What level of net income should the taxpayers of Hamilton assist the Ticat organization to realize? What level of investment should we provide to assist the Ticat organization to realize this level of net income?
By Graham Crawford
Published August 27, 2010
Here are 12 common sense points for Council to consider as they debate how to invest taxpayer dollars to get the Hamilton Tiger-Cat organization back to the negotiating table.
1. The City of Hamilton, along with its partners the Provincial and Federal Governments, is poised to invest nearly $120 million in a stadium.
2. The site of this stadium has been voted on seven times by City Council. Each time, Councillors have voted to locate the stadium in the West Harbour.
3. Although the Tiger Cats organization has not provided any financial statements to the taxpayers of Hamilton, they have insisted they will lose $7 million if they play in the West Harbour.
4. Based on an assessment of published numbers by the most profitable CFL franchise in the country, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Hamilton Tiger Cat organization generates approximately $15-17 million in gross revenue. The Regina Roughrider's numbers are published in a report created by the accounting/consulting firm KPMG.
5. As a point of comparison, there are law firms in Hamilton that generate more than $15 million in gross billings, not to mention dozens of other companies across the city from car dealerships, to manufacturers, to service providers.
Of course, there are organizations in Hamilton that generate considerably more in gross revenues. These businesses operate 365 days a year. Most of their employees live in the City of Hamilton 365 days a year, frequenting local businesses the same number of days each year.
6. The Ticats are asking the citizens of Hamilton to invest $120 million in tax dollars to build a stadium in a location that will ensure they are profitable. The Ticat organization has provided no business case numbers to support this claim.
Again, the Roughriders have provided such numbers. Based on gross revenues in 2007 of $18,267,912, the organization generated a net income of $13,322,887.
What level of net income should the taxpayers of Hamilton assist the Ticat organization to realize? What level of investment should we provide to assist the Ticat organization to realize this level of net income?
7. Canada Bread will be investing over $100 million of their own money to build the new bread plant in Hamilton. In addition, they will be providing full time employment to a minimum of 300 workers who will be paid an average of $47,000 for a total annual compensation of $14,100,000.
Although some concessions were offered to Canada Bread to attract their business to Hamilton, the citizens of Hamilton were not required to build the plant for Canada Bread in return for annual rent that will represent a return on investment of 3%, as the Ticat organization has offered ($3 million per year for 100% of revenues generated).
8. The Roughriders have sold the naming rights to the exterior of the stadium and turf signage for a total of $3,750,000 over a ten-year period. Additional total annual sponsorship and signage revenue is stated as $3,414,146.
9. The Roughriders generated revenue from the sale of merchandise at the stadium only of $3,685,173.
10. The Roughriders earned $247,543 related to two Rolling Stone concerts after they paid a commission payment to the City of Regina of $101,292.
11. The City of Regina has a current population of 180,000.
12. No other private sector business in Hamilton has had 100% of their facility (office tower, manufacturing facility, warehouse, etc.) built for them using taxpayer money. No other private sector business in Hamilton has mandated where taxpayers will be permitted to spend their own money building a facility for this business.
Note: All numbers related to the Saskatchewan Roughriders business operations are taken from the KPMG Report, Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan - Analysis of a Possible Business Relationship between the Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club Inc. and a New Multi-Purpose Entertainment Facility in Regina.
By Simmons (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 08:27:57
So, to sum up SoWhat?'s comment a little more succinctly:
And that's what it always comes down to with sports owners and government. We see it all the time in the U.S. The Penguins were prepared to relocate if the state didn't give them what they wanted. In the end, the majority of taxpayers get hosed while a smaller percentage of fans are happy.
I just never thought we'd do it in Hamilton. Other Canadian cities (Quebec, Winnipeg, Montreal) have seen their teams move because local/provincial governments did not cave into owner demands. There's sadness but it's never the end if the world. The Ticats are a vital and important business for the city but NO business should ever receive royal treatment at the expense of the city.
By Kiely (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 08:30:32
They can't force the city to build in any location. But they can exercise their right as a tenant to move. If this happens, the city will get zippo...get it? Nada. Rien. Niente. Diddly. - SoWhat
Wrong, the city will save millions of dollars. That is not nothing.
By z jones (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 08:31:10
But they can exercise their right as a tenant to move.
Where are they going to go? What other city is going to build them a $120 million stadium wherever they want it and let them play there and collect all the money?
Seriously, WHERE ARE THE TICATS GOING TO GO?
We're offering to build them a stadium and put it in a great location. They say it won't work but they still refuse to prove it by showing us their business study. What do the Ticat supporters have to say about that?
Bob Young says he'd lose $7 million a year at the West Harbour, but that would mean his annual costs there would be $22 million and NO ONE believes that.
We're not demonizing the Ticats, we're stating indisputable facts about the Ticats that unfortunately make the Ticats look pretty bad.
Comment edited by z jones on 2010-08-27 07:31:26
By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 27, 2010 at 08:38:13
If the ticats leave Hamiton (which by the way they won't), it will be their own doing.
Nobody's fault but theirs.
Excellent article, Graham. It should be required reading for all of City Council, as well as those who, in their rabid support of the Tiger-Cats, seem willing to turn over the keys of the City to Bob Young.
Comment edited by lorne on 2010-08-27 07:54:50
By Brandon (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 08:59:40
If Young would provide solid statements and numbers instead of just making claims, he might have a chance at garnering some support. Until then he's just like the sheriff in Blazing Saddles. Go ahead and shoot, Hamilton won't collapse. We'll be seriously annoyed when you come back next year with hat in hand to ask for more concessions if we lose the WH stadium because of you though.
Excellent report Graham!
The thing to bear in mind is that a $15 million dollar business is causing a $1 billion dollar corporation to get all emotional and irrational over the threatened departure of that relatively small business.
