Sports

Young: Ticats 'Will' Invest in Stadium

By Ryan McGreal
Published October 07, 2010

In his most recent Caretaker Update, Hamilton Tiger-Cat owner Bob Young promised supporters that the team "can" and "will" invest in the proposed Pan Am stadium at the CP Rail Yard on Aberdeen Ave and Longwood Rd.

We can, and we will be, investing in the Stadium and working with the City to find new revenue streams to ensure the Stadium contributes enough economic activity (and the resulting tax revenue) to the City of Hamilton that the Stadium more than justifies the City's investment.

The city committed $50 million of the Future Fund toward a Pan Am stadium, and upper levels of government have pitched in an additional $75 million for a total of $125 million. A 25,000 seat stadium at the CP Rail Yard is expected to cost $160 million, plus another $30-40 million to purchase the land, relocate the current tenants and remediate site contamination from decades of industrial use.

The total funding gap is somewhere around $65-75 million. This does not include the cost of a new highway 403 interchange at Main St. W. and widening of Aberdeen Ave to accommodate game-day traffic, as recommended in a traffic study commissioned by the City.

The Ticats have pledged to spend $15 million to buy part of the CP Rail Yard property to build a hotel/conference centre, but have not yet pledged any money toward the stadium itself.

In his letter, Young argues that successful stadiums rely on both automobile and public transit to get fans in and out of games in a timely fashion. He writes:

We need to ensure Stadium customers have as many options as possible, the more the better, from walking, to bicycling, to busing, to riding on a future LRT, or driving themselves and their friends to the Stadium. All of this will be possible at the CP railyards.

The current site proposal would include 2,500 parking spots next to the stadium, with another 1,500 spots available at the nearby McMaster Innovation Park lots, for a total of 4,000 spots.

Previously, the Ticats insisted that 4,700 parking spots in walking distance around the city's preferred West Harbour site would not be enough, and campaigned instead for an East Mountain location that could accommodate 6-7,000 parking spots.

Today's Spectator reports that the Ticats will present the details of their financial commitment to Councillors at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, October 12.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 07, 2010 at 11:10:33

No need for details or hard numbers, it's not like the decision date is any time soon. "Just trust us!"

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By frank (registered) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 11:35:49

It doesn't matter if he plans on investing. There's already a 35 million shortfall and that doesn't include acquisition, remediation and relocation all of which will most likely increase the cost by a significant amount and that only gets a lame-a$$ stadium! Can it already! If it goes through we get a stadium in a location that's based on lies and sucks a big hairy wet one! Nothing showcases a city like a lame stadium built for bottom dollar...(sarcasm). End the process or stand up and tell BY to fly a kite or play at WH. Either way, building a half-assed stadium just because BY didn't like the original location and then handing over the keys to him is NOT something I support AT ALL!!!!

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 12:54:03

Public support for the project is wavering - probably because people are sick and tired of it...so he is back to the 'aw shucks folks, gosh golly gee' schitk again.

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By scoop9 (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 13:03:11

Literally sickens me to think that our City Council could actually vote yes to build at the Aberdeen site. I would love to know how they are planning on coming up with the extra money. Can they actually vote yes, and say they will worry about the money later? I never thought the day would come when I would say that Sam Merulla is actually making sense these days.

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By d.knox (registered) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 13:29:42

Brian McHattie just released his ward update giving a great overview of how things stand now and making his intentions known - he's going to recommend that we renovate IW (because the Ticats have refused to play at the WH site so there's no point in pursuing that).

I hope the other councillors have had enough time to consider all of their options and have come to realize that if we are getting a bare bones, nobody's-first-choice-location-anyway stadium with a breath-taking price tag, that we have come full circle in the decision making process back to where we started. IW is a stadium in the heart of a neighbourhood that cares about this team. It should stay there.

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By DBC (registered) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 13:59:17

I cannot believe this site is even being considered.

Can't see it happening in the end. Kirkendall South NA hasn't even waded into the fray yet.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 17:45:33

I'm on a "good feel" mood for the RTH site right now so I won't respond to the first post here.

