Sports

Bob Young on Stadium Location

By RTH Staff
Published May 06, 2010

Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young has posted an essay on the Ticats website explaining the team's position on the West Harbour location for a new football stadium.

Young argues that the West Harbour site is a case of "trying to play in the wrong stadium in the wrong part of town" and argues that the city selected the location without engaging "collaboration" with the Ticats as the major proposed tenant.

Young raises four objections to the West Harbour site:

He argues that the city's consultant report on the location was well-prepared but that the city had asked the wrong questions about the West Harbour's fitness as a location and made specific assumptions about sources of revenue that would require the Ticats to raise ticket prices.

He also makes a powerful personal admission:

I bought into the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a whole bunch of illogical personal reasons. They include my personal experience of having grown up in Hamilton until I was 10 and then being dragged around the world for the next 10 years. My answer to the question of "where are you from," no matter where I have been living ever since, has always been Hamilton.

I continue to have friends and family in Hamilton, and as you know I'm a passionate Tiger-Cat fan. So when the Tiger-Cats finished 1-17 and went bankrupt in 2003, I made the very silly emotional decision to put my money where my heart was.

Financially it has been one of the worst ideas I've ever had. No, scratch that - it has been easily the worst financial idea I've ever had. While we have trimmed the losses of the team every year we are still losing a huge number of dollars every year.

Young concludes that the Ticats can't get profitable because Ivor Wynne is simply not a viable stadium. "The only reason Hamilton has had a football team for the last 40 years is that a long line of foolish but wealthy and philanthropic citizens have been willing to pay the losses."

He closes the essay with a commitment to work with the city to find the best location based on "listen[ing] to the experts" - including the Ticats as future tenants.

48 Comments

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By Downtown ticat fan (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 11:53:07

I'd have more respect for this argument if Young's top choice wasn't the corner of QEW and Red Hill.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 11:54:01

I think Bob Young just unwittingly revealed this is all about him making money and nothing more.

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 11:58:32

If Bob Young wants a stadium in a location other than the one chosen by the city, then Bob Young should pay for it with no assistance from the city.

The 7 million in losses he is incurring now will seem like a pitance in comparison to what it will cost him to build and maintain a new stadium on his own.

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By Hamiltonthisis (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2010 at 12:32:37

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 12:42:44

That money belongs to Bob Young

No it doesn't. Taxpayer money belongs to the taxpayers.

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By RedDragoon (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 12:52:16

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By z jones (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:02:48

@RedDragon if not for Hamilton politicians there wouldn't BE a potential development opportunity. I don't see Bob Young trying to raise the cost of a stadium on the market. If it's such a great development opportunity, where are the investors??

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By JM (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:06:55

Bob mentions the "great success" of Percival Molson Stadium for the Alouettes in Montreal................................................... can someone tell me where this is located, and understand why the West Harbour Site is not that far off?!!?!?!!? I don't see directly Highway Access or Visibility there. And i've been there myself! (on a bixi!)

http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=percival%20...

JM

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:07:27

What a mess. Hamiltonian politicians screwing up another potential development opportunity.

Uh, no. West Harbour is a potential development opportunity, the RedHill/QEW site is a development black hole. The Chedoke site sits on escarpment land, and I'm sorry, but there is no 'Hamilton side' in Aldershot. Aldershot is in Burlington. I wish him lots of luck getting the City of Burlington to build him a stadium. It's a mess alright. Our blinkered, regressive business 'leaders' screwing up another potential development opportunity.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:26:12

That's the spirit highwater! Bob Young can talk tough but he's got no leverage. The City has all the cards, it's not like Young can pick up his toys and go somewhere else.

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By frank (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:34:23

So because someone calls himself a part of long line of "foolish but wealthy and philanthropic citizens have been willing to pay the losses" he can ask for a moratorium on development?

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By alrathbone (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:36:54

Bob Young's essay makes a whole bunch of decent to semi-decent points but yet draws a bad conclusion.

My conclusion: Downtown by Hess Village is a better site than West Harbour. His: Despite the fact I said we need to build an "entertainment district" I want a location in the middle of nowhere.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:42:03

He does have some valid points. Perhaps West Harbour isn't the best spot for a CFL team, but it isn't worse than the other options. Sometimes you have to go with the lesser of 2 evils. A stadium at West Harbour stands a better chance longterm. Perhaps a CFL team with limited access and no guaranteed transit doesn't.

highwater said:

"I'm sorry, but there is no 'Hamilton side' in Aldershot."

