While much of the community is breathing a sigh of relief that the Ticats and the City are again talking, no one should celebrate yet, because we cannot be sure that the parties truly understand the consequences of their decisions over the last number of
By Keanin Loomis
Published September 09, 2010
As a relative newcomer to this city, I've been rooting for Hamilton to succeed - not only because it's the type of city to root for, but because it is where I've recently decided to raise my family. The Pan Am Games promise to bring great things to this city, but with the most recent decision to study the Longwood and Aberdeen site, I am left only with disappointment.
I'm disappointed that the vision of a stadium sitting on the shores of the West Harbour will never be realized. I'm most disappointed, however, at how alarmingly and dispiritingly this narrative has unfolded. I'm not at all confident that Bob Young and Council are capable of reaching an agreement that will bring even a modest return on a very significant taxpayer investment.
I supported a stadium at the West Harbour because it represented a fresh start for an area that, due to its proximity to water, is one of the city's greatest assets. That formula has worked time and again in many North American cities.
Thus, no one who supported the West Harbour, especially our political leaders, needs to apologize for believing that it would help transform this city. It's just that some people lack imagination.
The East Mountain was a travesty from the very start, an antiquated notion and a blatant cash grab that produced a refreshingly robust reflex in this city. It worked for narrower interests than civic-minded rooters of a Hamilton renaissance would like, failing the smell test, in part, due to a lack of transparency.
Of course the Ticats need to be able to pay the bills - they just have an obligation to open up their books when they demand so much taxpayer money for a proposition that does nothing for the city except maintain a beloved icon.
The positive development in this saga is that it energized the community and brought city-building issues to the forefront. A strong movement advocating progressive urban initiatives represents a beacon of hope to young professionals who see revitalization of this city's core as a precondition to settlement.
Knowing full well that powerful interests invested in the status quo still lurk in this city, this movement's work is not nearly done as we seek to finally get back to dreaming about a future Hamilton that is worthy of both its proud history and its unbounded potential.
In Longwood and Aberdeen, we now seem to have a compromise on the table, but no one knows quite what to think because the devil remains in the details. To a community that just wants this whole saga laid to rest, the site may make sense not only because it satisfies the Ticats, and thus Hostco, but also because it does so much more for downtown than the East Mountain ever did.
The problem is that the site hasn't been subjected to logistical scrutiny and there is the pesky little fact that we've already pinned our hopes on that area being a jobs generator.
While no politician wants to be associated with the Council That Lost the Ticats, it would be more damaging, though unfortunately less newsworthy, to be the Council that loses an innovation district. Especially one that represents one of the brightest spots in this city.
Whether intended or not, in making the decision to explore this new site, Council and Bob Young are stating that locations suitable for refocusing our innovation employment activities are apparently more fungible than locations upon which we can agree to build a stadium.
That's a dangerous, almost careless, assertion considering how much time, equity and hope has been invested at MIP and how quickly it has become the stadium location du mois.
I work at MIP and it is surely on pace to deliver real results for this community, in part due to its proximity to research and talent at McMaster University.
At this early stage in its development, it is certainly possible that the innovation park can be relocated closer to downtown where it might have more of an impact. West harbor definitely would have to be at the top of the list and that's not a bad view to exploit in recruiting young professionals.
However, our leaders are now blithely suggesting a land swap with McMaster and giving short shrift to the many individuals and entities that have invested tremendous capital over many years in MIP under pretenses that have been capriciously altered in a matter of weeks.
This indicates to me that they truly don't understand the complexities in making this entire deal work and that they really haven't thought this through.
Along Hwy 403, Young would have the accessibility and visibility over which he was willing to jeopardize a city's vision and divide a community. That means he now has to make a statement and make amends.
For allowing Young to exercise a veto that no minority partner should possess, City Hall has to step up too. To those of us that see opportunity in Hamilton's future, both parties have to prove that they have a holistic, credible, inspiring and visionary plan to save a fragile but burgeoning employment district, rejuvenate the West Harbour and reinvigorate our core.
Anything less would be a waste of 60 million Future Fund dollars.
While much of the community is breathing a sigh of relief that the Ticats and the City are again talking, no one should celebrate yet, because we cannot be sure that the parties truly understand the consequences of their decisions over the last number of months.
If I have no job and the city's future no longer inspires, I have no reason to live here.
This article is also published as an op-ed in today's Hamilton Spectator.
By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 10:26:46
Why didn't MIP locate downtown? It's okay for MIP to be on Longwood but not okay for a stadium to be there? As I understood the reasons given why McMaster wanted MIP on Longwood were the same reasons why Mr Young wants/prefers the stadium there -- accessibility, available land, exposure to the 403 and PARKING!!!!
Comment edited by TreyS on 2010-09-09 09:49:23
By Catspaw (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 10:51:23
I read your balanced article and found it to be a logical argument. But I don't think logic has entered into any of the debate since the beginning. I agree the best place for a stadium is the west harbour for it would clean up and revitalize the area at the same time...money well spent! It has been evident almost from the beginning that the Ticats have tried to capitalize and get the location that suits them only, and I find their tactics a kind of blackmail or at least the tail swinging the dog. This city does not rise and fall on them being placated and being here. It is afterall a private a private enterprise and to make a profit, which is fine but not at the continued expense and subsidy of the taxpayer. Prior to the present ownership it lost money and continues to bleed. As purely a business adventure it's a bad investment. Its economic presence is overblown. So it comes down to tradition, and at what price tradition? Even tradition changes over time, though I'm not suggesting we abandon tradition but look at them realistically in light of changing demographics etc. and do some adjustments to our thinking. I think with your new eyes looking in gives a better perspective than the anal vision that seems to be coming from within. At the end of the day the sad truth may be that politics and agendas in one form or another will tend to rule the day over economic realities and the populous.
By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 09, 2010 at 11:16:21
Trey, the 7 phase mip plan has almost no surface parking: http://www.mcmasterinnovationpark.ca/upl...
Not to mention, the payoff for the city as a while from the MIP is FAR greater than that of a stadium... and it's being done without 60 millino future fund dollars.
By krism (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 11:40:20
No one is arguing with you to put the stadium at the West Harbor. You're just saying "Hey, we want to build this place, come and take up a spot" The Ticats have declined. Go ahead and build your WH location then. Really, its not their fault that they feel they can't make money there and for wanting something else. Be realistic, if you're a business owner and a landlord proposes a location that doesn't suit your business model, is it your fault that you don't want to go there? For what is being levied to the Ticats (10 home dates a year, new practice facility) with the WH plan, how are we "giving" the Ticats 60 million. If the Ticats fold tomorrow, Hamilton still has their stadium.
I just don't understand what an empty stadium gets Hamilton if it's an "idyllic" location. How you can even refer to WH as a great site is beyond me. It's east of Hamilton Ship Yard, South of the Railway Tracks and surrounded by brownfield failed experiments of the past.
What other cities in North America have stadiums on the waterfront that are these great successes?
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 11:44:48
Really, its not their fault that they feel they can't make money there and for wanting something else.
No but it is their fault that they want us to just accept their feelings about where they can and can't make money, and give them a $100 million stadium without them having to show us their business analysis.
Be realistic, you're an investor and a business owner wants you to invest $100 million in a new facility for them. Are you going to give them a penny of your money without them opening their books and showing you the numbers?
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 11:55:44
nobrainer, are you asking that BY show you his tax returns? As he said himself on the Ticats.ca site when someone asked him about this in comparision to the Alouettes, he does not have access to Mr. Wettenhall's returns and he doesn't even know if the Alouettes actually lose or make money nor is it his right to know this information from the Als or any other team.
Also, if the stadium goes to Confederation Park, one of the 4 originally indicated in the city reports, this opens up the WH for whatever including an extension of the MIP project should the MIP lands currently not be large enough. More fulltime employment downtown perhaps then in the long run which is something worth considering.
By Andrea (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 12:14:42
'opening the books' - this has nothing to do with Mr. Young's 'personal' finances. If the Tiger Cats are incorporated, then the business files a corporate tax return. Also, to the best of my knowledge, a business plan from the Ticats has not been presented to the City.