Wonder if our Councillors would do the same if say, Gowlings law firm was to threaten to shut their Hamilton office? They may not be part of our cultural fabric like the Ti-Cats, but they're very likely paying considerably more to the City of Hamilton directly through their taxes than the Ti-Cats. Would we build a $120 million dollar office tower for them and give them the keys to the entire office tower for a pittance in rent? Would we let them rent the rest of the building so they could make more money? Would we forgo property taxes on the office tower we paid to build for them?
Look, I'm a heritage guy, so I understand and believe deeply in the value of memory and emotion and culture. I just don't want that perceived value to cause significant financial decisions by our Councillors to be based solely on emotion. So much for Council's favourite word - prudent. They use it. They don't understand its meaning.
Instead, we wring our hands and are willing to make an anti-city building decision to keep an organization that likely directly employs about 70-90 seasonal employees. Like I say, if you can't tell a joke, be one!
By James (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 09:17:45
Let them go. We'd be better off without them.
Anyone who thinks we should cave to Bob Young's insane demands obviously doesn't give two hoots about anything of real import. This is a fantastic article. I want someone to print these out and go canvassing!
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 09:18:04
The Roughriders' books and Graham Crawford's analysis also bring Bob Young's oft-repeated claim that he's invested $30 million into the Tiger-Cats into serious doubt. I've always questioned that intuitively but now I'm really curious.
By arienc (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 09:19:19
It would be cheaper at this point for the city to offer Bob Young $30 million to buy the Ti-Cats from him, than to build a stadium at the East Mountain or Aberdeen & Longwood (and have to pay $30 million to build a parking lot).
Of course I think Bob Young would rather keep the threat of moving the team over the city's head than to cut his losses and run. Throughout this entire stadium debacle, he has not come across as the honest caretaker he wishes to be portrayed as, he comes across as a bully and a sadist.
Comment edited by arienc on 2010-08-27 08:19:37
By arienc (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 09:24:22
If the city does suddenly decide to buy the Cats, I'd be glad to buy shares in the team that has provided so many great memories. Hopefully others would be willing to join in.
By brian (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 09:25:14
The riders made a profit of 3.1 million for 2009....i hope you didnt mean 13 million. TSN "The Roughriders announced a record profit of $3.1 million for 2009 at their annual general meeting Saturday. The franchise also exceeded the $30-million plateau in total gross revenue. "Amazingly, the Riders sold $7.1 million in merchandise last season, an increase of nine per cent from 2008. The merchanise sales is a big part of that profit they sell in one game as much as Hamilton does in all their games. Here is Winnipegs fiancial statement breakdown in % for Revenue
2009 Revenue Breakdown (%) Sponsorship 26% , Season Tickets 23% , Other 16%, Game day 14%, CFL 13%, Concessions 7%, Merchandise 1%
They only gain 1% of revenue from merchandise..i bet Hamilton isnt much better..just constrast that to football mad Saskatchewan.
..All this doesnt matter anymore because the Harbor location is dead even if we want it. The will only fund for a 5-7 thousand seat stadium (without the ticats being there)..and nobody will go with that when we have Mcmaster already. If they don't pick an alternate site and quick..its over the Pan Am stadium is finished.
By brian (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 09:27:20
Winnipeg 2009..this is Winnipeg financial statement number
Total game revenue $5.1 mill CFL Revenue $1.8 mill Football revenue $5.3 mill Stadium Revenue $2.2 mill
Total Corporate Revenue and Other Revenue $9.3 million
Total Operating Revenue $14.47 million
Football Operations $8.6 million Marketing and Admin $3.3 million Stadium Occupancy $2.7 million Other Charges $66 thousand
Totals $14.8 million
Net Income (loss) from operation (- $391 thousand)
There was extra loss for restructuring and a big severance they had to pay of 981 thousand resulting in a net (loss) of -$1,202,004
Take out that stadium occupancy you have a total of around 12 million.for expenses...Hamilton most be in that range or relatively close because Edmontons was in the same range as Winnipeg around that 14.8 million area.
Winnipeg Season Ticket $3.2 million Game Day Revenue $1.8 million Sponsorship $3.8 million CFL revenue $1.8 million
Total $14.4 million
2009 Revenue Breakdown (%) Sponsorship 26% , Season Tickets 23% , Other 16%, Game day 14%, CFL 13%, Concessions 7%, Merchandise 1%
Given all these numbers i had a great big laugh when Bob Young stated he could lose 7 million at the harbor..but anyway
By adrian (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 09:34:08
The comparison between Canada Bread and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats leads me to think that perhaps what we need in Hamilton is...
More bread, fewer circuses!
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 09:36:23
CHML is reporting that Hostco has denied Burlington Pan-Am soccer games at the Kerns Road site because "there's no GO Train service".
from the CHML website "No Pan Am soccer for Burlington. HostCo, the group that is running the Pan Am games, says that city will not host any soccer games and will only be used as a soccer training site.
Seven games were to be played at the corner of Kerns Road and Dundas Street.
A lack of GO Train access was given as the reason"
By arienc (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 09:40:48
realfreeenterpriser...Very interesting. Looks like the strings are being pulled to bully Burlington to come to the table to put the stadium at Aldershot.
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 09:55:07
arienc - that wasn't my take but who knows. Is Hostco sending a message that it would look at an alternative site in Hamilton but only if it has GO Train access?
It would be somewhat hypocrital (not that that's ever happened before) to deny Burlington a site for that reason and then agree to build a Hamilton stadium on the Mountain.
Comment edited by realfreeenterpriser on 2010-08-27 08:55:47
By brian (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 10:00:07
It could be Arienc but like Hamilton's decision it would have to be done very quick and i dont see them changing it now, i think its finished for Burlington. Now that they have stated they will only fund a 5,000-7,000 seat stadium at the harbor that location is dead. Nobody will vote for a stadium that size there and if Hamilton doesnt make a different acceptable site on tuesday our Pan Am stadium is gone. I dont think they are going to delay this any longer obviously. I think trying to spread the Pan Am sites wasnt a good idea and they all should been in Toronto after all. I dont see how they would get a major tenant building a 15,000 seat stadium anywhere to begin with. Why didnt they say they would fund a 25,000 seat stadium..that is what you need to have a "major' tenant there!