Well said.

Comment edited by synxer on 2010-05-06 12:44:55

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:42:20

for the CFL to remain in Hamilton we need him, whether you like it or not, and must respect his decision regarding HIS ball club. - Hamiltonthisis

Sure, but don't confuse that with the city's decision regarding the stadium.

If Bob doesn't like the stadium and he doesn’t think it is right for HIS ball club, he can:

1) Begin paying the full costs of maintaining Ivor Wynne

2) Build his own stadium

Now, since he doesn't have the funds to do either of those things maybe Bob should be happy the invite to participate in the Pan Am games stadium was extended to him at all; rather than acting like a spoiled-brat fully aware that a rabid Ti-Cat loyalist crowd will back-up his ridiculous position for fear of losing their precious team. He is playing the city and the fans for his own self-serving purposes.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:48:05

Bob Young's essay makes a whole bunch of decent to semi-decent points...

Most of his points are easily refuted. I'd do it myself, but I'm madly packing for a trip out of town, and I'm sure greater minds than mine would do a better job. Actually I think this calls for another episode of Meredith and Jarod's 'Really?'

I mean, the Ticats are more entitled to the naming rights than the city because the city has no 'experience' selling naming rights? Really?

Comment edited by highwater on 2010-05-06 12:49:13

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:51:50

He is playing the city and the fans for his own self-serving purposes.

Well, he's not playing this fan. He's lost me and the three future Ticat fans I was raising.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:52:01

Since Young himself admits the Ticats can't sell the naming rights at Ivor Wynne, it doesn't look like they have any "experience" selling naming rights either...

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By Hammerhead1 (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:53:04

The West Harbour location has much better access for incoming traffic than Ivor Wynne. It also has many more parking spots within walking distance than Ivor Wynne. In addition, I would argue, much better visibility for naming rights than Ivor Wynne. In addition there are many more houses within a stones throw of Ivor Wynne than the West Harbour location.

Not to mention the potential to spur further business in the precinct that will benefit the city and other businesses.

Sorry Bob, your reasoning doesn't make sense and it's not all about the Ti-Cats.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 13:59:54

Well, he's not playing this fan. He's lost me and the three future Ticat fans I was raising. - highwater

Ditto Highwater!

For a team with already one of the lowest attendance numbers in the league I think Bob better be careful here. His grandstanding is not going to earn him more fans, but it appears to be driving some away.

Comment edited by Kiely on 2010-05-06 13:03:31

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By location (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 14:13:49

West Harbour makes better sense for the city and that is what counts. I might have more faith in Young's ability to pick a location if he hadn't placed the ticat office and store in such an invisible spot downtown. I am suprised it is still open as I bet most of the city could not find it even with the address.
the west Harbour is also more accessible to more residents and is not hard to find. It also uses existing land resources which is important with so much development ripping up new land in the fringes which are poorly support by transit. There is also more potential to help the city's core and north end by helping showcase the west Harbour and surrounding area.

Frankly the ticats have yet to prove they are such an asset that we need to bow to their demands for the stadium to succeed. I think if he chose to work with the city he could have a much greater impact on the impending stadium than standing back and complaining. Hamilton has carried the limp team long enough.

Besides according to their own marketing the cats themselves seem to like the core just south of the harbour. Isn't that where the "tiger" was spotted?

The only real downside I guess would be the potential loss of the occasional fan to the alligator someone set loose in the harbour :)

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 14:22:41

The only real downside I guess would be the potential loss of the occasional fan to the alligator someone set loose in the harbour :) - loaction

WOO-HOO!!! Go Gators!!!!

: )

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By Why do we do this (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 14:34:18

here we go again, the city screwing up yet another developement.
Its never ending. We cant get one project off the ground here

The west harbour is pictuesque, it was designed by a non - Hamilton person thankfully and it adds one more parcel of old industrial land to the waterfront area.

Why does everything here take forever .Besides this is Toronto's Pan Am games not hamilton's. Where do we get off changing already approved plans.

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By valour (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2010 at 14:39:44

I don’t really understand the parking issue. I mean half of downtown Hamilton is a parking lot already.