By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 09, 2010 at 12:22:18
I don't necessarily think a downtown innovation park (WHIP!) would be a bad idea, but I really don't see what's wrong with the current site. It's well-situated - there's a big stock of unused industrial land in otherwise relatively high-income residential areas. Low impact R&D industrial work would suit it perfectly demographically and geographically. A stadium really wouldn't. I'd be surprised if there were half the Cats fans per acre as there are north of Barton. And I'd be surprised if there were half as many potential employees (engineers, etc) near a potential WHIP site. Mac already has an extensive decentralized network of parking lots in the area which it serves by shuttle bus. And so far the plans are about as green as we could have hoped (living walls, bike lanes, solar panels etc).
Finish your schoolwork, kids. Then you can play football.
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 12:29:19
nobrainer, are you asking that BY show you his tax returns?
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 12:45:31
Stop hiding behind legal blabla, there are legal ways to show a business case and you know it as well as me. Now find me an investor. Anywhere. Who will sink $100 million dollars into a business without seeing their detailed business plans. Never. Going. To. Happen.
Unless the investor is a city run by panicky councilors afraid for their jobs.
By jimmys (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 12:58:24
What other cities in North America have stadiums on the waterfront that are these great successes?
Not a complete list by any means, but scroll through the images for one great waterfront stadium after another:
Keep in mind, many cities don't even have a waterfront.
Off the top of my head:
Baltimore Vancouver (planning their new MLS stadium along with 2 current stadiums) Pittsburgh (2 stadiums) Boston (planning) San Diego San Fran Tampa
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 13:39:44
That's why he's investigating other avenues as he understands it might not work out here in Hamilton.
Good luck finding a city even more desperate to give away a $100 million stadium than Hamilton.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 13:52:09
That's Bob's problem to deal with.
By cityfan (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 14:04:45
It's unfortunate but Bob's real problem is that he's not convincing enough. He's not fooling enough people. That has contributed to now looking at MIP lands.
Comment edited by cityfan on 2010-09-09 13:17:01
By cityfan (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 14:27:41
You have every right not to vote for the Mayor. Heck based on the candidates right now he the best of all evils in my books. Fred is doing his job better than I have seen in my lifetime in Hamilton. Some people see him as stubborn some people see him as taking a stand with a major issue that involves alot of money. Our Money! do you really.. really think based on whos running for mayor that they can do a better job right now? (you don't have to answer that to me btw) tThe real problem we have is the rest of council surrounding Mayor Fred. I don't think we can afford to vote them back. Ticats or no Ticats!
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 14:45:41
Well, as I've said I'm not big into politics, this stadium situation has really grabbed me into some local politics because I'm a big TigerCats fan and CFL fan. So I am more or less an under-knowledged voter on many issues, that much I'll admit.
With the Mayor, I'm having a difficult time with him because of his aloof style that puts me off listening to him or watching him. I guess that's my problem, it is his personality afterall and we all have unique personalities. I listen to Larry and while I know he's misbehaved as we all know, he comes across to me more humane and approachable and workable. I know that's not a fair way of judging but that's me, I don't spend a lot of energy into politics or politicians and don't read much about it or them.
I guess what I expect from a politician isn't all the answers or to be extraordinary on the IQ scale, but I do expect them to be an excellent communicator and facilitator and bridger if you will and the Mayor, to me, doesn't cut it at all in these respects.
Of course if he'd just build the darn stadium where Bob wants it and use the money for it that he's promised for the WH site, I'd love him and vote for him in a second. ;)
Ok, I'm shallow and don't have much going on between the ears, I'm open to that criticism I'll admit. ;)
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-09 13:47:56
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 15:27:12
Hey, at least I admit who I am!
Ok, how about this compromise. I'll vote once for the Mayor if the stadium goes to MIP with the TiCats on board, twice for him if it goes to CP with the Ticats on board and 1/2 for him it if goes to WH, Ticats on board or not! ;)
By z jones (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 16:25:36
Crazy idea: get informed and make your vote based on the big picture, not one issue or a feeling from watching a sound bite on tv.
By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 16:42:45
It's rather funny. Look at the grayed out comments. Don't say anything bad about the WH location or you're whited out.
There seems to me to be two types of stadium supporters. One: People who think the WH is the best location because it will look pretty. Two: people who think the stadium should be located where it makes a football franchise viable.
So for this simple observation.... which is strictly an observation. it will be down voted. It has nothing to do with what my personal opinion is. Simply as soon as you mention anything anti-Fred or anti-West Harbour you get down voted.
Ill look forward to my prediction being true. ie. I look forward to my whited-out comment. just because you don't agree with some simply point out observations.
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 18:16:26
TreyS said "There seems to me to be two types of stadium supporters. One: People who think the WH is the best location because it will look pretty. Two: people who think the stadium should be located where it makes a football franchise viable."
Perhaps you could add:
-three: people who think a WH stadium would look pretty AND make a football franchise viable and have seen the studies to back it up.
-four: people who know that WH would be the newest and best stadium in the CFL and way better than Ivor Wynne.
-five: people who think the interests of the taxpayers and the City that's footing the bill should prevail over those of a private corporation especially when it won't (can't) back up its claims.
-six: people who think football viability has more to do with winning than stadium location.
-seven: people who haven't seen ANY documentary evidence to show that football wouldn't be viable at WH.
-eight: people who can't figure out how other teams in the CFL are doing financially better than the Tiger-Cats with similar or worse locations than WH.
-nine: people who can't enunciate what really makes a football team viable but swallow whatever Bob Young says (but can't demonstrate) and then write in to Raise the Hammer
By jason (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 19:13:50
realfree - a couple more:
those who feel over $100 million in PUBLIC money should be spent in such a way that actually results in some PUBLIC good ie - brownfield cleanup and revitalization
Those who desire to live in a 21st Century city where one can move around easily by LRT or GO Train and have entertainment facilities on said rail lines instead of along a 1970's highway with a 1970's parking lot, being supported by a bunch of people who were over the hill in the 1970's and are still trying to hold our city back.
The Ticats' real evidence and reasoning is because they said so.
Umm, that's great, but they're not the ones paying the bills.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 19:21:10
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-09 18:29:11
By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 19:24:30
Exactly. Canada Bread shopped around for a location and chose Glanbrook. The City did not say, NO you have to build at West Harbour on a shitfield site or else go somewhere else.
$100 mil is nothing. (only $45m is ours) The City of Hamilton's budget is $1 billion a year. Amortize $45m over the lifespan of the stadium. If IW has lasted 100 years that's, $45k a year. I think the city spends $100k on roads every year. So they ROI is worth it. If it means a new stadium with a national pro sports team or be relegated to obscurity which Hamilton seems to be stepping into year after year. Without the Ticats it would def put an end to Hamilton's national relevance. Might as well put us as a tiny dot, between Brantford and Burlington on the map.
BTW, how much tax dollars for the new Farmers' Market and Library are costing tax payers?? No one complains about that. ? interesting. But "don't spend my tax dollars on a stadium other than WH" seems to be the sentiment with WH supporters.
Thanks to Harper and McQuinty we have a new market and library and York Street scape. But let's ignore that fact. Let's ignore that Harper and McQuinty have offered their one third each portion of the costs to clean up Randle Reef... they are just waiting for Fred to come up with our one-third portion. Way to go Fred. Randle sits as a cess pool because we lobbied for help.. got it.. then failed to deliver our share.
Realfreeenterpriser whatever: Look if you paid for the business plans you wouldn't be responsible to reveal them to the public. Mac did not reveal Camco was their choice for MIP until it was a done deal. In fact, Mac also had "several downtown sites in consideration" but never ever revealed what they were. Why? Is our business? Does Mac have to tell the public what sites they were considering for MIP? Even though Mac is a public institution that pays zero taxes. Interesting, how Mac gets away with whatever it want to do, without scrutiny but the Ticats as a private company are expected to reveal their books, and their plans to the public.