Ryan, let it play out a bit more please, that's all I ask before you insinuate that since BY hasn't yet pledged any money towards the actual stadium yet that therefore that is "bad" in some respects. Look, these are negotiations between some heavy weights plus you have the Feds and HOSTCO. Just let it play out a bit please, that is all I ask of you.

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By 4700 spots in WH??? (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 18:28:36

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 21:50:26

Ryan,

What you're missing is that the 4700 spots were not on-site, therefore the revenue wouldn't be generated for the 'Cats. There's your difference.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2010 at 01:12:11

let it play out a bit more please, that's all I ask before you insinuate that since BY hasn't yet pledged any money towards the actual stadium yet that therefore that is "bad" in some respects.

in what respects is it not bad? Everybody has committed money except the main beneficiary of the project.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2010 at 08:48:41

Your "walking distance" 4700 number compares to what? You would need to include all the Mac campus parking spots to do a fair comparison. Please compare apples to apples next time.

McMaster's nearest large parking lot is more than 2km away from the Innovation Park; most spots are much further. You are introducing pears ... perhaps kumquats.

Granted, the rail bridge over the 403 would be a shortcut, but it's still a longer walk than Copps to the West Harbour.

Comment edited by moylek on 2010-10-08 07:50:56

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 09:12:04

Well I'm glad he's finally willing to put forward some money for the actual stadium. I think this is the first time he's ever been promissing stadium money, isn't it?

That said, I will believe it when I see it.

Also, we better not let them manage this stadium. Make it part of the management deal the Katz Group is looking at for Copps/Convention Centre. Don't let the Ti-cats manage it.

DON'T LET THE TI-CATS MANAGE IT!

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By Another Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 10:22:02

Great News!!!!

Let's get going on this NOW

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By joejoe (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 12:21:21

I don't get this...What other business would be subsidized in this way? If I was a restauranteur, would I go to the Province and the municipality and ask for free money to open my restaurant? No! I'd have to cover all the costs myself and pay tons of permit fees on top. Just look at what's happening to the Pearl folks.

It seems the only businesses that get handouts are developers and stadium owners. Why?!!!

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 13:55:22

Robert, what do you know about Mr. Katz and the way he operates? He's not around here now. For all we know, he might be a whole heck of a lot worse, should he ever come which is highly debatable at this point, than BY or the TigerCats would ever be at managing a facility.

joejoe, the city can back out of the PanAms if they want. Remember it is the city that both decided to go after PanAm Games events at a new stadium and also decided to negotiate with the TigerCats at some point about their new stadium.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 14:15:52

Why not let the Ti-Cats manage it?

I'm all for the city and the tiger-cats getting the best deal they both can.

There's not reason they can't be partners that both prosper from this, is there?

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 14:42:24

Actually the parking spots don't even exist unless you count hundreds if not thousands of private parking spaces that cannot be assumed to be available. Additionally its really about the number of on site parking spaces within a very short walking distance for the convenience of those who insist that its important. IWS illustrates that making it difficult to access a stadium and improving public transit options doesn't increase attendance but quite the opposite. The 3 biggest complaints I hear about attending Tiger Cats games are that its to hard to find parking, the seating kills my back and butt, the team sucks. A new stadium has to fix more than one (seating) of those problems to even maintain the fanbase that exists. If there is to be an increase in the fanbase even with only locals all 3 need to be addressed. If you want to attract more people from out of town you also have to make it easy to find and in a visually appealing area to the suburban fan

Comment edited by turbo on 2010-10-08 13:44:00

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 15:43:33

you guys can disagree all you like with the fundamentals of whats good for the city in any stadium project but those are the fundamental truths from the Tigercats point of view. They really are not debatable from that point of view. Whats needed is an ability to mitigate those concerns not dismiss them if a stadium project with the Tigercats participating is going to take place. If those concerns cannot be mitigated there will be no Tigercat participation. Likewise if the cities concerns cannot be mitigated with some form of compensation from the Tigercats or some other source there will no consideration to the Tigercats needs and the city will have to decide if they want to move forward at all with a smaller stadium project providing there is even any HOSTCO funding at all

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2010 at 15:48:30

Since WH is no-go, I'm inclined to agree with McHattie. Ivor Wynne seems to be the only urban location where they can build a real on-site parking lot like Bob Young wants (thanks to Scott Park), without sacrificing important hamilton business development. And Ivor Wynne has pretty good access to traffic, actually... since the city is keeping the Main/Cannon corridor 1-way, plus it isn't far from the Burlington Street... highway... bridge... things.

