Sunday, January 30, 2011

McGuinty Saves the Day!

So the province has coughed up an extra $22.5 million for the Ivor Wynne rebuilding, according to this National Post article by Mark Masters. With Hamilton Mountain being a critical seat for the Liberals in October's election, Dalton was probably looking for something to help out MPP Sophia Aggelonitis. Interesting also that the province thinks the Cats should only miss season while Ivor Wynne is rebuilt. Certainly a string of early away games, plus maybe a home game in Moncton would free up a July for an extra month of building.

Hopefully now the stadium issue will be relatively settled and the Ticats can go back to trying to rebuild their brand.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CFL Schedule Out Next Week?

There's an article in the Globe about when exactly BC Place will reopen and allow the Lions play again. The Grey Cup will be there this year, but regular season Lions games beyond a couple at the end seem in doubt.

However, was is interesting is that the article mentions the 2011 CFL schedule could be out next week. The big question for Hamilton is who has the home game this year in Moncton? My guess is still Toronto, because let's face it, they will probably still be weak this year ticket-wise and Hamilton could really use a Moncton game during the seasons that Ivor Wynne is rebuilt (assuming that happens). Having a Moncton game during a non-rebuild year would probably be a good thing for profits. The Cats get rid of their weakest draw of the year (BC?) and cram their group sales into the other eight home games (or more likely seven, because the Labour Day game has few group sales). Merchandise sales might be lost, although maybe the league compensates them as part of the overall package.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Will the Province Help Out the Stadium?

Mayor Bob Bratina seems to think so, according to this Spec article. Certainly a possibility. One small issue I have with the narrative in the article is the contention the Cats are putting in nothing to the stadium. The stadium surcharge plus naming rights is something, although the city would obviously prefer something upfront.

I'm somewhat concerned about the two seasons the Cats will apparently miss while Ivor Wynne is rebuilt. I was hoping that a combination of a bunch of road games at the start of one season, plus maybe a home game or maybe two in Moncton would help bring it down to a single season.

Monday, January 24, 2011

More Ticats Stadium Stuff, Harper Cash?

Here's a National Post article from Mark Masters about today's council meeting. Certainly a lot of coverage on this issue from Masters of late, although if you're the CFL guy for the Post there's not a lot to do in January is there? West Harbour looks totally dead and Infrastructure Ontario overbudgets everything. An agency named Infrastructure Ontario doesn't leave me with a lot of confidence.

Weirdly convenient timing on a Globe and Mail article about the federal Conservatives having an extra billion lying around for funding stadiums. What's that, Hamilton has a stadium that needs funding? Hamilton has seats in play in the next federal election (and provincially too). Personally if Regina and Quebec got money and Hamilton didn't, I'd be up in arms, but if Hamilton gets a share then I'm quite willing to toss out my libertarian principles.

I'm actually getting tired of having to make so many posts in January. It just isn't right. There should be a smattering of weak posts, including my yearly one demanding that TSN broadcasts a preseason game (although I heard a rumour that a Rider one might actually got broadcast, so maybe my griping has paid off). Hopefully next year goes back to normal.

Ticats Stadium Increased Costs

This Spec article describes what some of the extra costs are for the stadium. Some of the Ticats demands seem a bit crazy. Getting the city to build office space at the stadium to move jobs from the downtown Jarvis Street office seems like a nonstarter from the city's point of view. I'm still a bit mystified by some of the other costs being so high. Apart from renovating the North side stands, how is rebuilding 15,000 seats for the South side so expensive? How much would have a 25,000 West Harbour stadium have cost?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ivor Wynne Funding Gap?

The National Post has an article that there is an a funding gap for Ivor Wynne: "The plan to build a new facility where Ivor Wynne Stadium is currently located will cost between $156.5-million to $174.5-million, according to a report by Hamilton city staff. The report indicates the project is facing a funding gap of between $36.5-million to $54.5-million."

This is a bit mystifying to be. Other sites requiring extra money wasn't a surprise, however Ivor Wynne doesn't need any new infrastructure. The roads, sewers, public transit etc. are already in place. Also with regards to the stadium itself, it seems that only cosmetic improvements will be made to the North side stands, so what's new is the 15,000 seat South side part, which isn't a lot of seats and why the costs would be so high for this when other jurisdictions have built 15,000 to 20,000 seat stadiums for reasonable costs is strange. I haven't seen the report, but it seems like interesting reading. Perhaps there was no possible way a stadium can be built for a reasonable amount of money. Also if it costs so much for Ivor Wynne, how much extra would it have cost at the West Harbour.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


A strange story in the Spec about Ivor Wynne city employees getting fired for amongst other things, selling their own beer on game days (where did you have to go for that in that stadium) and razors. Did that eat into Ticat beer sales?