Do you realize what kind of feeding frenzy would go on with the possible stadium location? By the time the land was bought it would've been flipped three times in a month. Speculation my friend. that's the only land development that happens in Hamilton.
Those other cities you mentioned that have successful downtown stadiums happened to have already successful downtowns in the first place. It is not the Ticats mandate to make Hamilton's downtown more viable. How about it is Hamilton's own responsibility to make downtown attractable? If was, then maybe the Cats would be more open to a stadium in the core. But as it is right now, the downtown is not a place to invest. Sorry, truth hurts. I wish it weren't true.
It still distills down to two factions. One: Those that want a stadium on the WH to make it look pretty. and Two: those that want a stadium location that makes the Cats viable. and ergo keeps Hamilton on the national map.
Comment edited by TreyS on 2010-09-09 18:28:14
By jason (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 19:25:36
Ryan, go shove it you know where buddy. Sometimes you are an idiot in my books and right now is one of those times.
Can you believe the nerve of Ryan suggesting that people are making inane comments on here??? Pfft
By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 19:35:08
A variety of perspective comments and articles will be what keeps RTH worth reading. If RTH becomes a local version of Adbusters, well then, it has lost its purpose.
By cityfan (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 19:58:43
Let's get a grip people on RTH. I'm not an internet peace maker or anything but considering that we are on a public discussion site it seems lately people are more concerned with getting voted up or voted down to feel like someone agrees with them so they can feel all fuzzy inside.
I haven't been around a long time but as I see it the Tiger Cats bring emotion to this debate which makes it very interesting because I hate politics. Some say the Ticats put joy in our hearts (like when they beat Toronto on Labour Day!) Should the Ticats stay or should they go? Should council stay or should they go? Should money stay or should it go? I love this engagment of minds These answers are complex and simple and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I personally am OK with someones elses opinion as long as they quit with the name calling because that only evokes ignorance and childishness. If I wanted to read that I would go over to the TheSpec.com (haha)
By Andrea (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 20:03:05
Someone help me out here, I might be wrong...Yale Properties does own Jackson Square but not the property for the Library or the Market. The original property for the market was deeded as a gift to the City in the 1800s. I believe that the conditions stipulated that there always be equivalent space for a market, but the location could be moved.
By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 20:18:05
Yale is a private company. Giving tax dollars to Yale is the same as giving tax dollars to the Ticats.
Of course the existing library and farmers markets aren't holding the city ranson... why? because it's in the same location. "Hey were renovating, come back soon to a better building". They aren't saying, "hey we moved, sorry for the inconvenience, but we are now located at 000 Upper James".
We're talking about MOVING the Ticats stadium. It would be a whole different conversation if we were renovating Ivor Wynne.
And let's give up any perception that a modern football stadium 3km from downtown, with on-site food and beverage, accommodations and parking will add any 'off-spring' benefit to downtown. It won;t happen. It will actually ruin West Harbour for anything else.
Modern Stadia are self-contained, money-making machines, their purpose is to take your entrance fee $, then to take any extra dollars off you for beer, hotdogs, maybe a nice meal in one of the sit-down restaurants or even a hotel room. Just look at John Labbat Centre in London and that's only a 8k arena. It has more in-house amenities than Copps.
Do you actually think that Bob Young wants to pay the costs to attract patrons, only then to let his patrons leave with extra money to spend elsewhere? Are you an idiot? Do you know how retail business works. ?
I paid to attract to my business. I want to take all the money I can off them. End of story. My marketing, my game. my customers. Why do I want MY CUSTOMERS to go and spend their money on a plate of nachos at Honest Lawyer?
Besides.. be real... the whole Ticat event is about 4 hours. Door to door. Parking, walking, sitting, watching and back again. After 4 hours, the literal truth is.... people want to go home after... . I've fuckin had enough. I watched a football game, I had a beer, i had a hotdog, i went piss three times, I ate some popcorn. I Don't want to spend another 3 hours, 3km away at Hess Village or wherever you think you our future employment is (serving coffee and nachos).
The bottom line is... the West Harbour is a horrible place for the stadium. And that's not because I don't want downtown or WH to prosper. My opinion is because I want WH and downtown to prosper. A stadium will suck, literally suck downtown and WH forever..// that is if it is built with any kind of amenities... if it's not built equal to something even as small as John Labbat Centre than forget about building it. Put $10m into IW, and upgrade its hotdog stands and hog-like urinals. And then let Setting-Sail continue on with it's 148-year plan to develop the West Harbour.
That's all.. peace be with you.
By catspaw (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 20:23:36
What I've seen on here so far shows me the disparity there is regarding this stadium. This is about the only thing in many years in this city that seems to have gotten peoples attention. Something really unique when you think of the attention span many people have now. Personally not having a new stadium here is fine with me. The CFL is an also ran outfit anyway, catering to the NFL leftovers. No more than ten games a year and with the record the Ticats have over the last decade or two it's no wonder it's been in the red. Even if they won every game at home they'd still be losing money and the city (us) would still have to subsidize them. The problem with what's been happening in city government is they've been drinking champagne from a beer purse! There are more whiners than voters in municipal elections and I don't think the percentage will change much in this election either! Apathy reins supreme.
By cityfan (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 20:36:07
That being said Trey, and I hear what you are saying, why do most new stadiums get built in downtown areas if only because it benifits the owner of the team. Seems like a good buiness plan for them to go to the bank and get a loan don't you think?
If what your saying is correct then why are we giving the Ticats future fund money at all. If the Ticats can't prove their business analysis and don't have enough money to invest then the city with Bob Young should go back to the government and ask for more tax dollars because you have suggested that the city will not, if any, benifit from funding a stadium for Hamilton.
In this case the majority of the money is coming from the Future Fund to buy the land to build a stadium. Do you see the dilema?
Comment edited by cityfan on 2010-09-09 19:41:44
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 23:13:42
TreyS said "The Cats exist to make money by providing a valuable product."
Soooooo.....if the Cats aren't making money then, by definition, their product can't be that valuable.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 06:30:05
And the Coyotes lose a whole lot more money than the Cats so, be definition again, their product can't be that valuable as well. And the Jays have had many years of losing money so same thing I guess.
catspaw, remember the CFL has never been and never will be about getting "the best" or the most high profile football players on the planet. What it is about is that this is the league that is able to compete for Lord Grey's Cup that started in 1909, the national football championship of Canada. That's the main reason I follow the Cats and the league, I respect this trophy and championship of Canada's hugely. I watch the NFL to watch what are considered "the best" players in the world although I still find many CFL players are just as good but don't fit the body type for the NFL game.
And remember, even if the CFL went down the drain, the Grey Cup lives on forever as long as football is played, it was mean't to be played by amateurs anyways as it says on the trophy itself so I would get excited watching junior and university teams vie for this coveted trophy year to year. The Grey Cup is about far more than the CFL. It is not about what some people call "has beens" or "second rate" etc. heck if that was the case, our league wouldn't mandate a certain number of Canadians to play in the league.
I watch both the CFL and NFL for different reasons and love both for different and some same reasons as well, it's all football afterall.
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-10 05:36:51
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 07:13:05
Although not on topic, I thought some of you history buffs might be interested in this article that has a photo of the first Grey Cup played in 1909 at Rosedale Field in Toronto between the Univ. Toronto and the Parkdale Canoe Club. History is fascinating I find.
By slodrive (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:08:24
Hey Ryan - I definitely see your point about the stadium doing the most it possibly can for the city of Hamilton. But I really think we have trust Bob Young and his advisors -- even a teensy bit -- with regards to building a successful, viable stadium. I just think we really have to remember that, yes, building a stadium can provide a lot of clean-up opportunities to derelict areas, but if the place is a perennial failure with only 15-18,000 showing up for games, then it, too will be come part of the problem.
That doesn't mean that we simply cave and build a stadium at the airport with acres of parking. That, too, I believe will be a ghost-town on gameday. But, I, personally, have conceded that the West Harbour may be an ill-advised place to put a stadium. And that's fine. There are much better facilities for a waterfront than a large football stadium.
