Tiger-Cats owner comments on Ottawa - positive at least!

Tiger-Cat owner sees great future in Ottawa

By Ken Peters
The Hamilton Spectator (Mar 24, 2006)
Hamilton Tiger-Cat owner Bob Young believes the Canadian Football League has a long-term future in Ottawa.

"On a personal basis I feel Ottawa is as good a football town if not better than Hamilton and you know what I think about Hamilton," he said yesterday. "That's about as strong praise as I can give for the potential of CFL football in Ottawa as I can think of.

"To quote Apollo 13 'Failure in Ottawa is not an option.' How we achieve success is going to be a function of a lot of hard work but I don't see any reason why we won't be successful in Ottawa once we come up with the right solution."

But Young said the league may have to suspend the current Ottawa Renegades' franchise for this season in order to secure the best ownership for the controversy-mired club.

League Commissioner Tom Wright formed a committee, comprised of league board chairman Tom Robinson, B.C. owner David Braley and himself, to help find new owners for the ailing franchise. The board of governors decided it was best that current owners Bernie Glieberman and Bill Smith transfer the club to new owners because of their reluctance to cover a possible $6 million loss this season.

But there is no guarantee a prospective buyer can be found to keep the Renegades in operation this season. The league will certainly call on Ottawa Senators multi-millionaire owner Eugene Melnyk or look at a community ownership option. Failing that, the league may opt to bankroll the team for a season or suspend operations until new ownership can be found.

"They (the committee) may conclude that the best thing we can do in Ottawa is to put the team on hiatus for a year, not for negative reasons but for positive reasons. By doing that we might get a stronger, new ownership team coming in with a better opportunity to gain corporate support and a better opportunity to sell season's tickets than they would be scrambling in the rest of this year.

"This is not a desperate situation. This is a situation that requires a lot of hard work and a lot of intelligence to make sure we do the right thing for the fans of Ottawa, not just for this season or next season. What we have to do for Ottawa is give them certainty for the next 10 years," Young added.

For his part, Young said he has considered buying the Ottawa franchise and operating two teams. But he has rejected the idea, in part, because he doesn't believe Ottawa fans would support an owner with investment in two CFL clubs.

Asked whether he believed the Renegades will play this season, the Ticat owner answered: "I have no way of knowing is the short answer."

He said the positive news is that the rest of the eight franchises are so strong, the league has several options to consider as possible solutions to the Ottawa problem.

"We have more revenue across the league than we've ever had, so if the league decides we are the ones to pitch in, they suddenly have the resources to do that," he said, adding he is aware there have been expressions of interest from potential investors interested in Ottawa.

"I'm very relaxed on the subject because of the calibre of people that I know we're talking to and because of the number of options the league itself has in dealing with this situation," he added.

The Ticat boss said Wright acknowledged in his teleconference call with the league bosses that he made a mistake in backing Glieberman's bid last May to take over the Renegades.

"That's what Tom Wright was doing in his mea culpa when he acknowledged in hindsight that was a mistake. We should have gone through the process a year ago to find the right solution for Ottawa for the next 10 years and not the next 12 months," he said.

Young said if the league has to revert back to eight teams for a season, he sees it as a case of one step backwards to achieve two steps forward.

"I'm absolutely convinced Ottawa has been an under-served market and if we get the right group I think we can put together a plan that Ottawa's success will be every bit as exciting as the success that we've had in Hamilton."

Hamilton Spectator File Photo
Ticat owner Bob Young, left, and B.C. owner David Braley are both likely to play a significant role in the future of the Ottawa franchise.

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I respect what Bob has to say. I'm hoping the Gades play this season with support from the league and line up new owners for next year.

Suspending the team for one year will not work. The dispersal draft will be just as brutal for us as it was in the first place. Unlike how Montreal inherited a Grey Cup Champion Baltimore team.

As a "ROUGH RIDER" fan, I say, and I can't believe I'm saying this, We deserve better than this, so just Let It Die.

Die for good supersmith?

I say supend the team until they can find good owners, that way the loses this season will not be so high, then maybe award Ottawa the Grey Cup again in ?2009? to give them another shot in the arm and to help the new owners out.

Young rocks!

and SS, have faith!

I think supersmith has a point, in that suspending the team would mean that they would lose all their players, and be forced to start fresh next year. That would be tough on players and tough on fans. But better that than to scrap the team forever.

To say that "nothing" is better than what Ottawa has, supersmith, is a slap in the face to everyone who supports the league. Having a CFL team is a privilege, not a right. There are people in parts of Canada who have never had a chance to attend a CFL game, who would love to have the Renegades (or the Rough Riders) and the connection it would provide them to the rest of the country. The sense of entitlement of many fans in Ottawa, that somehow you are "owed" something by the rest of the league, is not winning people over to your way of thinking.