Let's be honest - the only reason people don't want Ivor Wynne is that it's in such a horribly economically depressed area that a) the city sees the region as beyond saving, and b) the team doesn't want to be anywhere near it.

Plus it's not visible from the expressway. And you can't hold concerts there because it's right in the heart of a residential community.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2010-10-08 14:50:25

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 16:27:34

Pretend Toronto never bid for the Pan Ams.

Ok? In that headspace?

What would have happened instead? Would the Ti-Cats have stayed at IWS? Would the Ti-Cats have gone bankrupt?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2010 at 17:25:31

Probably a slow, downward slide into bankruptcy is my guess. Eventually Bob Young would be unwilling or unable to keep shovelling money into the furnace and call it a day.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 17:30:47

Right now the TigerCats probably wouldn't exist if it weren't for Bob Young. Now some might argue that the best thing for Hamilton would be to lose the TigerCats altogether. That is a whole different conversation though.

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By MarkWhittle (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2010 at 17:35:15

Here's the latest Pan-Am Stadium report going before council next week.

http://hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/18CCE1E1...

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 17:59:06

So...

If you had a reputation to uphold and if you were running a business that was headed towards a slow and steady route towards bankruptcy and didn't want people to think this was your fault... what would you do?

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 18:15:59

From the report:

"In addition to developing a portion of the site, the Tiger-Cats have agreed to make an $8,000,000 to $10,000,000 capital contribution to the stadium.

The Tiger-Cats have also agreed to pay a yearly amount of $200,000, through a ticket surcharge, for a capital reserve"

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 18:45:52

The $8-$ 10 million that Bob Young is willing to contribute to the capital cost isn't nearly enough to cover the increased expense of building on the CP lands. If he wants it on the rail lands he is going to have to contribute $25-$30 million. At least half the extra expense of building there.

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By Jason (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 19:08:30

What a joke. It says the cats will operate the stadium annually with no risk to the city. How kind of them. Oh ya, next point- the city will pay the Cats an annual fee of $300,000 to mitigate any risk.
Never thought I'd say this, but Sam Merulla you were so right.

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 19:21:51

I just read the whole report. There is no way council is going to approve this deal. The Ticat contribution is $1 million per year over 10 years for capital cost. It sounds like rent to me. Then they want the city to pay them 300k to run the place.

I will be urging my councillor to vote this proposal down. It is just as bad a deal if not worse than what the Ticats were proposing for the EM.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 19:22:33

Why is Council bending to BY's will?

He is offering negligible amounts of money and demanding huge concessions. What is his purpose? To make money off of the things that are not the 'Cats, primarily parking and food, but I'm sure he'll come up with other ways to turn a profit.

What is WH missing? Parking owned by the 'Cats. What does it have too much of? Food services not owned by the 'Cats.

What does the CP site have? Parking owned by the 'Cats! No restaurants! Bob's World being built next door!

If we are using public money to fund this thing it should benefit the public, not just BY. If BY wants to create his revenue streams he's more than welcome to it. He just has to act like any other business owner and build his own stadium. Why is this a difficult concept to grasp for people? Can any 'Cat fan explain why this isn't logical?