I'm not sold on any of these sites, but something like the MIP sure seems like it has a little something for everyone. I would much prefer elements of the MIP pushed towards downtown -- that's where the real city-building opportunity is. So, I really hope Mac isn't resistant to some land-swapping where possible. I really think the exposure the Ticats give to MIP can be a boon for them.
If anything, this debate has clearly shown what the Ticats mean to this city. They've become a bit of a lightning rod here -- perhaps, showing some of the intangible benefits they bring to our city and our identity. (Would this same debate be going if it were the location of the MIP being debated?? Doubt it.)
In this situation, I think we have to come to terms with this being the best option -- with obvious shortfalls. No site is going to be a slam dunk.
By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:04:23
TreyS said, "I paid to attract to my business. I want to take all the money I can off them. End of story. My marketing, my game. my customers. Why do I want MY CUSTOMERS to go and spend their money on a plate of nachos at Honest Lawyer?"
Fine, if the Tiger-Cats were paying for their own stadium. But they're not.
The city is going to be a major investor and owner of the stadium, so the city is obligated to what is best for the city and that includes initiatives that help revitalize the core. A plate of nachos at the Honest Lawyer is a good thing.
A strong core means a strong city, and a atrong city with pride can only help an organization that represents this city.
By jason (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:08:23
As I always say, "what is best for Hamilton is best for me (and everyone else here)".
The Cats need to grasp that concept. I heard Mitchell on the radio today talking about how Hamilton will never be a regional transit hub with GO service connecting to other cities, so therefore we need to accommodate all the new fans the team plans on reaching in Guelph, London etc by car.... Everytime I heard one of those guys talk it sounds like 1970 again.
By PanAm 2015 (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:15:11
Over 50 comments and not a single one mentions the actual reason for the potential Federal/Provincial/City investment in a new stadium - the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games
The HostCo originally required a legacy tenant for high-performance sport then decided not to object to the city's plan to have the future use be CFL football.
Maybe we need to go back to the drawing board and look for a high-performance sport use?
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:27:27
Ryan, you've inteviewed BY once, why not try again and ask him to share the primary data/information with you on why they do not see a business case for the team at WH? Bob is quite approachable as you know so I say give it a shot and speak with him directly.
By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 12:01:02
jason said, "heard Mitchell on the radio today talking about how Hamilton will never be a regional transit hub with GO service connecting to other cities, so therefore we need to accommodate all the new fans the team plans on reaching in Guelph, London etc by car.... Everytime I heard one of those guys talk it sounds like 1970 again"
This notion that downtown Hamilton is somehow inaccessbile by car has to be changed. As I've stated many times I've been to Copps several times when it's been sold out (around 18,000 people) and have NEVER had trouble driving downtown or finding parking.
Give London and Guelph people credit. I'm sure they've probably driven downtown Toronto, so driving downtown Hamilton and parking is simple in comparison. And with special gameday planning, it'll be that much more easier and efficient.
Bottom line is, a top notch product will determine success, more so than any location. people will want to attend games because it's the team and game that draws them, not any location.
By amsandy (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 12:50:29
After scanning through some of these comments, I am amazed at the short sightedness of some replies.
This debate turned conflict WILL, I believe, end up costing this city the Pan AM Stadium. Mr. Young whom has been a super supporter of this city and OUR football team seems to have grown a little more aggressive and seemingly DEMANDING.
The CFL has 15-20 % of its teams either Bankrupt or on the verge of same every single season. I think if I were part of the Pan Am corp. I would NOT consider ANY CFL TEAM as a viable risk to bank my $100M investment upon. Even if the Cats play wherever the stadium is built, the bigger concern should indeed be the viability of the CFL in any city. I respect and appreciate the money people in this game, but wonder really how deep ones pockets need be to sustain this league. Mr. Young and Mr.Braley obviously do have deep pockets, and have a deep love of the game, BUT there has to be a limit.
This debate is getting really old and is taking so much attention away from the other REAL NEEDS of this City, To all concerned parties make a D A M N decision and move on.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 13:47:20
You've got a point amsandy. The economic model of the CFL has been questioned for years and that is why we haven't seen expansion or new stadiums or major renos to existing stadiums. However things are changing a bit. Montreal has just spent some $26 mill or so on an expansion and upgrade of their stadium, BC is spending upwards of $300 mill on their facility, Saskatchewan is seriously considering a multimillion dollar new facility and Ottawa is headed to a major multimillion reno of their stadium and reentry back into the league. And Winnipeg is very close to a new stadium in conjuction with U of M. So things are happening out there in the league.
Southern Ontario is a tad confusing because of the 2 teams so close together, one in an old stadium that is deteriorating albeit likeable, and the other in a vacuum of a baseball like stadium that isn't what the Argos need. Both teams have solid ownership at this moment.
I can't speak for Bob Young but if I was in his shoes I would be tempted to get out of Hamilton fast if I can and try and build a stadium in Halton with everything desirable from what people have told him and try and be THE team in southern Ontario and let the chips fall where they may with the Argos. That's what I would be tempted to do but BY likes Hamilton, obviously, and I think his heart is telling him to stay here if the city really wants the team ie. spend some $60 mill on a new stadium in a location that he sees a business case for the team. But personally I would say that a wiser decision would be to take the team to Halton region and be southern Ontario's team. But I do give credit to Fred for saying he'll spend $60 mill of taxpayers money on a stadium, kudos to Fred for that, and council. But there has to be serious discussion with the TigerCats to see that the location is desireable and the terms of the lease are desireable or else the city should keep this $60 mill as the stadium might not have a major tenant, at least not a CFL team. But if the city says they don't need a CFL team, then the city should just say it and build the stadium at the WH, it is their right and get investors for themselves to help build it. I'm sure the city is well connected. And demand to fed and prov govt to give money for it for the Pan Am soccer as well. To heck with this legacy stuff I say, I don't quite get the legacy talk. I'm sure with a nice stadium at WH some team in some league will come knocking soon enough, I would think. Harper is ready to give close to $200 mill to QC and they don't have any legacy tenant at the moment.
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-10 12:59:25
By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 13:51:14
Lets face it Mitchell's fixation on 'PAID' parking is about a revenue stream. The Hwy. visibility is about maximizing the value of naming rights. Their contribution to the stadium cost is based on these 2 revenue streams.
If a site that limits these revenue streams is chosen then we can expect the City will need to increase their contribution.
In all of this debate we assume the Ticats will manage the Stadium. Yet without these revenue streams they resort to threats and ultimatums because their business case fails.
Hopefully the past 2 weeks with MIP reps at the table have brought some reason to the discussion.
If the City moves forward with the preferred WH or MIP locations and the Ticats can't make a good business case for either site. Then it would seem reasonable that the City finance and manage the stadium and the Ticats negotiate a lease.
Naming rights and limited parking revenues would still be on the table to help pay for the Stadium. As well as other revenues from concerts and other events.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 13:58:04
Yes, and let's face it, again can't speak for Bob but perhaps he is posturing on moving the team, who knows, some say yes, some say no. Maybe with the stadium at WH or MIP even if he says no for whatever reason, he will say ok at the last second.
We just don't know what BY will do and he's probably too good of a poker player to really let anyone know for sure until he's ready or wants to at whatever point.
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 14:15:31
I can't speak for Bob Young but if I was in his shoes I would be tempted to get out of Hamilton fast if I can and try and build a stadium in Halton
Something's telling Bob to stay in Hamilton rather than moving his team to Halton. His heart may be saying this, but what's saying the same thing a lot more loudly is that Hamilton's willing to spend our Future Fund buying him a new stadium (why, after the way he's treated us this year I'll never know)....and Halton is not. Think about that when you're writing up your next love letter to BY.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 14:23:47
You're right nobrainer, the $60 mill on the table for a stadium from the city is a carrot no question and he's admitted that on ticat.ca. Why you say? Because I don't think the city wants to lose the TigerCats even though it sounds like you don't care, which is fine, no problem.
If it weren't for this $60 mill on the table, it would be different for sure, Bob might have something setup already elsewhere.
So do you think the city should spend $60 mill on a football stadium?