And I don’t mean to stereo-type, but have you seen the average Ticats fan? They could certainly use a short 15 minute walk to the game. And I should add, a good portion of them stumble out of the game and into their 1986 Chevrolet rust buckets, ready to swerve their way home. Is obese drunk driving really something that should be encouraged?

As for visibility for the sponsor…. Buy a billboard on the QEW. Or better yet, sponsor a team that wins a game once in a while.

This shouldn’t even be a consideration. In fact, I am still trying to figure out why this stadium is not by default named something like “Hamilton Pan-Am Place”. We are the ones paying for it, why sell its namesake to some giant company that has nothing to do with the city or the Pan-Am games for a drop in the bucket of its construction costs.

Also, why should the Ticats have any say in where the stadium is located anyways? Are they competing in the Pan-Am games? Are they covering the majority of the construction costs?

Why do the Ticats feel that the city should have to choose from their list of options anyways when the city clearly gave the Ticats two options. Contribute, or build your own stadium. Seems simple to me.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 14:52:04

more than half of downtown is a parking lot. Go look at the new posters at History and Heritage as well as Mixed Media showing the demolished buildings downtown.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 15:17:02

more than half of downtown is a parking lot - jason

Yep, Ryan provided this link in another topic thread, but it is applicable here too.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 15:30:58

I do not like the idea of a stadium being built for the Pan Am games, as I feel too many in our community are struggling, funds should be diverted to helping them find their way.

Beside that rant, I feel that the West Harbour is the best location. It is near the waterfront, shuttle buses could be running. There are lots of bars and restaurants within walking, you can walk from the Go station, it is not that far really. People who go to the games are drinking, thus should not be driving. There are tons of parking spaces downtown, again not that far to walk.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 15:54:07

more than half of downtown is a parking lot.

Irrelevant. That's much too far for Ticat fans and the people from Ancaster to waddle.

Comment edited by highwater on 2010-05-06 14:55:12

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 15:59:49

I for one am a fan of the Tiger-Cats, but I do not want our stadium to become a glorified billboard. I will not pay for season tickets at Confederation Park, espcially when things like this http://www.thespec.com/article/748426 are happening there. I also don't think anyone in the city of Hamilton supports an Aldershot location (Hamilton side? Over the RBC?). I'd be open to a location over Chedoke golf course, provided the exsisting Rheem lands expanded Bayfront Park's greenspace, but I can see a lot of objections to a stadium over exsisting greenspace.

It's a shame Hamilton cemetary is where it is, a stadium over Kay Drage Park would be ideal. Anyways, I'm siding with the Mayor on this one, I just hope the city doesn't end up losing the Ti-Cats as a result.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 16:12:14

I do not like the idea of a stadium being built for the Pan Am games, as I feel too many in our community are struggling, funds should be diverted to helping them find their way. - grassroots

I'm not a big fan of these sorts of international feel-good-event tax dollar vacuums either grassroots. But if all goes as planned and Ivor Wynne is decommissioned there is talk of a community centre being built in its place which could help the less fortunate in our community... grasping at straws a little here I realise but sometimes you need to find the silver-lining.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 16:21:54

Kiely: That would be a great idea to build a community center. A place where community can come and work together.

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By Jarod (registered) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 17:17:16

We were drawing up a storyboard for another Really?!? w/ M&J but we couldn't figure out which background to use for the setting...West Harbor? Chedoke? Red Hill?

...jokes of course.

Personally, I love the Ti-Cats. They had a decent season last year, and I started watching football for the first year ever. I love going to the games (though I've only ACTUALLY gone to one...but I've thought deeply and even lost some sleep contemplating another visit).

Here's the but. And I think it's a big one. If I were a player on this team, and the owner of this team said that buying the team that I played on was the worst financial mistake he's ever made...and I wasn't a pacifist, or a ridiculously nice person (because we all know I am) I might be inclined to meet him in the parking lot...you know?

Doesn't he make it sound like every time they get a paycheck that he's sitting in some back room brooding over the fact that he doesn't have 5 pairs of diamond grills like the other team owners.

I might punch him in the nose.

I won't. I never would...but dag yo, way to inspire your team.

