Winnipeg must reap Grey Cup rewards

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The Grey Cup game could not have come to Winnipeg at a better time.

After the struggles of last year's 5-13 season, the Winnipeg Football Club is feeling a great deal of financial stress. The Blue Bombers are not quite as messed up as the Ottawa Renegades ( HAHAHA ), but there is a very good chance, when the club releases its financial statement in April, that the 2005 operating loss could reach as high as $400,000.

After the 2004 season, the Bombers reported an operating loss of $144,590. But thanks to the $219,631 the team produced in off-field fundraising, the club was left with a meagre profit of $75,041 and an accumulated debt of $217,788.

It now appears the accumulated debt will grow significantly. Some members of the community-owned team's Stakeholders' Board (the citizen board of directors, the province and the city) are concerned the club will have to dig into its rainy-day fund to cover the losses.

Meanwhile, with the CFL's salary cap set at $3.8-million and with CEO Lyle Bauer already admitting the team must be close to the cap in order to compete, the pressure is on, not only to sell season tickets and corporate sponsorships, but also to put a more competitive team on the field while lobbying to get a new stadium constructed before the old one falls down.

The Bombers made a "solid" contract offer to Montreal Alouettes non-import safety Richard Karikari this week. However, just two days after losing a shot at return-specialist Bashir Levingston, who decided to "re-work" his contract and return to the Toronto Argonauts, GM Brendan Taman admitted he was not likely to get Karikari, either.

"Karikari will end up back in Montreal, I believe," Taman said from the NFL Europe League camp in Tampa on Friday morning. "That's the vibe I'm getting. I doubt we'll land him."

In the meantime, financial pressures have more than a few members of the Stakeholders' Board on edge. Last summer, Winnipeg's deputy mayor, Gord Steeves, voiced his concern over the Bombers' finances and the city has said repeatedly it does not have the money to cover the team's losses.

Any profits from the Grey Cup will be vital to the Bombers' future. In fact, a Grey Cup game has never been more important to any CFL franchise than it will be to the Winnipeg Football Club in 2006.

.......interesting read dg, thanks for finding it.....

If the Bomber's win this years Grey cup game, I would have to agree with Scott Taylor..
The big game would be the most important game, in any CFL franchise's history..
With the new stadium, just around the corner..it would be huge..
But if they don't, it's not the end of the world...
Scott is just blowing smoke out of his arse....

Hank who is paying for the new stadium? The government does not have the money to cover $400,000 for the Bombers who in my opinion would be the main tenant. So where is this money coming from?

I should of wrote in, possibly around the corner...
Yes the Bombers have alot of work to do in finding funds..
But with your type of attitude, nothing would be accomplished..
Positive thinking with positive media hype, well help the cause..

.......private funds more than likely, assembled through a sports conglomerate......with more attractions than just CFL......ie, racehorses, golf, etc.......

.....the Aspers are waiting in the wings....following every move this franchise makes.....IF and a big IF....they ever get involved. financially...it would be huge....we'll see... :?:

Here are the players:

Crossroads for Blue

Bombers study new stadium
By KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

The construction of a 30,000-seat, expandable, partially covered football stadium will be the focus of a feasibility study in Winnipeg. (Number Ten Architectural Group)
The three wise men came bearing gifts of a new football stadium, a hotel and a water park.

And now, the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers are only a feasibility study away from having a brand new home.

The construction of a 30,000-seat, expandable, partially covered football stadium -- along with a hotel and water park -- on the western edge of Winnipeg will be the focus of a feasibility study that will be conducted over the next six months.

Canad Inns president and CEO Leo Ledohowski, Red River Exhibition Association CEO Paul Robson and Winnipeg Football Club board of directors chairman Gene Dunn unveiled the plans of grandeur at a news conference yesterday.

When the study is complete, the Bombers, who only five short years ago were on the brink of extinction due to economic woes, will know whether they will be a part of a new $165-million "destination complex" on the Red River Exhibition Grounds, or if they will simply renovate 51-year-old Canad Inns Stadium, their current home.