By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 27, 2010 at 10:04:30
Dear Hostco: you're obviously more interested in the TiCats opinion of where a stadium should go than ours. Why don't you call them up and see if they want to go buy a site and put the money forward instead of Hamilton?
'cause I think we're done.
By Andrea (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 10:06:49
Thanks for the great information Graham. The analogies using Canada Bread and Gowlings illustrate your point perfectly.
Regarding the viability of the Ticats @ the WH or any other site; I very much stand by my comments in another thread that this is no longer about football. Based on the facts presented at various meetings and in other reports I have read I believe that FOOTBALL could be fiscally viable at the WH location. One can only speculate, as I have never seen a Ticat proposal or business plan, but by 'viability' I highly suspect that Mr. Young is referencing viability of his other business deal with Osmington for a big box/retail/parking lot. If that is the case, I suspect that there are not a lot of alternative locations that would be suitable for his business needs.
Thanks for providing additional and more current numbers than are used in the KPMG Report (2007 numbers).
As for the $13 million, the report suggests this is from stadium operations only, and does not include the costs of running the team. This seems to be in sync with the operating expenses you cite for other teams.
It's worth pointing out that the Regina Roughriders/Mosaic Stadium Corporation also pay into a capital improvements fund fo the stadium, as well as sharing profits with the City of Regina, including profits from concerts and other special events.
The fact that citizens have to try to guess the Ti-Cats business numbers is perhaps the even bigger point. Imagine, guessing about Ti-Cat numbers while you vote on a $120 million investment that's being held up by that organization's recalcitrance to share info.
By Scotsman (anonymous) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 10:34:27
Wouldn't BY's $30m claim that the Tiger-Cats "have invested more than $30 million into this team and community over the course of the past seven years" be a gross figure, ignoring whatever monies he has managed to recoup?
To put it in an entertainment dollars perspective, I wonder how much money a Hess Village nightclub like Sizzle has pumped into the local economy in the last 4 years?
By arienc (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 10:36:39
Brian - Burlington was originally planning to build a 2,000 seat soccer facility with 10,000 temporary seats at Spencer Smith Park (which is right next door to Appleby GO station).
The community nearby rallied against it, and the city caved and settled on the New City Park location near the escarpment.
This was a very poor choice of location, tucked in the far corner of a residential area of the city (basically east Waterdown) with no bus or train access whatsoever. Not an ideal location at all for a high profile event.
The NEC at first reneged, saying the stadium would be disruptive of the escarpment. The city then reduced the temporary seating to 5,000 to bring the NEC on side with it, which brings us to where we are today.
So now it seems HostCo is going to be looking for another place to hold soccer matches. I would expect that yes, HostCo is including GO access as a major factor in this decision, in addition to the legacy aspects. From where I sit, only the Aldershot location or potentially, Confederation Park, seems to fit what both HostCo and the Ti-Cats are looking for today.
However there's no way that the Cats are going to be able to put up the cash if the municipal government and/or a development partner are not stepping forward with in total somewhere near $80 million.
So they figure that Burlington wants to be part of the games, and some councillors in Burlington are looking to get more development in the Aldershot area.
Problem is, Burlington has a much smaller tax base, and council is iup to their ears in complaints from citizens about the misnamaged pier project, the performing arts centre which some see as a luxury, and the general trend in tax rates as the city reaches full build-out of its urban boundary. There's zero appetite from the city to spend the kind of money on a stadium that Hamilton is willing to do.
I think the other aspect is, in Aldershot, the team would still be called the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Many Burlingtonians would be aghast at defining themselves as a suburb of Hamilton - the city has worked hard to forge its identity as a city on its own right.
By Scotsman (anonymous) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 10:37:05
Top essay, BTW. To go by appearances, the Cats brain trust has apparently been running drills without protective headgear. Heartening to see that many of the loyal fans have skipped the Kool-Aid concession.
By brian (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 10:43:31
Just be going on the basis of Edmonton/Winnipeg numbers i cant see Hamilton expenses being much more..could be even less..but it has to be within a million.. So the number i got of 12 million expenses..there is no way he could lose 7 million at any location in the city. If the Ticats average 25,000 per game (which is what they will be at after the labor day game). 25,000 x ave $35 per ticket equals = 875,000 for one game x10 (if you include the pre season game) = 250,000 x35 per ticket or 8.75 million.
8.75 million + 1.8 million (cfl revenue) =10.55 million alone...you would have to add in a few million for sponsorship, concessions, merchandise..maybe 3 million...so that brings it up to 12.55-13.55 million...It is interesting to see Winnipeg getting 26% sponsorship and CFl 13%..thats 40% of revenues..its much higher than i thought since you always hear how the cfl is a gate driven league..maybe not as much as before.
I know im speculating because we dont really know the ticats expenses but for me it only makes sense that it is in the Winnipeg range. Winnipeg lost around 1/2 million operating the stadium as well and the ticats pay a mere 3000 dollars per game rent. Are those Ticat number of tickets sold...all paid in full..or not .??..is this the reason he says he loses so much?. We dont know..i wish we knew the actual numbers. I know they say he put 30 million into the team but that isnt "losses" its including the scoreboard, the sound system other things. Wasnt the scoreboard 3 or 4 million and the sound system a million. If we knew a true accurate amount of losses per year im sure the city can find ways to help and where a stadium should be..but what are the true numbers??
By arienc (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 10:57:10
After re-reading my post it's become very clear.
East Mountain is dead as far as the Ti-Cats (and Hostco) are concerned.