By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 14:28:26
BY and the Ticats financial viability depends on 25,000 paid customers, 10 times a year. They can achieve that goal playing at Ivor Wynne, in fact they could probably make a modest profit with 10 Sell Outs. In 2009 they averaged over 23,000 per game.
I believe the real kicker in the debate is how BY finances 10,000 additional seats in the PanAm stadium. Maybe he can't!
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 14:50:52
You could be right there Ward. Pro sports owners generally don't like using their money to finance such projects, that is well known.
By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 15:09:30
Owners probably don't like the idea of uprooting a 141 year old franchise, with an established fanbase and starting from scratch in a new City...
Look BY's football team will survive in Hamilton whatever the outcome of the PanAm stadium debate. At the very least he'll get a renovated Ivor Wynne or a sweetheart deal in the West Harbour.
By catspaw (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 15:20:42
I agree with some of your points Hamilton Fan and those of Amsandy but at the end of the day we will not have any say in which way this is decided. Even the ballot box in retrospect won't matter either. Regarding the mayoralty race. Does it really matter when it's only one vote in council? I find it a bit strange that there is not one woman in the race! I think they know something we don't know, and it maybe says something about the stunted thinking that prevails in this 'old boys club' city council.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 16:06:27
True catspaw, at the end of the day little joe blow fan like me won't count and the ballot box either as you say, it's the big decision makers behind closed doors striking the deals and signing the deals.
Look at the fans of the Expos, Jets and Nordiques, the teams were moved to the States with a "thankyou fans in those cities but we are moving on, have a nice day". All you can do is try and make sense of things and move on. I'm a fan of the TigerCats but it doesn't mean I will always be a fan of the TigerCats. Look at Rogers now and what they are doing with Jays telecasts and the new channel they have, Jays fans without Rogers right now are not able to watch their team if their cable company doesn't have the channel yet. Rogers says in the long run it will be a good deal, yeah right, it's more money from cable bills, just like MLSE does with people having to get the Leafs network specifically to get all the games.
Greed, what do you do? Sometimes I wonder why I'm a pro sports fan at all to be honest but admit I'm watching more nature programs all the time on my TV and other stuff other than sports.
By z jones (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 16:07:58
"So do you think the city should spend $60 mill on a football stadium?" Only if also confers real benefits to the city, otherwise no.
By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 16:32:28
z jones said, " Only if also confers real benefits to the city..."
I agree completely! The operative word in the quote being "REAL"
By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 16:38:01
I just watched Graham Crawford's 'You See It' video again. Now if I had a say, I'd vote for that 'Game Day Experience.'
By slodrive (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 17:37:46
Thank you as well. I do agree that it would be beneficial to all if the Cats released their studies and opened their book. There's no doubt. But, Bob Young, love him or hate him, has been a very successful business person. Wouldn't you think that, if there was a positive case to be made, the team would be all over it?
Many people on this site, and a few on the Cats site, are painting Bob Young as a greedy sports owner. (And, he sure wouldn't be owning a CFL franchise if he were...but anyway.) Going with that label for arguments sake, would that not further validate his claims that the West Harbour is not worth the trouble??
Let's face it, the Riders are far and away the most successful team and its not as if they're swimming in profits here.
I think we all have to take a leap of faith in that, no matter where the stadium goes, no body is going to getting wealthy off of this. And that's fine. The CFL is a community style league that's approachable and inviting to everyone. Thus, it does need some propping. But I think what we get in return is part of our identity -- our civic identity and our national identity. I think we lose some of our soul if we simply walk away from that.
So, to be constructive, I think we have to be a bit trusting here. So far, Bob has only done great things for our city. I think we have to take him at his word that he's fighting for the same things we are.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 17:40:27
One thing I like about the CFL for spending my money on for tickets compared with the "major leagues" is that the players don't make that much money, I think the average salary is around the $70,000 mark and I find that the talent and effort the players put in compared with the "majors" where the average salaries are over a million per player and more, that the value for my money is well worth it, combined with the fact as I say that they are competing for a great Canadian historic trophy in the Grey Cup.
I can't stand when I've gone to "major" league games and see the players give half hearted efforts for the money they make, they've signed their multi million year contract and they are getting the money no matter what, with a few performance bonuses yes but even if they crap out, they are mega millionaires. No thanks for my money, the CFL is great value for the money entertainment wise in this aspect and owners make very little money as well. Unlike say the Yankees where even if they don't get one fan in the seats per year, I've heard the team makes money from TV contracts and same with many NFL teams.
In the CFL, owners have to work hard, very hard to even break even and players have to work hard for a very modest salary. I personally like that. In the NFL with the huge TV contracts, all owners make huge money per year even if the team goes 0-16 for 10 years in a row.
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-10 16:42:02
By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted September 10, 2010 at 17:42:34
It never ceases to amaze my that people actually think that Mr Young has the option of playing in another city/region after 2011. I will spell this out again.
He has absolutely no where to go.
There is not another municipality in this country that will spend $60 million of it's own money to build a stadium for a CFL team and lobby the other two levels of government to pay the rest.
The City of Hamilton is not about to finance a stadium in HALTON.
Mr Young gambled that he could leverage the city into going to the East Mountain so he could realize the real estate development deal he entered into with Osmington Corp. He lost. Now he is scrambling to save face and salvage some kind of deal period.
To this day the Tiger Cats have not disclosed ONE SINGLE PIECE OF DOCUMENTATION that supports their assertion that they cannot be viable at the West Harbour. (This single fact alone would motivate me to continue to support WH was I sitting at the council table at city hall).
The Hamilton Tiger Cats are worth something. The Oshawa Motor Heads or the Moncton Clam Diggers etc are worth nothing right now even if they had somewhere to play. Mr Young knows this. City Council should know this and give itself a collective jabrony check and call his bluff.
City Council has voted 7 Times in favour of the WH as a stadium location. Both our current mayor and previous mayor have signed bid books on behalf of the city with WH as the chosen location. THE HAMILTON TIGER CATS SIGNED ON TO WH as part of the Pan Am Bid. They knew this was the location, they had ample time to voice dissent or concern and they didn't until the eleventh hour. Again ANOTHER BIG RED NEGOTIATING FLAG INDICATING A POWER PLAY ATTEMPT BY A MINORITY PARTNER in this venture.
For the previous mayor to attempt to distance himself from his previous support of WH and play politics with the issue is dishonest and show's his contempt for the voters and process in general.
MIP is no magic bullet. To begin the city doesn't own the land and secondly it again takes employment lands off the table to build a stadium for privately owned business with public money. For me that disqualifies its viability right away. It's EM all over again.
Council needs to stick to its guns, present Host Co with a viable WH plan that calls for an expandable stadium design and begin raising the funds in conjunction with the private sector to build the original concept at WH. They then need to work with Mr Young and come to an agreement that satisfies him to an acceptable level. Mr Young for his part needs to be forthcoming with actual facts that city staff can use, not simply sound bytes and media releases decrying the city's choice. A choice that he knew about and publicly stated he didn't care where it went as long as it was in Hamilton.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 17:56:30
Good read Shemp. One thing though - I think that southern Ontario, somewhere, is ripe for the taking to bring a Buffalo Bills or Michigan Wolverines type of tailgating party atmosphere ie. a large parking lot area, here. People have said this. If Mr. Young or someone else does have the balls to risk something like this, I think it could be successful. In other words, if he or someone does try Halton, look for a 50,000 type football stadium with tailgaiting (doesn't mean getting all pissed up) and if the CFL did fail, god forbid, the stadium is there with the groundwork to give the NFL what it could have here, a 70,000 stadium with the Buffalo experience at higher ticket prices and a classier area in southern Ontario than Buffalo which is economically depressed.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't want the NFL in Canada, I want our CFL to succeed here and in southern Ontario. But just saying the area is ripe. If BY doesn't do it or the CFL, eventually someone else will I believe. The CFL needs to get in on this first and if the NFL comes calling for a team, they will have to work with the CFL to do this, which could be very lucrative for the CFL if they own the stadium sort of thing.