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By Ivor Whine (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2010 at 20:17:26

It's not the same when you can't see the Segway, but Bob does a passable Gob Bluth impression. "The worst financial idea I've ever had" is really "I've made a huge mistake". Coincidentally, that's the real reason the team is holding up this project -- as an homage to Arrested Development.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 08:11:19

I think we can all agree, the new stadium will be great at the new Windermere site.

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By JM (registered) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 08:31:17

"I think we can all agree, the new stadium will be great at the new Windermere site."

...remind me to bring my asthma puffer, or one of those white face masks from the hospital, next time i go to a game then!

JM

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 08:42:50

JM, I was thinking more along the lines of this...

http://www.freedomgrill.com/images/Eileen-tailgating-party2.jpg

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 08:46:00

@Ivor Whine There's always money in the banana stand.

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By JM (registered) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 08:48:26

A Smith....i now see where you're priorities lay, and think a little more highly of you! (has this always been your case? why have you been hiding this concept?) Don't worry - this idea won't be dead at the West Harbour Site. Bayfront park could EASILY turn into a big tailgate party - the parking lot there could be "reserved" with a quick walk over to Bay and Stuart - just don't get distracted, you might trip haha!

JM

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By z jones (registered) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 08:55:36

@nobrainer COME ON!!

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By race_to_the_bottom (anonymous) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 09:16:50

Mayors speech on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK90U5FE0ps

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 09:19:36

@nobrainer & z jones

Bob Young may not get naming rights for the stadium but if he's smart he'll keep the animation rights to his Mr. PanAmCashGrabber character.

Comment edited by UrbanRenaissance on 2010-05-07 08:41:48

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 09:24:20

Kiely: That would be a great idea to build a community center. A place where community can come and work together. - grassroots

It would be a good thing, Bernie Morelli is trying to get a commitment from council to make it happen. I still don't know if that is enough reason to vote for him or not though??? I'll have to see what his competition thinks. I would like some new people and ideas on council, but Councilor Morelli has made a good proposal in this case.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 09:25:35

Kiely: Great post on the globe and mail today

Comment edited by grassroots are the way forward on 2010-05-07 08:26:38

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 10:19:44

The Spec has a poll up I'd advise everyone to vote and comment on the issue to let Bob Young know what we think.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 11:15:23

Kiely: Great post on the globe and mail today - grassroots

Did you read that?

The G&M has really ticked me off (what else is new : ) with their superficial, biased and disingenuous coverage of this issue.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 07, 2010 at 14:23:40

Kiely: Yes I go into the globe and mail to read peoples comments, the articles I just scan. I saw the ti cat article and went into to read the comments and I saw yours.

The article had nothing to do with what is really going on but then what do you expect from MSM.

Comment edited by grassroots are the way forward on 2010-05-07 13:24:34

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By Ivor Whine (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2010 at 06:07:40

Many onlookers seem taken aback by Bob Young's apparent volte face on the Pan Am Stadium, but it reminded me of another ascerbic comedy (what is it with this city?), Curb Your Enthusiasm. There's a bit in the third season where Larry David addresses "these guys with the caps," hiring a bald chef (speaking of LDs, and not that it's related or anything, but it's funny that Young came on during the DiIanni administration). Maybe file this under "The Big Reveal":

"The bearded bald man annoys me. That's not a proud bald man. That's a bald guy who's trying to enhance. He wants to deflect attention away from the head to the chin. It's subtle, but the message is the same: I'm bald and I don't like it. Most of my contempt, however, is reserved for the bald men who wear the cap. They must be kidding. They walk around with their baseball caps on, hair sticking out in the back, and, yes, they look good. People are always telling bald men how good they look in hats. Of course they do. Why wouldn't they? But what happens when they take that cap off? Have you ever seen the looks on people's faces when the bald man takes the cap off? They're dumbfounded. And the cap will come off. That's a given. Say you meet a woman in the park with your hat on. You walk her home. You call her up for a date -- now what, bald man? Are going to wear the hat on the date? What do you intend to do? You've got a dilemma. You made your first mistake by going out with the hat. You think she's going to like it when you show up at her door with your chrome? What she's going to be is disappointed that you misrepresented yourself. You've tried to come off as a hair guy. You've lied, bald man."

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By frank (registered) | Posted May 12, 2010 at 12:39:44

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By PROGRESSIVE (anonymous) | Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:57:18

wow

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