Ottawa â€? After more than a month of twists, turns and false starts, the fate of the Ottawa Renegades is expected to be determined this weekend during a Canadian Football League governors meeting in Toronto.
Representatives of the league's eight other clubs must consider what to do with the four-year-old Ottawa franchise, which has been at death's door since majority owner Bernie Glieberman indicated last month he was unwilling to fund the team through another season.
For two weeks, the CFL has been desperately searching for an owner to operate the club in 2006, hoping to avoid either operating the team itself or folding the operation altogether.
Multiple sources say the league has told governors it was continuing to deal with one potential ownership group interested in operating the team this season, even though training camp is just more than five weeks away.
The identity of the group is unknown to governors, as is the status of the talks.
However, no one throughout the league appears to be banking on a last-minute deal, instead preparing for an anticipated dispersal draft of Renegades players while weighing the pros and cons of shutting the franchise down.
While doing so would allow the league to get on with the business of this season, a number of issues would need resolving.
Foremost among those is how to deal with the club's current owners, Bernie Glieberman and his minority partner, Bill Smith.
Glieberman has said publicly that he plans to pay back to fans roughly $850,000 in season-ticket money.
It's also believed that he has a plan to pay out a significant severance to the Renegades' coaching staff, even though he may not be legally obligated to do so if the team folds.
However, since a dispersal draft is unlikely to be held before April 15, the date a number of Renegade players are due portions of signing bonuses, there are questions about who would be responsible for those.
There is also the matter of whether the CFL would be able to follow through on a plan being pushed by many influential governors to relaunch the team in 2007 under new ownership.
If Glieberman is left to pay out all of his obligations â€? season-ticket holders, coaches and player bonuses â€? he may not simply be willing to hand over the keys and club assets to a new owner for 2007.
The other option for the league is to operates the franchise this season in order to sell it at a more opportune time after the season.
That could cost each of the other member clubs upward of $500,000, a significant figure for franchises that operate on budgets in the range of $11-million to $12-million.
Clubs are concerned that shutting down the Renegades now would preclude the league from returning to Ottawa in the foreseeable future, including the idea of a 2007 relaunch.
But even those clubs would likely need some strong assurance that a credible owner was committed to taking over the franchise at season's end.
Regardless of the result this weekend, the past month's fiasco has placed much doubt on the future of commissioner Tom Wright, who was granted a one-year extension before last season.
Place 'Gades on road to recovery
Every game as visitor better option than folding team
By Don Brennan OTTAWA SUN
The minute flag is up on the CFL's attempt to find an owner for the Renegades as, by the end of next week, the league will/better announce its intentions for the orphaned Ottawa franchise.
Let this be a little reminder to expect the unexpected.
The search for somebody to take over the wheel immediately is 21/2 weeks old and looked to be stuck in the mud again until rumblings from out west yesterday that Calgary businessman Bruce Urban -- originally uncovered as an interested party by the Sun's Barre Campbell -- remains the only bidder still willing to assume control in time for the 2006 season.
Should negotiations fall through with anybody at this stage, meanwhile, and the league will almost certainly have to begin focusing on finding an Ottawa owner for 2007. Talk is a number of candidates would then emerge, or re-emerge, as we're still not convinced Eugene Melnyk wouldn't add a football franchise to his empire, given time to get a house in order.
So what to do with the jerseys and those who wear them until then? The worst idea would be to "mothball" operations for a year and hold a dispersal draft of Renegades players.
The team, as is, has a decent core. There's Jason Armstead, Brad Banks, Yo Murphy, Korey Banks, Kerry Joseph, Markus Howell, Val St. Germain, Kyries Hebert and a number of others who are at different stages of the development process started here in 2002. Under the proper guidance, the 'Gades could win 10 or 11 games in 2007.
Lose these guys now and you're starting from scratch all over again. That means the all-too familiar growing pains and another three-to-five-year building plan.
Know the lyrics to that achy-breaky country song by heart? Of course. You've lived them.
No, much better for long-suffering Ottawa fans and the league itself to keep the Renegades alive on life support. To that, we followed up with the CFL head office yesterday an idea first floated by veteran Toronto Sun football writer Perry Lefko.
Should the pursuit of an owner for 2006 fall short, will the league consider funding the Renegades and having the team play all its games on the road this season?
"Consideration is being given to various ideas and options under all scenarios," CFL spokeswoman Alexis Redmond stated. "The concept was tabled as one of many. I am not certain whether it is still on the roster of options."
It is still very much on the "roster of options," an insider confirmed yesterday.
In fact, unless significant progress on a deal was made yesterday, governors are likely to discuss the possibility in detail during a conference call this weekend. There are drawbacks to such an unprecedented prop job, of course.
Sleeves have to be rolled up. Adjustments have to be made. More stadium dates have to be booked, as well as travel plans and hotel rooms. There's the division and distribution of revenues, and different playoff scenarios and oh, don't forget about the players' association.
The P.A. is not going to like the idea of 40 members having to play on the road 18 times a year -- unless it does some extra math and concludes that maybe about half the Renegades roster would wind up with other teams, and that 20 or so others would therefore become unemployed.
Why would putting up with the ridicule for having a homeless team make sense to the league?
Well, let's guess that running the Renegades this way would cost each team in the neighbourhood of $600,000 --give or take a quarter-mil. Let's guess that the Montreal Alouettes, who draw 20,000 fans every game, charge an average of $35 per ticket. That's an extra $700,000 that the Als wouldn't normally bring in.
Again, there's an unevenness to deal with, as the Hamilton Ticats are scheduled to play in the nation's capital twice this season. But surely, details can be worked out and would be worked out eagerly when the alternative might be to lose the Ottawa market for good.
Theory is the league could hire an Al Ford or Paul Robson or Mike McCarthy to run the administration side, something they all have experience doing. Robson and McCarthy have even worked in Ottawa, one as a president and the other a GM, and both know the market.
Eric Tillman remains the popular and most sensible choice as Renegades GM, and not just because he's qualified, he's here and he's able to begin work tomorrow. The league knows it and preaches it.
But first, the league has to make the necessary decision. If there's no owner for the Renegades now, the CFL has to run the club -- even if it's only until July or August -- until somebody steps in to take over.
If that means Ottawa has to play all its games on the road in 2006, so be it.
The alternative is much worse.