The two sites remaining under consideration are Aldershot and Confederation Park. Anything else, and the Cats will stay silent, and Hostco will pull back to a pithy offer (like the 5,000-7,000 seater mentioned earlier).
From a community-building standpoint are either of these workable?
Aldershot has bike lane access and is starting to see some residential development nearby, but as a low-density community already faces concerns about intensification. The GO station is existing.
Confederation Park is in Hamilton proper, which has a better chance of being able to support the stadium's operating finances. But the GO station is only theoretical (and not yet funded). Would relocating the water park to the West Harbour, and building the stadium where the waterpark is today make sense? (thereby saving some of the green space in the park).
By brian (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:08:12
I dont think there is no way Hamilton city council would vote to have 60 millon dollars spent at a aldershot location for a Pan Am stadium and for the Ticats it isnt going to happen and Burlington doesnt have that 60 million sitting around hoping they might get the cats .My understanding is that aldershot location already has plans anyway. Not only that...any money (taxes etc) would go to Aldershot not Hamilton..its not a part of Hamilton, its not even on the radar. As for Burlington going for another site i dont think its worth the hastle for the amount of games they would get. The only reason hamilton gives a damn about the Pan Am games was to have a new football stadium. Even the finals for Pan Am soccer are going to be played at BMO field..the games are secondary in all this.
By JM (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:10:18
How could anyone think that Confederation Park and Aldershot are "still" under consideration?!?
Comment edited by JM on 2010-08-27 10:10:34
By jason (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:14:25
the most likely sites to be discussed on Tuesday will be EM, Longwood Rd and Lafarge Slag (Burlington St).
Of these 'worse than WH' options, I'd go with Longwood with some provisions related to not turning MIP into a parking lot, and possible land swaps with McMaster at WH. The other two sites are useless.
By brian (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:26:32
Exactly i think some people havent figured out Confederation Park is a PARK and parks weren't build for the purpose of putting football stadiums in them...maybe thats just me i dont know. How about Gage Park its huge you could easily get a 10,000 car parking lot in there. Maybe Yankee stadium and Madison Square garden could go into Central park..they could easily fit them in there. I guess if push comes to shove and they are "forced" to go there, still doesn't make it right. Id rather go with the longwood location but even that would be interesting for traffic when everyone would have to park there and there is only longwood/aberdeen to get out but anyway.
By cityfan (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:37:03
All I can say is that we (the city) have just got a current up to date lesson in how sports owners really operate within their respective cities when they don't get what they want. This is sports buisness 101. The book must be called 'Sports Owners vs City Councils'. I believe the Mayor has read the book and that is why he is sticking to his guns. Not to be pushed around. Most fans won't understand this because we are emotional towards sports teams but it is what it is. Hamilton prioities are not to the Tigercats but to the city books. I have already moved on from this stadium issue myself. Meaning it is in HostCo's hands now. I live in Hamilton and it's not going anywhere but the Ticats are a business they have every right to go. If they want to leave..leave!
Hamilton needs to focus on things that aren't sexy like sports teams right now. Multi sport PanAm games don't come around very often so it IS a great opportunity to get things done at a set date but we need real jobs in this city and infrastucture so the sports teams will come knocking down our doors to spend. It's like what my cousin says 'You become successful and you don't need to find a cute successful women..they will find you!' Hopefull they're successful enough to pay for half the dinner.
By JM (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:43:02
'You become successful and you don't need to find a cute successful women..they will find you!'
That's the greatest analogy haha.... so true!
By arienc (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:44:01
JM...in discussing Aldershot/Confederation Park as the only two options, I'm speaking from what I view to be the perspective of the Pan Am games comittee as well as the Tiger-Cats.
Unfortunately, we must look at this realistically. Bob Young is blind to the potential of the WH and refuses to budge on it. He is content to stay away from negotiations as long as there apears to be a chance that some city might give him the deal he wants.
We know that Hostco needs
a) a public transit component (such as GO train access), and
b) a business plan that includes a major tenant after the Games end.
If the City remains steadfast on West Harbour, or even compromises on a Longwood site or (yuck) the Lafarge one, Hamilton will only receive enough federal/provincial funding for a 5 to 7 thousand seat stadium.
This would guarantee the end of the political career of most members of City Council, and also guarantee the end of the Ti-Cats in Hamilton.
So effectively, Hamilton would get the preliminary games and Parapan games that were originally slated to go to Burlington, and nothing more. I'm not sure that would be an acceptable outcome for the city.
And in that case we'd still have Hostco looking for a venue for the bigger games and the Ti-Cats looking for a new home, as Bob Young made it clear from the day he bought the Cats that he'd be moving the team unless a new stadium is built.
By arienc (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:53:25
JM...I think you're right. The city would be able to move forward from losing the Cats and build a better future in the WH with its Future Fund intact. On the other hand, it would not recover from abandoning its commitment to downtown revitalization.
However, would it be able to recover from 4 years of Mayor DiIanni, because if a small stadium is built at WH and the Cats leave, you can bet that's what's going to happen.
And with DiIanni...we come full circle back to abandonment of downtown revitalization.
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:00:11
Who knows, Bob Young may well have painted himself into a corner here.
Accessing the Future Fund for the East Mountain or Confederation Park would be incredibly difficult politically plus they would virtually eliminate any possibility of LRT. Only one is accessible to GO and both would hurt, not help, the downtown. That leaves Longwood/Aberdeen as a possible "compromise". While I personally favour WH for a million reasons, Longwood/Aberdeen would be close to downtown, directly accessible to GO and easily accessible to LRT. While it doesn't appear to be the publicly funded cash-cow that Young was looking for, he might have to accept it to both save face and not be seen as being as intransigent as he has portrayed the City.
You can bet that, in the future, there's going to be a whole lot more scrutiny of just what taxpayers are really putting into keeping the Tiger-Cats afloat (dirt cheap rent and concessions, free police and HSR) Likewise, for Bob Young's alleged but undocumented contribution.