Drew Edwards also has basically a hagiography of Scott Mitchell in the Spec. Obviously someone has to look out for the team's interests, but I personally am not a big fan.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fords Want NFL in Toronto

There's an article in the Toronto Star about Toronto mayor Rob Ford and his councillor brother hoping for an NFL team for Toronto. The article mentions Ted Rogers wanting an NFL franchise and unfortunately dying before it happened. The article also mentions Paul Godfrey who has also long desired an NFL franchise for Toronto. Which got me thinking, what are the odds that Godfrey dies before Toronto is awarded an NFL franchise? Sadly his wikipedia entry doesn't give his age, although apparently he was elected an alderman in 1964 so is obviously pretty crotchety.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ivor Wynne Name Change?

The Spec has a story where the sons of Ivor Wynne are interviewed about a possible name change for the rebuilt stadium. It is a bit sad that the name would be lost, but the revenue from naming rights are probably essential for a new stadium to succeed.

What I'm interested in is how much naming rights for Ivor Wynne could be worth. One benefit of Confederation Park and to a lesser extent the CP Rail site was the highway visibility of the stadium, which would be a component of the value of the naming rights. This value would be pretty minimal for Ivor Wynne with cars going by Cannon.

However the value of naming rights isn't just cars driving by, it is also the constant mention of the stadium on the TSN broadcasts, television and radio sports reports and print media on a national basis. Hosting two Grey Cups within the next eight years would also drive up these mentions. How much is that worth versus the highway visibility amount? These media mentions would be worth a lot more to a Canada wide company like Tim Horton's or a financial institution than a local company or one primarily based in Ontario. With CFL games now on the NFL network there's even some media mentions in the US. The naming rights to BMO Field, home of Toronto FC were sold for $27 million over 10 years. Obviously there's a lot of visibility on the Gardner Expressway from cars, but Toronto FC games currently receive miniscule television ratings compared to CFL games and usually the games involve an American opponent. For Scotiabank Place, the arena of the Ottawa Senators, Scotiabank paid $21 million over 15 years. Is $10 million over 10 years possible for a rebuilt stadium? Hard to say.

One issue with regard to highway visilibilty and Ivor Wynne is that currently there's not much signage for the way to the stadium. A big highway sign at the Red Hill exit on the QEW for the stadium would be useful for people from out of town and for a potential sponsor. More signs are needed in the city as well.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ticats Staying at Ivor Wynne

As a fan who has always liked Ivor Wynne, I'm pretty pumped about the announcement to rebuild the stadium, especially the fact I can still go to the Prince Edward Tavern before or after games. The possibility of hosting a Grey Cup again in Hamilton is also exciting.

There's a lot of questions. I'm hoping that some stores or other commercial activity is included. Ward 3 can use the commercial activity and more choices for shopping. More parking spaces are certainly needed, but I wouldn't want to see a sea of them. Will Bob Young still bother with a soccer franchise?

Hopefully Hostco can be placated to release funding, but considering the organization ultimately answers to their provincial and federal masters I don't see this as a big problem.

Monday, January 10, 2011

When Did the Ticat Paletta Talks Start?

An interesting question is when exactly the talks with Paletta about the Aldershot land for a stadium began. I seem to remember Bob on CHML talking about alternative to West Harbour on CHML and mentioning the Hamilton side of Aldershot. I'm going to search for when that interview took place, but it would seem that initial discussion would have to have occurred before that date.

National Post Live Stadium Chat with Bob Bratina

The National Post is apparently hosting a live chat about the new stadium with Mayor Bob Bratina Tuesday at noon. The mayor is starting to look pretty isolated from council and is only a single vote. Should be interesting nevertheless.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stadium to Cost Burlington $0

The Spec has an article with the consortium behind the Aldershot stadium claiming there will be no cost to the city of Burlington. I'm a bit skeptical, mainly because every Hamilton site proposed ended up with significant extra costs. This does seems like a bit of a Hail Mary, because support in Burlington seemed to be trending against the stadium. It will be interesting to see the amount that the Cats end up contributing.

Apparently Hamilton can still try for a 6000 seat stadium at West Harbour, which would preclude government funding for an Aldershot site. The concern I have about this is what the Ticats would do if the city effectively kiboshed their stadium.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Aldershot Already Stillborn?

Somewhat shockingly, the Aldershot stadium deal is already on thin ice. Crotchety Burlington taxpayers not on board? Who could have predicted that? I suppose my question after this fails, does Ticat president Scott Mitchell resign?