With one bird in hand, the Blue Bombers are beating the bushes for more.
With the $120 million blueprint for a rebuilt stadium from local businessman David Asper in their pocket, Winnipeg’s board of directors is seeking more options. Towards that end, the Bombers took out ads in two Toronto newspapers asking developers to step forward with plans to revamp Canad Inns Stadium.
“We have one proposal on the table and we want to satisfy ourselves as a board that we’ve looked under every rock before we make a decision,” board chair Ken Hildahl said yesterday. "This is consistent of what we’ve been saying for the last few months that we have a legal responsibility to pursue all of our options.
“We’ve had some developers say, ‘Yeah, I’m interested,’ but until they put pen to paper, I don’t count them as solid prospects. But I think there is some interest out there.”
According to the ads, the Bombers are looking for developers to revamp the current stadium.
“But it doesn’t preclude them from ripping it down and rebuilding it,” Hildahl said.
The priority is to offer more comfortable seats with more corporate boxes, heated washrooms and possibly even elevators.
“We have to do something with the stadium because we need added revenue streams to ensure the long-term viability of the club,” Hildahl said.
The board of directors will make a decision on their options within the next 4-6 weeks.
Asper, a former Bombers governor, is willing to wait because he understands the board’s responsibility, Hildahl added. Accepting Asper’s proposal would also mean the community-operated CFL club would become privately owned, another aspect the board will seriously discuss.
“But it’s exciting that people are talking about building a new stadium,” Hildahl said. “Once you put something in front of people, they get into it. But who knows? We could be talking about this for a long time.”