That's why a Halton stadium might be done without the $60 mill FF money but some money from the feds or prov for the Pan Ams for a bit of money towards it. All Bob needs to do is get a couple other well heeled people involved in such a project and Osmington or another developer and that $60 mill FF money is not needed at all. That's one reason why the city is offering it, I think they know what could happen - no team in Hamilton proper and I don't think they want that to be honest. That's why the WH isn't the best site, think about it say the EM or CP, this could be a 50,000 type stadium and really put Hamilton on the map as "the" place, CFL with a great tailgating atmosphere plus Grey Cups and if that should fail, god forbid, maybe the NFL. I think Fred understands this. The WH is too limiting with future possibilities for "what if". Not that I don't like it, I love the site but it's smallish and limits what Hamilton could be.
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-10 17:04:29
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 18:19:21
Oops, forgot to say the the owner of the Bills, Buffalo Bills, Ralph Wilson, is 92 and his family wants no part of the team, they are going to sell the team. So maybe Rogers will make a bid but the Bills thing in Toronto isn't working out too well, and the Bills could go to LA. Assuming no one in W NY buys the team. The stadium is old and the area, as I say, economically depressed, not what the NFL wants. Another reason for the CFL to get the groundwork going here. Love to see it at EM or CP but I noticed my post got turned down, with that attitude it's going to Halton region and Hamilton will lose out. Which would be a real shame.
By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted September 10, 2010 at 18:43:45
If thats what Mr Young wants to do? Great ! Just let him do it with his own money. Right now that scenario is not even on the radar. What is ... is all three levels of government with the City of Hamilton being the major contributor, plan to build a new stadium in Hamilton. The Tiger Cats would be one of the biggest beneficiaries of this fact. This stadium potentially could be the jewel of the CFL. To my mind if I am Mr Young, I am thrilled. I am going to work with the city to make this enterprise work. The protestations from the Tiger Cats that the WH cannot work despite a complete lack of substantive documentation has not been helpful to this process. Revenue information that can be obtained on the other CFL teams does not support the kind of losses that Mr Young contends he has currently at Ivor Wynne despite a very generous lease arrangement. With a new building at WH with new amenities and opportunities to access other revenue streams in cooperation with the city...... there is absolutely no reason it cannot work and the onus is on Mr Young to prove otherwise. Respectfully.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 19:07:37
Sorry the onus isn't on Mr Young, it's on the city to prevent Mr Young for taking away what this city could have. Get it? The WH is not what this city could have, it's a mirror of IWS, we have a great matchup tomorrow for first place in the east and tickets are easy to come by. Not good.
Mr. Young will not need the FF money to do what could be done, but it won't be at WH or MIP. You need to understand that. Hamilton could lose out on something quite significant but I'm not sure on this site I can accurately explain it with my limited English language working ability.
Bob wants to see Hamilton be "the place" but it's Hamilton's choice otherwise bye, bye, don't need your FF money but it is nice and we appreciate it but ...
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-10 18:08:38
By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted September 10, 2010 at 19:30:24
I'm afraid you significantly over state Mr Young's leverage in this situation. The fact that tickets are easy to come by is testament to that fact. It's not the people of Hamilton's fault every game is not sold out. It's Bob Young's and his management team's. They have failed so far to build their brand to a point where they can fill Ivor Wynne to some where over 65% capacity on a regular basis. Going 37-74 -1 during your tenure as owner will tend to do that.
Ivor Wynne's location has nothing to do with it. The stadium experience has nothing to do with it. (Mr Young has done a very good job at making game day more enjoyable for everyone.) The team has consistently stunk. That is why people don't go. I am old enough to remember that place being full. Before beer and liquor, before tailgate partying at Scott Park. You know. When the Tiger Cats used to be the Beasts of the East.
It's a nice picture you are trying to paint for Mr Young. But its pie in the sky and you know it. If it wasn't it would have happened already and the construction crews would be working on Bob World out near the airport or North Burlington or wherever. No developer in his right mind is going to hinge an investment on building a stadium for a CFL team and the hope that a surrounding commercial precinct will support it and make it flourish. Ask the people of Glendale Arizona how that one has worked out. Really. You can go online and check out lease availability in the "entertainment and hospitality district" around Jobing.Com Arena.
This is simply a matter of a private business (one that does not significantly impact the city economically) trying to leverage the emotional and historic ties it has to this city to its advantage.
Should the absurd happen and Mr Young is foolish enough to actually make good on his threats. He will slit his own throat with respect to the value of his CFL franchise. The City of Hamilton will move on and flourish with or without the Tiger Cats. As big a fan of the team as I am. I can still wrap my head around that possibility. And I'm ok with it.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 20:20:58
No problem Shemp, I understand your preset mindset and ideology. And I can appreciate it without buying into it, and I don't. The Golden Horseshoe is not Glendale Arizona.
We will see what happens, shan't we?
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-10 19:22:17
By slodrive (registered) | Posted September 10, 2010 at 23:57:03
Thanks, Ryan. Fantastically informative post. Much appreciated. The only wrinkle I may (respectfully) add is that, while the MIP maybe be similar to WH, it does represent a potential for $250-400k per year (by my estimation) for stadium naming rights. That's not to say the WH would be shutout from this revenue stream, but it could arguably be half as much. (I've, personally, argued this point, but I'm only going by what I've been presented).
In the razor-thin margins of CFL football, that is significant.
At any rate, thanks again.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 11, 2010 at 00:06:23
Ryan, apart from the TigerCats being desperate which is why you believe they have come back to the table for the MIP site, I personally believe that BY wants to stay in Hamilton for many reasons even though he may want to leave Hamilton for a couple. $60 mill helps from the city and he, in his heart, doesn't want to leave this city. I don't believe you've ever acknowledged that BY actually does have some heart for this city but I believe he does and I don't think this is all about desperation or just being backed into a corner by the city with no way out. But if you don't buy any of this, that is your choice.
MIP as slo mentions is a much different choice to IWS than the WH is to IWS and represents compromises. I will give the city credit for putting this choice on the table while still looking at other sites somewhat I believe.
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-10 23:08:29
By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 11, 2010 at 10:10:54
This article by Andrew Dreschel in today's Hamilton Spectator reports that the city is looking at buying a warehouse property at 606 Aberdeen Avenue South adjacent to the east of MIP and adjacent to the west of city owned land. The proposed stadium would then either be built on those combined city owned lands or on the west side of Longwood Road through a land swap with McMaster University. Dreschel also states that the city is looking to the federal and provincial governments for money to top up the stadium seating capacity to 25,000.
Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2010-09-11 09:13:27
By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted September 11, 2010 at 12:06:57
Visibility and naming rights is a misleading term of reference. The benefit of naming rights comes from media exposure not really in actual visibility. The reason corporations pay for it is because for 3 hours a week during a league game or in a media reference to a concert they get to hear/see/read about "Omni Corp Stadium". A few thousand cars driving by everyday doesn't really make an impact. With that in mind WH is no worse than MIP or EM would have been. Its the media that drives it, not eyeballs. The visibility arguement brought on by the TiCats was subterfuge to promote their choice as Ryan suggested.
The Aberdeen development is interesting in that if doable it would largely leave MIP untouched itself and still be able to accomodate a stadium. The fact that Scott Mitchell is on record as stating Mr Young's sensitivities to innovation centers would lead one to believe a deal is doable if not imminent. Face it, politics is about deal making. Its unfortunate that WH will likely not see a stadium because IMHO it's still the best site. However if a stadium deal can be made AND WH still get developed in a meaningful way then that may be the best possible outcome.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 11, 2010 at 18:44:32
"The benefit of naming rights comes from media exposure not really in actual visibility"
Sources please Shemp otherwise it's just your opinion. Do you really think BMO would have paid some $10 mill for BMO stadium if it was in a location where 1/8 of the cars travelling by would notice? Don't think so.
At any rate, I agree to your last paragraph for the most part but if WH was or is such a great choice for the city and most of it's citizens, then why doesn't the city just say it's WH or nothing and who cares about the TigerCats?