"This is an important day in our history," Dunn said. "This initiative will provide our club with a snapshot of what could be in our future."

The initial plans for the stadium include a roof that would cover all of the upper-deck seats and some of the lower-bowl ones, with open space at the south end of the facility for a Canad Inns hotel that would overlook the field.

You can bet the Bombers will push for an enclosed structure, but if that doesn't happen, one source at yesterday's event said the idea of heated seats has been bandied about.

"We would prefer to have a covered facility for our climate, and for the comfort of our fans," Dunn said. "It would also enable us to hold other events in the off months."

Bombers placekicker Troy Westwood isn't sure what he would feel if the project went ahead.

"I would have mixed emotions on it, just because I grew up in Winnipeg and ever since I was five years old have been attending Bomber games in that stadium," the 13-year veteran said yesterday from Toronto.

"I like tradition, old stadiums and things like that, but I completely understand, financially, why the club would want to explore that possibility.

"There's no question that a great deal of Winnipeg Stadium is old and not as fan friendly as a new stadium would be."

The current condition of Canad Inns Stadium is a big reason why fans could be attending Bomber games in a new stadium as early as 2008. The seats are cramped, the parking lot is crumbling, the washrooms are aging, the concessions are sub-par and there is even structural work that would need to be done.

Bombers president and CEO Lyle Bauer said renovations to Canad Inns Stadium could cost as much as $20 million.

"We are keeping an open mind," Dunn said. "We know that we can't live in the house we're in forever. It's over 50 years old and there's going to be significant investment required to bring it up to grade.

"Now, are we better off doing that or taking the value of that property and investing it into a new facility? Those are the things that we need to answer."

As for the location of the stadium, Dunn believes Bomber fans won't be put out by its non-central location.

"This is Winnipeg," Dunn said. "You're never too far from anything, and with the perimeter highway system, I think it's more convenient for people to get from A to B."

....very informative PIGSEYE...for those who really follow the league....good one.. :arrow:

Well I really hope this comes through. One thing is for sure the Bomber fans endure very bad weather conditions to see their games. Yes the Aspers would be great for the Bombers and the CFL. Thats hope the study comes out with the right infor to get this going!

.......heated seats?!........look, I'm no specialist in this area, but I've had electricians install heat trace systems to buildings I've built........this stuff is not cheap....and the long term maintenance costs would be astronomical........maybe they were thinking of the Burrito Special method of seat heating..........

It quite apparent how a new stadium is necessary for the long term prosperity of the BB.
As for this years Grey Cup, this is a winfall as in the past teams have made upwards of 3M. So whatever nominal accumulated debt the BB might still have, should be wiped out and with a handy profit. Thats why I don't really understand the reluctance this year in not signing a very good FA like Karikari or Stokes, knowing full well you will have the anyway. At least, make an effort and show your fans you are trying to improve and get to the big show?

Argotom you are talking about Taman the GM that tried to sign a guy for kicking a million dollar field goal!

Speaking of which, isn't his guy coming out to camp this year?

You might be right! I heard he was having lunch with Ronald MacDonald with those large feet he should be able to kick a mean ball as well! You can't have to many kickers at camp!

All I know anyone who can do what he did under all that pressure and for $25,000 per year deserves a shot. Atleast as a "waterboy".

Fluking one out does not mean he can do it consistantly that is the problem! Does he deserve a look! No why waste the time and effort!

....I Have TO AGREE....with RedW......HEATED SEATS.....sounds like a big hydro bill.....I have no trouble with the partial covering....but if you're going to heat the seats... like in your BMW....I would have to go with the bean idea ....and serve a lot of beer and pickled eggs as well....whoa...it better only be partially covered... :?

I never realized the Bombers were on such shaky ground economically. How many seats does Canadainns stadium have? A new venue would certainly bring excitement to fans. I really like the idea of a hotel as part of the complex.

i dont think its a good idea to put a swimming pool or whatever its called
hotel(great)
partial covering(put it full or half either way looks good)
pool(stupid ppl are just going ther to swim other than watch the games)