As I said in a much earlier post, build a stadium at the West Harbour, put 15,000 seats on one side and wait. Springing for the seats that Hostco won't fund would be worth the investment.
By arienc (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:04:52
realfreeentrepriser...I don't see Longwood/Aberdeen as being fully accessible to GO.
The existing Lakeshore line would likely have to pull into the Hunter terminal, and then back up to head to the Longwood site. Maybe special trains could run there on game days, but full access would not fit with the existing transit infrastructure.
If GO does extend out to Niagara as Metrolinx has planned, someone going from the GO line to Longwood/Aberdeen would need to transfer to the A-line, then transfer to the B-lne to access the stadium.
By PseudonymousCoward (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:05:43
"Who knows, Bob Young may well have painted himself into a corner here."
The most likely conclusion now is that neither Hamilton nor the Ti-Cats will get anything out of the Pan Am games. I hope it was worth it, Bob.
By PseudonymousCoward (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:10:44
I trust you are joking to play around with people's tax money and wait and see what happens.
You of all people have no business accusing others of wanting "play around with people's tax money".
By highwater (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:13:19
That's quite the business plan there realf. I trust you are joking to play around with people's tax money and wait and see what happens. That will go over real well with tax payers I'm sure.
Suddenly you're all concerned about taxpayers' dollars after your blind support for BY. This is your best concern troll yet!
By z jones (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:13:48
That's quite the business plan there realf.
This from the guy who wants the city to spend an extra $30 million on infrastructure and give up on city building just to make Bob happy. Stay classy.
By JM (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:21:45
"As I said in a much earlier post, build a stadium at the West Harbour, put 15,000 seats on one side and wait."
I think thats the best plan... even with this 5,000-7,500 seat idea. Lay the "foundation" for the stadium, then once the Cats realize they have nowhere else to go complete the stadium with the addition of the rest of the seating. Only problem there is where will the money come from??????
By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:25:27
I'm wondering if any of these sites ever stood a chance with hostco besides the West Harbour Site?
Hostco loved West Harbour, and it was the original planned site, so long as it had an anchor tenant.
Hostco just downzied Burlington's stadium because it was 5 km away from the GO station.
Let's say council had endorsed the East Mountain site and the Ti-cats wanted to play there. Would it be accessible enough for Hostco? It's not on the GO train line...
Aberdeen? Also not on the line, and despite the fact it's "on the highway" it seems to have less surrounding road capacity than the west harbour does in terms of roads going multiple directions to dissipate people quickly. Longwood will empty everyone onto the same few arterial roads, which seems like a recipie for a traffic disaster.
I'm starting to think that hostco is the partner that both the ti-cats and the city of Hamilton should have been paying more attention to.
By demosthenes (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:29:44
After following RTH for the past several months, I finally created an account a few days ago ... I'm feeling the need to say something as this Pan Am Stadium debate is starting to get a bit wearisome, even for a Hamilton native as anxious as the next guy to see my home town on its feet. First, let me be clear that as a long-time east mountain resident who saw Hamilton's best piece of green space torn up for a flood-prone concrete nightmare I am no fan of East Mountain site for this stadium. For a while, I found myself supporting the West Harbour location, but I've finally had enough. I'd like to call attention to Principle #18 listed on this site's "Charter":
"Public mega-projects are almost always a bad idea, costing too much and delivering too little. They demolish neighbourhoods to bolster politicians' egos."
I submit the Pan Am stadium as exhibit A. For once, Andrew Dreschel was right earlier this month in his Spec column (I can't believe I just typed that) when he suggested we walk away from this train-wreck-in-the-making. Whenever I've mentioned this debate to friends and relatives outside the city of Hamilton they've all rolled their eyes and said roughly the same thing: Hamilton is about to fall for the oldest trick in the book "this multi-million dollar stadium built in an economically depressed but predominantly residential area will surely trigger urban renewal!" I seriously doubt it, and I also cringe at the most recent idea of turning Innovation Park lands (an idea that probably would do a lot more for "urban renewal" AND our economy than is given credit) into a money-draining sports stadium.
Walk away, Hamilton. There are bigger fish to fry, and this debate has gone on long enough.
By JM (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:33:56
Speaking of Commonwealth - just imagine how different everything could be today?! Its sad to hear of all the corruption and trouble that Delhi is facing - so much for their bribe to win. Did they follow through on that extra money that they promised for something? I can't remember what it was for... Real shame we didn't win.
We could've blown Toronto out of the park with that! LRT would be on our streets NOW! (i would hope) ...and the stadium would be built... at least "somewhere"!
By arienc (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:39:14
While I've supported WH for a long time, realistically, I know it will be rejected. While I know this suggestion will receive a lot of flak for "paving paradise and putting up a parking lot" and it goes against sound ecological principles, I think Confederation Park will be the only realistic site for a full-size stadium in Hamilton for the following reasons:
1) it's the Ti-cats preferred location, which fufills the anchor tenant requirement and is likely to bring them back to the negotiating table, which is a must. If we want to keep the Cats in Hamilton this is realistically the only choice.
2) it will be on or near to a GO station, fulfilling Hostco's other requirement - which will be easily accessible from downtown. There is also possibility to extend the LRT terminus there.
3) There is potential to remediate WH to bring some kind of water attraction (replacing Wild Waterworks) on that site (particularly if Bob Young comes on board as he did with the EM proposal. This will preserve much of the green space in the park, by building it largely on the footprint of the existing water park.
4) Conservation Hamilton gets out of a money-losing situation.
5) Nearby Waterfront Trail and pedestrian bridge facilitate walking / biking to the stadium.
The drawbacks I see are:
1) Loss of parkland. Not sure how much parking would be needed. Certainly less than EM's 6000 spaces if the GO train is handy, and shuttles can run from Eastgate, etc. Hopefully it could fit largely on the footprint of the water park.