But that's not what the city is saying. And don' tell me the TigerCats are backing them in a corner or HOSTCO. The city made it clear from the beginning the TigerCats are a "minority partner" so if that's the case, why should they give a flying f... about them?
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-11 17:46:12
By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted September 11, 2010 at 20:33:50
Here are just a few links.
Those are merely a few. As you can see it is hardly my opinion. People who know far more about these matters than I do form these policies and trends and its because MEDIA EXPOSURE HELPS THE BOTTOM LINE. Not Joe and Jane Q public driving to work. Its simple really. One national television broadcast reaches potentially millions of viewers. A week of commuting tens of thousands. Do the math.
As for BMO Field. $10 million is not even a drop in the bucket for them. Its a write off and if the 20 or so home games a year on tv with tv personalities both during the game and on sports shows after keep regurgitating "at BMO Field Toronto FC blah blah blah" helps sell mortgages and credit cards....great.
As for the City and its stance on WH. It's still on the table as referenced by City Manager Chris Murray as of yesterday. Why they haven't drawn a line in the sand is simple. Enough chicken shit flip flop city councillors who are more interested in getting re-elected than doing what is right have created a situation wherein the city has no choice but to examine another location. The irony will be if Aberdeen is chosen it will likely have more access issues than WH as there are really only two access points with highway access both of which are west of the stadium site. It is quite possible an LRT extension could be routed through as that process is just beginning. We shall see.
By Robbie k (anonymous) | Posted September 11, 2010 at 20:44:20
There are still extra perks thrown in. For example, Gillette, which ponies up $7.5 million a season for the naming rights to the New England Patriots’ stadium, not only brings clients to games, but also hosts meetings and other events at the stadium throughout the week. There is also a weekly ticket raffle for Boston-based employees. But the main return on investment for Gillette is visibility. The Patriots have played in more nationally televised games than any other team in the NFL since 2002. The company also gets free plugs every time a Patriots player is interviewed postgame in front of his locker, where Gillette deodorant or shaving products often appear in the background. One of the most underrated bonuses a sponsoring company receives is having its name on highway signs leading to a stadium. That company can reach a broad, captive audience – and even non-sports fans – all year round.
For financial companies with a less tangible product, teams will highlight the opportunity to target a more affluent niche audience, including team owners and their business contacts, season ticket holders and others in the VIP area or luxury suites.
By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 11, 2010 at 20:48:50
Here is a link to a chapter on stadium naming rights in a book titled "Sports Law" by Simon Gardiner. If you read the top of page 453, Mr. Gardiner mentions three corporate benefits sought through stadium naming rights. Television, radio and print exposure is noted first. In stadium ticket and program exposure is noted second. External stadium signage visibility is noted third.
Bob Young and Scott Mitchell always mention highway visibility in rejecting the west harbour stadium site but they rarely if ever mention the more important benefit of corporate local and national media exposure in obtaining value for stadium naming rights. The recent local and national media blitz used by Young, Mitchell and Ron Foxcroft on 900 CHML, TSN and TheFan 590, the Globe and Mail and the Hamilton Spectator in favour of the east mountain stadium site and panning Hamilton city council on the west harbour stadium site instead of using local billboards near highways to get their message across is clear proof that they know which form of corporate advertising has the greater value.
By Be T (anonymous) | Posted September 11, 2010 at 20:49:34
Ready for the next round? Listen up Monday morning, kiddies.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 10:11:28
Well guys, in terms of the naming rights then I guess it just means corporations don't favour naming rights for a Hamilton CFL team otherwise they'd be all over IWS right now with the factors you guys mentioned. Something is amiss here. I'm sure both the city and TigerCats have tried to get naming rights for IWS, but no luck so it seems. So a new stadium with highway visibility won't garner naming rights either, I suppose the logic goes, we'll see. If it does, maybe there is something to highway visibility afterall as an important factor. That is of course if Hamilton does build a stadium with this factor.
At any rate, can't wait for tomorrow morning and Tuesday and see what happens. Should be interesting.
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-12 09:13:29
By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 10:57:56
Tradition in Hamilton is to name notably buildings after citizens with a history of public service. I would think politics might be a big reason Ivor Wynne, Copps and many other arenas, parks, public buildings and roadways have traditional names.
By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 11:24:58
The various available sources on stadium naming rights, some of which has already been provided to you, seem to suggest that:
Corporations are reluctant to buy naming rights for older stadiums with established names.
A new stadium will generate naming rights revenue at almost any location.
The main value in acquiring stadium naming rights is the value of corporate local and national media exposure.
The value of a stadium location near a highway would only be a small part of the total value paid by a corporation for stadium naming rights.
The value of the stadium visibility factor in stadium naming rights has been grossly overstated by Bob Young and Scott Mitchell over the past seven months. They have also grossly understated the visibility of the west harbour stadium site.
By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 11:38:35
I honestly don’t know why Halton keeps getting tossed around as a realistic exit strategy for BY. The region’s prime-value real estate, its population’s aversion to tax levies, politicians' reverence for blue-chip business plans and the regional superabundance of greenbelt/escarpment/natural heritage protection makes that Plan B about as realistic as building a stadium on a fairway of Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
I did enjoy the hourly breakdown of the stadium use, though. At 4 hours a game by 10 games a season, we're talking about a facility that in all likelihood will see a baseline use of 200 hours off its principal tenant over the stadium’s projected lifespan of 50 years.
By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 12:07:33
@TreyS “BTW, how much tax dollars for the new Farmers' Market and Library are costing tax payers??.... Thanks to Harper and McQuinty we have a new market and library and York Street scape. But let's ignore that fact.”
Exactly. Hamiltonians aren’t paying the ticket in the same way that they are with the FF's $45m. The $11m federal/provincial being put into those York Blvd facilities represents the single largest influx of cash they've seen since opening 30 years ago. That's about $367k a year for both facilities.
Coincidentally, $11m is also roughly as much as has been spent by the city on IWS since Bob Young bought the Cats.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 12:32:53
The value of the stadium visibility factor in stadium naming rights has been grossly overstated by Bob Young and Scott Mitchell over the past seven months. They have also grossly understated the visibility of the west harbour stadium site.
Well, I'd need to see some robust predictive modelling studies done by knowledgeable people before I personally would say the they have grossly underestimated the visibility of the WH site for naming rights. I think at this point we don't really know to be honest one way or another and have to rely on what experts are telling us, what they think would be the situation depending on what team(s) play out of the stadium and how often. You have to bring people there to the WH with the stadium since there is no highway, people aren't just driving by the WH like a highway site. Signage is great and media exposure but there is nothing that replaces seeing something live, in reality other than virtual, IMHO. But that's just me and I'm no expert.
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-12 11:35:14
By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 13:07:57
Bob Young and Scott Mitchell have grossly underestimated the visibility of the west harbour stadium site. Full stop.
They never mention the thousands of GO train riders coming to or through Hamilton from Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, and Stoney Creek, Grimsby, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls who would have a close up view of the west harbour stadium.
They never mention that bayfront residents of Burlington can see the west harbour stadium site from across the bay.
They never mention that the west harbour stadium site can actually be seen from the Skyway Bridge.
They never mention that the west harbour site is visible from the MacQuesten Bridge after exiting Highway 403 at York Boulevard.
It does not take an expert to see that Bob Young and Scott Mitchell have publicly ignored any positive attributes the west harbour site has in terms of visibility.
Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2010-09-12 12:08:55
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 15:52:59
As I say Ren, and I'm not disputing your points, we need some forecasting figures for visibility done by independent unbiased experts on a number of sites before any conclusions can be made that might be accurate. I haven't seen these from either the city or the TigerCats.
By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 17:21:42
Lets just say this, banner advertising on the internet stopped paying site per view/impression YEARS ago because they knew it was unrealistic, and simply seeing a name mean't really not much at all, particularly when you don't know the target audience.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 17:56:36
Interesting you mention that Robbie because a number of people have said the CFL is worse off with a focused sports cable network like TSN carrying all the games now compared with yesteryear when CBC and CTV carried the games "for free". But what has turned out has been a better deal for the CFL, people who watch games on TSN are targeted focused audiences for the games and advertisers are paying more than they would, so I'm told, for games that were free on CBC and CTV and where a lot of the audience was just tuning in for nothing better to watch. Like the NHL on CBC, people who don't have cable might watch the games and numbers are higher but the quality of the numbers isn't as good because people aren't focused. When you're paying a cable bill, you tend to watch more of what you want and stay with it, and advertisers know that.