I also think that right now many people in Ottawa see the Stanley Cup dancing in their eyes and anything else sporting wise is way, way down the list, including the Renegades. And I suppose this is somewhat understandable with the team the Sens currently have.
But come the summer and fall, when it is great to be at a football game outdoors, maybe more people will think about CFL football, which as far as I'm concerned is a better value entertainment wise than hockey or baseball, hands down.

He doesnt believe Ottawa fans would support an owner with investment in 2 clubs??? :shock:

YES, WE WOULD!!!!!!!!!!!

I'd support Bob if he bought the Gades!!! He can't control how the teams play and the salary cap is fixed. I really can't see any conflict of interest. Now for the die hard cynics, well I'm sure they would have a thing or two to say. But why listen to them? They cheer for the No Fun League anyway...

...Young said if the league had to revert back to eight teams for a season, he sees it as a case of one step backwards to achieve two steps forward.

..Young has put the whole thing into perspective.....with that statement...Time has to be given to get the Rens. into a postion to get back on solid ground....to build a healthy franchise....rushing to put another owner in place could result in the same circus that just left town....It'll take time and some in-depth decision making to get this franchise back to where it belongs...it can get done.. :!:

Yes pap, it can be done. I am someone who is learning that if Bob Young says there is a market for CFL football in Ottawa, then I would tend to believe him. Has he made some mistakes himself in Hamilton? Yes, and by his own admittance, last year being one in terms of overall team. But this guy is big time, he learns quickly, you don't get to be close to a billionaire without learning quickly.

i wouldnt see a problem with two teams being owner by bob young...maybe all CFL fans should e-mail him and let him know we'd support his purchase of the team.

Wow, Bob considering buying a second team, I have no problem with that. If a multi millionaire would be willing to do so he obviously believes he can make it a go in Ottawa. In fact, one can argue how the Hamilton situation was alot worse then Ottawa is currently. And Bob turned it around completely.

Well, I don't like the idea of one guy owning two teams ... seems too much like a conflict of interest, and it seems to leave the door way too wide open for the ever-present "bush league" snipes. I don't think Young owning two franchises is a good idea ... but I am encouraged to hear him say that they are talking to high-calibre candidates - that implies that there are good buyers out there!

I hope they fold. And soon.
I don't want the Riders propping up another team in the east with a much larger population base.
This is two kicks at the can for Ottawa. The blames rests with all the fans who didn't show up. Complain about the owners all you want, but come out and support the team!

Let's start talking about the dispersal draft, because Ottawa is toast.

Come out and support the team — blah, blah, blah.

It’s a lot more complex than that and for those who can’t see it, that is unfortunate.

One thing people need to remmeber is that CFL is a community.

I can guarantee you that same people advocating Gades being put out of their misery for selfish reasons of their team would be singing different tune if it were their team was involved.

I can also guarantee you that Gades fans w/b as willing to prop up as you phrased it if Riders or Bombers were in same boat.

Well, let's not gloss over the reality that it IS about supporting the team. I'll concede that bad management is the reason the team is failing, and that support in Ottawa is as strong or stronger than it would be in any other city faced with the same adversity. But if they were averaging 28000 a game, and were collapsing due to mismanagement, our discussion wouldn't be a question of DO we save the team, but HOW do we save the team. We wouldn't be saying "Where do we find an owner?", but "Which of these potential owners is the best one?"

As for Bob Young, I understand that a lot of Ottawa fans would accept him as the Renegades owner, because they know what he is capable of achieving. But think about it, how would you feel to see your team's owner on the sidelines during a Ticat/Renegades game, with a Ticat hat on, cheering against your team?

And if he owned both teams, any trade between the two clubs will be scrutinized not only by the league, but by the media and the fans; and one side or the other will cry foul.

"What do you mean Ottawa traded Jason Armstead and Korey Banks to Hamilton for a fourth-round draft pick?" :mad:

im sure bob young wouldnt allow such trades, since he wouldnt invest all the money into ottawa just to run them into the ground and lose all his invested money....makes no sence.....his goal would be to re-cuild the team, not strip it down to get 1 or 2 players...he coulda got those 1 or 2 players alot cheeper without buying the gades!

and solution to your first comment....games between the 2 teams, he doesnt have to be wearing clothing of either team, or dont attend those games live to avoid any misconceptions.

I wouldn't have a problem with Bob Young owning both teams. He has stated that he doesn't get envolved in the football side of things, so the GM's of both teams would be making their own decisions as if they had separate owners.
Bob's involvement would only be in the business side of things.

If Bob Young wasn't wearing his Ticat hat, no one would recognize him. :smiley:

And obviously I was exaggerating on the trade I mentioned. I don't think the league would even allow that. But my point is that in any trades between the two teams, people are going to be suspicious. And even if it favours the Ticats slightly, in anyone's eyes, a lot of people will scream bloody murder...and Ottawa fans will claim continued mismanagement is forcing them to withdraw their support.

People can say it's not true...but a year ago there were people who told me I was wrong for being nervous about the return of the Gliebermen.