2) A water park might not be as compatible with mixed use in the West Harbour location due to continued usage and noise concerns.
3) No spinoff effect from the stadium on nearby businesses - except for some of the box plazas on Centennial.
By z jones (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:43:20
Walk away, Hamilton. There are bigger fish to fry, and this debate has gone on long enough.
By brian (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 13:41:16
We cant blame Bob Young for everything but im sorry we can certainly blame him for mostly fielding a poor product. His win-loss record speaks for itself (it was at 28% before this year i believe). The very fact a business can put in 10% of the bill and get 100% of the say is quite remarkable..it could never happen in anything but sports its truly bizarre. The CFL has been barely alive in southern ontario the last 20 yrs or so and you would think they would be happy with a stadium funded 90% by the city and goverments (tax payers) no matter where it was. Nope they make a threat to leave Hamilton and never come back. They wanted us to accept a site that could have cost over 80 million more and just be happy about it and shut up. He is a very nice man but if he is worth as much as Hamilton's entire city budget for a year..well sorry i just dont get it.. Maybe the city shouldnt been fixated on the West Harbor but i will still challange anyone who thinks one location should cost 80 million more over another and we should remain silent about it. I got news for everyone no other city in the CFL would contemplate spending a extra 80 million for a stadium...nor would any other city in canada. You dont throw that kinda a money at something just for it to break even. You can build in the middle of lake ontario for all i care but it better not cost millions and millions of dollars more. People mentioned the bread company..could you imagine the uproar if we just handed them 80 million to make a plant here because they didnt like one site over another.
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 13:41:53
arienc - "I don't see Longwood/Aberdeen as being fully accessible to GO".
To clarify, the existing GO line could easily branch over to Longwood/Aberdeen from the current route at Dundurn just south of Main. There's a "wye" there.
I'm one of those people who believes that the City and Go aren't being anywhere near innovative enough when it comes to GO service. The existing GO track into the Hunter Street Station should be utilized for all future Hamilton GO service even when it extends to Niagara by continuing east on the TH&B/CPR line that crosses Main East at Gage and meets the CN just west of Ottawa Street. It should then continue to Niagara on CN.
Why take traffic away from the multi-modal Hunter Street Station that was rebuilt for the purpose. It could easily accomodate LRT with an underground portion all the way west to Queen Street. That's the beauty of Union Station in Toronto train, street car, subway, all in the same spot.
By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 13:43:54
Can we believe anything we hear? Has Hostco really proposed a scaled down soccer stadium for West Harbour? If the past 3 months has shown us anything it's not to believe anything until it comes from a reliable source. I believe Clr. Whitehead was the Specs source. The same councilor who changed his vote 48hrs after he stood up in support of WH. If this is HostCo's decision we shouldn't brush off a 5-7500 seat WH stadium. It seems to me that this would be a perfect size venue for a NASL franchise. With proper planning such a venue could be expanded if need be. City Council has built up some political capital through this whole debate and that power should not be discounted. We have 2 Liberal M.P.P's from Hamilton who stand to be scrutinized for the political interference in this whole affair. To this point in time, the City of Hamilton has repeatedly reaffirmed their commitement to a 15,000-20,000 seat 'Track and Field' stadium on WH lands. This site with direct GO train access was a large part of the winning bid. Any changes from the original plan have come from outside our borders and the forces behind those decisions will be held accountable. I for one will be watching closely in the coming days and weeks to see who will stand up for Hamilton, and who will not.
By Brandon (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 14:02:23
I'm starting to agree with Demosthenes' position.
I see two ways out of it:
1) Either the Cats' provide their business case instead of just rhetoric for not playing at WH or agree to play there, or
2) We get a nice Velodrome and tell the Cats' "Sorry about your luck" when they come asking for public funds for a new stadium. How's the business case work when it's all your money, eh?
By brian (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 14:11:12
Do you mean the one Bob Young has rights to in this city. The team where Bob Young is a co-owner the Carolina RailHawks FC has the 4th worst attendance average at 2,184 per game...the biggest crowd this year after 10 home games is 2,821..with 5 games left. After ten home games they had less the one single Ticat game. The league ave this yr is 4,345.
By Andrea (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 14:14:58
Wouldn't MLS be a better choice? (seriously, I don't follow soccer, so I am asking)
Brian is correct though, as I understand it, Mr. Young owns the rights for NASL in these here parts. :-)
By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 27, 2010 at 14:19:22
We have a beautiful, world-class train station 3 blocks from Bay&Barton. It's being used for high school dances and weddings. These train tracks run right by the site.
If Go station access is really an issue, this is the answer. And otherwise, the James&Hunter site is still the best we're going to do.
By jason (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 14:35:15
Go has already announced a new station at James and Stuart street across the road from LIUNA Station.
This is one of the many things that made the harbour site attractive for a stadium. Young's own fan poll showed close to 50% of them wanting to use GO to access a new stadium if it were an option.
By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 14:59:42
Yes BY has the NAFL rights for Hamilton. Wouldn't a 5-7500 seat venue be reasonably considering the league average is 4345. Edmonton and Ottawa will soon have NASL franchises, while Vancouver and Montreal will forfeit theirs for MLS teams. BY and the Tiger-Cats are playing a game of high stakes poker with our city and HostCo. He should be careful of what he's wishing for. This whole proposition is coming apart before our eyes and we only have one course of action that makes any sense on any level and that is to reaffirm WH. If the Tiger-Cats want a new venue they need to get behind WH, otherwise 'take their ball and go home.'