I personally am not one for giving games for free on networks like CBC that you can get on bunny ears probably in 98 percent of the country. News, Canadian documentaries, amateur theatre, sports, arts no problem but professional stuff, no, should be targeted I think.
So say 300,00 viewers for a CFL game or Blue Jays game on TSN or Sportsnet is just as good advertiser wise as 600,000 on CBC sort of thing.
I'm off on a tangent now though.
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-12 16:59:50
By Readalong (anonymous) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 18:21:55
@ Fred Street: 4 x 10 x 50 = 2000 hours. You dropped a zero.
We could stand to drop a few more zeroes on council, IMHO.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 20:27:12
Ok, my somewhat thick brain finally remembered the term - narrow casting.
Apologies, again sort of off on the tangent thing but threads get like that sometimes... ;)
Hey,we are all one, remember - I don't agree with everything BY has said or promulgated either. No one is perfect or has all the answers.
And apologies if I've come across abrasive, when I get a few drinks in me, well, I can be abrasive I will admit, sorries, this is an excellent site for the good of Hamilton, Hamilton is one excellent city I will say!
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-12 19:29:28
By jason (registered) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 21:51:46
So say 300,00 viewers for a CFL game or Blue Jays game on TSN or Sportsnet is just as good advertiser wise as 600,000 on CBC sort of thing.
So you're hypothetically saying that there could be 300,000 people watching a game on CBC simply because it's on 'free' tv? Even though they hate football? Should we toss out CBC's hockey ratings then? Are there hundreds of thousands of people watching hockey night in Canada bored out of their minds simply because it's on free tv?
And even if that was true, why would an advertiser care? How many commercials during a football game have anything to do with football, or even sports?
By jason (registered) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 21:55:37
by the way, I'm a huge sports guy and I don't have cable. So guess what? I watch NFL every week and couldn't tell you the last time I saw a CFL game. For this fan, the move to pay TV has lost the CFL one fan, even though I follow the Cats and the league online, I rarely get to see a game. This doesn't bode well for the CFL having any hope of retaining my kids as fans when they get older. Even at 7 and 4 though they can already rattle off the 'Let's go Bills' song because they are exposed to it. Free TV is one of the biggest reasons why the NFL is number one by a mile in North America now. I used to be a HUGE baseball fan. I remember running home from school to catch playoff games which started at 3. Now they don't come on till 9 or 9:30 at night and never on free TV in Canada. Sadly, I routinely miss entire playoff years of one of my favourite sports due to bad decisions by the league. My kids have NEVER seen a baseball game. Ever. Think they'll grow up to be fans??
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 12, 2010 at 23:26:45
Narrow casting, if you understand what it is, jason although I probably exaggerated somewhat with the 300,000 - 600,000. You were probably never much of a CFL fan to begin with, only NFL is my guess. The quality of the fan who watches a sport on a cable channell they pay for is what narrowcasting is all about and what the advertisers understand. Do you subscribe to TSN because CFL games sometimes get over 1 million viewers so a lot of people have access to TSN in this country and pay for it? All CFL games are now on national TV and TSN does so much better of a job than CBC used to do and CBC often didn't even carry games until Sept. rolled around.
CFL games sometimes outdraw NFL games if you check the ratings and really the "mighty NFL" with all the American TV exposure and media coverage and hype should be outdrawing the CFL by at least 4-1 with just about every game. The SB has actually in some years not even outdrawn the Grey Cup as weird as that sounds with all the American hype it gets around here.
Although I do miss Chris Walby. ;) ;)
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-12 22:29:20
By Box J Crackpipe (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 08:44:07
This all kind of goes to the fact that one of the reasons CFL franchises are so hard done by is that the league's TV licensing hasn't been much of a moneymaker (certainly not in comparison to the NFL, the Cats' usual reference point for naming rights analogies). I would asume that televised games eat into gate and concession profits (hence the blackout options), but does anyone really find that to be a lucrative trade-off other than the league? Wasn't TV revenue a key reason for the ill-fated US expansion effort?
And at the end of the day, isn't this financial sob story about a team's inability to forge meaningful relationships with its host community, despite a rich and lengthy history? If local private sector backers believed in the team, they would be advertising like mad, standing shoulder to shoulder with the franchise as corporate peers. If football fans felt that the team was capable of a win-loss ratio more inspiring than a coin toss, maybe they would be able to swallow ticket price hikes without a murmur. But that's not the case. The Cats' have unleashed a PR fiasco that has been as eloquent as a kick to the groin and armed themselves with a "business plan" that's more protozoan than protean. If they were hoping to reinvent their core audience, they've probably succeeded. I've lost track of the number of fans who are depressed by the miserly reality of a team that they once idealized.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 10:47:44
Well Box J, corporate sponsorship for the TigerCats isn't what it could be I'm sure but it's more than just a win-loss record. I remember going to games when we were winning in the late 90's and there were around 13,000 there. Things are better now since we have more solid ownership here and in Toronto. But the CFL suffers an image problem in Hamilton among corporate types and part of that could be IWS I'm sure.
The CFL is much more than Hamilton though and as I say, the competition for football fans dollars is tough with Buffalo so close and Detroit as well. Hamilton may not be the best place for a CFL franchise any longer especially if corporations around here don't want to be associated.
Yes, it would be nice if more revenue came from TV money but for a strictly Canadian league, the audience is limited. The NFL is a television bonanza especially south of the border where there is 10 times the pop of Canada in a country that is very focused on football. To be honest, I'm surprised the CFL has survived this long, pleasantly surprised though as I enjoy following the league and going to games and seeing our Grey Cup championship get some hype even if it's just a Canadian thing for the most part, which is fine by me.
We need to try and respect more Canadian things, not just in sports but in other aspects of life and entertainment as well even if they are on a more moderate scale than the US.
I know you don't want me to say it but the best business plan for the CFL in this area is a stadium for one team right beside the QEW or 401 that has a lot of parking and easy highway access. That may not be progressive from an ecological point of view, granted, but business-wise for the league, it makes a lot of sense.
By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2010 at 14:00:42
The Tiger Cats only had 3 winning seasons in the 1990s. Those being '93, '98 and '99 when they won the Grey Cup. The next decade did not get any better. For anyone to say that the 90s were a glory time and attendance was still poor is disengenuous at best. The team stunk. Period. It continues to lay eggs on the field on a regular basis. This past weekend with first place on the line is the perfect example. To not make a correlation between on field performance and attendance and sponsorship is akin to whistling past the dark alley way. The stadium location matters not. People and corporations want to back a winner. Wasting millions of taxpayer dollars to put a stadium near a highway because someone thinks it will improve attendance is a ridiculous notion. If the team still stinks, you are merely going to have an empty stadium near a highway.
By highwater (registered) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 14:06:32
If the team still stinks, you are merely going to have an empty stadium taking up valuable employment lands near a highway.
By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 15:09:39
CP yards here we come. Fitting for a process that has been all about railroading.
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 22:48:05
On Saturday Be T said "Ready for the next round? Listen up Monday morning, kiddies."
Another great prediction! Wow! Apparently, this is so secret, nobody even knows about it yet and it's almost Wednesday.
Oh, to have the inside track.
p.s. shhhhh...early tomorrow...the sun will rise in the East.
Mum's the word!
By andrewpmk (anonymous) | Posted September 16, 2010 at 12:56:58
Wait until the CN Hamilton station is reopened and daily GO train service to Grimsby/St. Catharines/Niagara Falls is up and running. Then the West Harbour site will seem much more attractive from the point of view of visibility. The reason that the naming rights for BMO Field are so valuable is because the area has BOTH highway AND GO Train visibility.
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