By cityfan (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 15:14:07
MLS has more TV exposure and is ranked higher quality than NASL but they can still play against each other. Soccer clubs across canada play against each other for the canadian club championships every year to compete in the champion league club championship. The levels are very close hence the nature of the sport. The last time I checked it would cost $40M to bid for an MLS Soccer team. They also required a soccer specific stadium with grass field and a minimum of 20K seats in MLS which is looking for a 20th team after Montreal and Vancouver just joined. Taking into account that we are close to Toronto FC by train, bus and car and that alot of people do love soccer, but no professianl in this area, it is a no brainer to put a team here in Hamilton with many more games to be played for the year than CFL football.
Out of all of this 'should we give the keys to the TiCats nonsense' there is a golden opportunity to bring a franchise for soccr here. If you haven't guessed I am a soccer fan but I do watch CFL football. Soccer as well is an international game that would bring in exhibition games against international clubs. Bob Young knows that and that is why he has bought the rights to NASL but that dosen't mean he is the only person that can bring MLS or USL clubs here. This is a golden opportunity for another investor but we need that stadium to be made. It would help the cause. WH would be the best place for such a stadium but like I said previously this is in the hands of HostCo.
By brian (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 15:28:57
From what i heard only 2 teams in that league are profitable with Montreal 12,273 and Portland 9,590 bumping up the league ave to 4,345. I think with expansion things would improve but Bob Young has the rights to Hamilton right now..if this Ticat thing works out they wont be playing at the West Harbor anyway. Take a guess how long he keeps those rights if he doesnt get the stadium where he wants it..you never know.
By Jeffrey93 (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 15:34:12
Correct me if I'm wrong...but when Bobby said he would lose $7M at the West Harbour location...I'm pretty sure they used a 15,000 seat stadium to crunch the numbers. Which, regardless of location, will happen with a 15,000 seat stadium.
By cityfan (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 15:43:03
I don't dought that is what Mr Young has done. Hence why he won't show his research or his books.
By cityfan (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 15:47:17
As for the rights to NASL under Bob. He may have them only based on him getting a new stadium. You could play NASL out of MAC's Ron Joyce stadium do who knows. The league is expanding and Ottawa is applying for a USL league team for their new stadium in 2013 i guess. USL and NASL are ranked as the same tier 2 league status but the have history and often beat MLS teams hence the nature of the sport.
By Andrea (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 15:49:19
What do you make of this? Katz group is seeking an extension to Dec 31 for the MoA. http://www.thespec.com/news/article/2519...
By cityfan (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 15:58:47
I think Katz has an agenda to make money with Copps as his first prioity. He is staying away from this debate as far as he can between the TiCats and the city. As I have observed with his dealings in Edmonton, he has his own battle going on with multi millions commited to that city stadium proposal. If would be good for Hamilton if he made a go of opporating Copps and the Convention Center. He is crunching numbers and he is a business man like BY but we will see. Plus with inside ears in the NHL 'Old Boys Club' he has a say where they relocate teams (wishful thinking I know but it a better position than Jimmy B had!)
By frank (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 16:04:46
I am still VERY confused as to why the Tiger Cats are being named as the anchor tenant??? From what I see, their tenancy results in a deficit each year as opposed to a profit. Wouldn't no tenant be better?
Comment edited by frank on 2010-08-27 15:06:27
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 19:29:36
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-08-27 18:36:14
By brian (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 20:08:46
The Harbor isnt going to happen..its a dead duck at this point. The MLS would be best but i dont think that will happen, much like hockey i would bet Toronto would block another team in this area and claim territorial rights.
By cityfan (registered) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 21:13:51
MLS isn't run like the Bettman NHL! THey woundn't have a league at all if that was the case. Plus they are in expansion mode not lets find another american city to boost our US TV deal mode.
Comment edited by cityfan on 2010-08-27 20:15:12
By Rebecca Doll (anonymous) | Posted August 28, 2010 at 06:19:57
Excellent piece. Well-written and clear. Thanks for articulating it so well.
By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted August 28, 2010 at 09:35:12
Many thanks for your thoughtful analysis of the Pan Am stadium situation, Mr. Crawford.
Now that the Pan Am stadium saga has reached five minutes to midnight, it is hoped that Hamilton city council carefully considers its options and avoids making any rash, extreme decisions that could hamper the city’s psyche and economy for the next 50 years. The following options are worth consideration by Hamilton city council:
Half a loaf is better than no loaf. The City of Hamilton should accept the Pan Am Host Corporation offer to help build a 7,000 seat soccer stadium at the west harbour. For example, a $45 Million soccer stadium would cost the city about $20 Million. It can be designed to accommodate future expansion when warranted and feasible. This enables the city to cluster the Pan Am events and thereby fast track GO service to the James Street North station by 2015 and to begin to mine the city building benefits it seeks to achieve;
The city needs to continue building its relationship with the Canadian Soccer Association over the next five years with a view to becoming a site for Canadian National Soccer team training and a venue for some of their international matches. Perhaps a club team composed of young free agent Canadian National Soccer players not signed by professional clubs could also be assembled for exhibition matches and/or a franchise in one of the professional soccer leagues.
With a 7,000 seat soccer stadium, the city would have about $25 Million remaining from the $45 Million share of the Future Fund monies that were budgeted for the construction of the original 15,000 seat Pan Am athletics stadium. Perhaps these remaining monies could be reallocated along the following lines:
a) approximately $10 Million from the Future Fund could be used to make the velodrome a permanent structure to strengthen the branding of Hamilton as a Canadian cycling sport centre. It would become the only permanent 250 metre indoor cycling track in Canada and would attract athletes from Canada and the eastern United States for training and competitive events. Another important fact is that AEG manages the velodrome in Los Angeles. Their management skills could start the Hamilton velodrome off on the right foot in 2015 by attracting world class athletes;
b) approximately $5 Million from the Future Fund could be used to acquire staging, sound equipment and on-field seating to enable a conversion of the stadium to a concert venue when needed;
c) the remaining $10 Million from the Future Fund could be allocated toward the repair and/or upgrade Ivor Wynne Stadium for the Tiger-Cats between now and 2015.
There is no perfect solution but there would be something for everybody in this type of proposal without having to sacrifice six or seven of the nine development phases planned for the McMaster Innovation Park at Aberdeen and Longwood Road or using up 100 acres of prime employment lands on the East mountain and the full-time jobs that either of those sites will probably generate over the next 50 years. This approach would also provide a repaired, upgraded 29,600 seat stadium to the Tiger-Cats for the next 10 to 15 years. If Toronto goes on to seek and win the 2024 Summer Olympics (which seems to be why they are hosting the 2015 Pan Am Games), then the Tiger-Cats can take another shot at a new, larger stadium at that time.
This is precisely the kind of creative thinking we need to employee if we are to do something meaningful with our money. I know you're not saying this is the perfect solution, but it's better than anything I've seen stated by the City or by the Ti-Cats, or anybody else for that matter.
I hope our ever-prudent Councillors read your comments. Time to stop pandering and to start innovating.
By brian (registered) | Posted August 28, 2010 at 11:11:13
Cityfan mentioned that the MLS was in expansion mode that is true but im certain the teams have territorial rights. The Ny Cosmos which were a team Pele played for in the 70's is coming back and they had to reclaim territorial rights to have a 2nd team in the NYC area. Im sure Toronto wants the toronto-hamilton area to itself. It doesnt matter if we could support a NHL team or a MLS team as long as we are 45 miles from there its probably not going to happen.
By Andrea (registered) | Posted August 28, 2010 at 12:23:14
Seeing as the Ticats are back at the table , one can only assume that the WH is completely off the table. http://www.900chml.com/Channels/Reg/News... I am reluctant to comment, because information is changing every few hours.
By TheLastStraw (anonymous) | Posted August 28, 2010 at 13:40:21
I’m impressed with RenaissanceWatcher’s suggestions...good solutions to a difficult problem. This looks like a serious contender for the "next best" options.
By Get ready to pay more (anonymous) | Posted August 28, 2010 at 13:45:45
Stadium that keeps TiCats in Hamilton + West Harbour projects/cleanup + Higher taxes = What happens next.
By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted August 28, 2010 at 13:59:11
Whiteheads CHML interview brings up an interesting scenario for City Council. If it takes 11 of 16 votes to put Confedration Park back in play. Wouldn't it take the same number to remove the West Harbour?
Tuesdays emergency meeting will be full of fireworks. Unless the City and Tiger-Cats come forward with some sort of concensus moving forward on a mutually workable site this meeting achieves nothing.
By Chris Angel (registered) | Posted August 28, 2010 at 15:01:51
This isn't about whether anyone likes pro sports or the incentives used to attract and or retain them. It is about a stadium. This stadium where ever it is built will be built with the support and some funding from the Ti-Cats. A stadium will not be built anywhere in Hamilton without this arrangement. A lesser venue perhaps but not a stadium. If you want a stadium work; with the Ti-Cats if you don't want a stadium support WH with no additional parking or transportation improvements satisfactory to their owner.
By brian (registered) | Posted August 28, 2010 at 15:16:55
Good point..what is the number to take the West Harbor off. I agree with Andrea if they really are having meetings..the West Harbor must be off the table and they will vote it off. I also agree if the cats get what they want there is going to be some tax increase. Maybe if the West Harbor is officially gone tuesday and the city, cats are seriously talking they might be granted yet another extension. As long as the East Mountain is dead than im ok with it.
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted August 29, 2010 at 08:55:47
Chris Angel said - "This isn't about whether anyone likes pro sports or the incentives used to attract and or retain them. It is about a stadium. This stadium where ever it is built will be built with the support and some funding from the Ti-Cats. A stadium will not be built anywhere in Hamilton without this arrangement. A lesser venue perhaps but not a stadium. If you want a stadium work; with the Ti-Cats if you don't want a stadium support WH with no additional parking or transportation improvements satisfactory to their owner."
How about changing a few words -
This isn't about whether anyone likes pro sports or the incentives used to attract and or retain them. It is about a stadium. This stadium where ever it is built will be built with the support and over 90% of funding from taxpayers. A stadium will not be built anywhere in Hamilton without this arrangement. A lesser venue perhaps but not a stadium. If you want a stadium work with the taxpayers if you don't want a stadium support a stadium that is innaccessable to GO, kills LRT and sucks more people out of downtown.
By cityfan (registered) | Posted August 29, 2010 at 10:22:33
Brian said, 'Im sure Toronto wants the toronto-hamilton area to itself. It doesnt matter if we could support a NHL team or a MLS team as long as we are 45 miles from there its probably not going to happen.' For the most part I cannot disagree with him.
MLSE owns TFC and we all know about how they operate. It has become clear that they own all the league rights that make money (NHL, NBA, MLS) but they have this business sense that they need to control the market here as well and not grow the sport and create competition so more people will get involved and go to more games. It's disgusting to be near that kind of business attitude and monopoly that actually hurts other regions from taking part to create a fan base. Hence to business minds of billionairs. MLS will have to clarify it stance on this but you have a point Brian. A very good point.
We can stil have a NASL team if someone else bids for one because BY can only holds the rights if he has a stadium to play in. Looks like he is leaving by the looks of it. But like Andrea says everything is changing by the hour!
Comment edited by cityfan on 2010-08-29 09:27:29
By brian (registered) | Posted August 29, 2010 at 12:32:46
It also holds true for concerts not just sports teams. Its a fact that if a concert is in Toronto you wont generally see the same concert here that weekend. Im not entirely sure the period of time but it could be a week, month whatever but most big name acts that play there can't play within a certain distance of Toronto around the same time frame. Im sure Toronto would sell out anyway but as long as there is a chance a few thousand would go here instead..we get the shaft. Toronto FC would hate the fact if Hamilton got a team and became really popular just as the Leafs would for hockey.
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