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By omro (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 21:24:50

Why don't the council simply buy the Ti-Cats and put them in West Harbour or keep them at Ivor Wynne. It would be cheaper and less agonising than this constant to and fro.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 09:46:25

1 Bob Young isn't asking for Longwood, its the city that insists the stadium is located downtown sites all of which have the additional costs of land acquisition and remediation 2. EM was a good deal cheaper if you factor out the road and sewr costs that are going to happen anyway and are already in the long term capital budget. It was really a matter of changing the priority list on these already approved capital investments rather than an additional cost 3. Confederation Park is STILL Bob Young's prefered choice and since Collins proposal involves commercial development that will pave the park at any rate its hypocritical to suggest a stadium is bad for the park. 4. Since Confederation Park was removed from consideration it has not been mention once by the Tigercats 5. Rheem has been removed from the list of places that the city can consider if they want the Tigercats to participate thus it should be removed altogether since HOSTCO will not fund a large stadium without them. 6. Longwood is a poor site from every financial perspective but its one heck of a city building project that will partner well with Innovation Park if there is the will and funding to pay for it 7. It is incongruent to suggest that the Rheem property was already purchased and that all land acquisition costs on other sites are extra costs. The fact is Rheem property acquisition and expropriation costs in that area would have been a cost to the stadium and they are not a cost towards the new stadium but rather a speculative venture that didn't work out as planned because the city didn't involve all parties in stadium discussions from the beginning

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By highwater (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 09:50:30

The fact is Rheem property acquisition and expropriation costs in that area would have been a cost to the stadium and they are not a cost towards the new stadium but rather a speculative venture that didn't work out as planned because the city didn't involve all parties in stadium discussions from the beginning

^Zombie lie that even Bob Young isn't telling any more.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 09:52:23

Ticats in IWS might be possible if the city comes up with 100% of the costs of stadium renovations and keeps the stadium agreement with the TigerCats intact going forward. I really don't see that as a win for anyone but rather a loss for everyone. Its probably the cheapest option but its just throwing good money after bad and the Tigercats will likely fold quickly going that directinon leaving the city with an unused stadium and a big bill to pay. WH simply can't happen. The city would have to pay over $100M to make it work since there is no funding beyond a 5,000 seat highschool type stadium and even that isn't guarenteed. There really is no good option here because a new stadium is going to cost more than we can really afford and the old stadium isn't worth saving if its going to cost $30-90M

Comment edited by turbo on 2010-10-09 08:53:50

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 09:55:59

Sorry but the Rheem property acquisition has to be included as a cost. The city did not own it they purchased it for the stadium. Not to include land acquisition there and to include it elsewhere is dishonest

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 10:38:13

I would love to move my company to Hamilton, but only if the city buys land for me, builds me the office and subsidizes my operating costs

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 10:46:38

No problem, You'll have to be prepared to invest $30 M over 7 years and accept a negative income outcome at that business going forward before you get that chance. If you want to say that the Tigercats aren't worth any city investment or their not worth the expense being taken on then you might have a point. Your sarcasm not only is inaccurate it does nothing to actually say what you think the city should do. I am guessing you mean the city should not build a stadium but thats not what comes across.

Comment edited by turbo on 2010-10-09 09:49:37

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 11:18:59

@ turbo: "Confederation Park is STILL Bob Young's prefered choice"

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/265348--tiger-cats-will-invest-in-new-stadium:

“This site would be his third choice, after Aldershot and Confederation Park.”

Burlington is higher on his wish list than the CP yards. And why not – it's not as if the cost of real estate or the source of funding is any of his concern.



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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 11:35:35

Yes I know Confed is his site, thus he did not choose Longwood the city presented it to him, specifically Lloyd Ferguson

Comment edited by turbo on 2010-10-09 10:36:08

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 12:37:05

Turbo - if you want the city to support a failing business. Fine. However, they should be owned by the community that supports them, like the Roughriders.

Honestly - if they are going to invest federal and provincial money into the city, I would see it have spin off economic benefits for more than Bob Young. I don't see anything other than West Harbor or a renovation of Ivor Wynne having any benefit for this community beyond using tax dollars to keep Bob Young happy.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 13:05:38

the community ownership is fair comment Eugene. Unfortunately for your argument to be considered we'll also have to consider that the city has had 4 opportunities to purchase the team in the last 30 years including the time Bob Young made the purchase. I don't agree with community ownership for various reasons but thats an entirely different debate. The part about making attacks on Bob Young is unfair and offensive because frankly if you wanted to make Bob Young happy it wouldn't be at Longwood either

Comment edited by turbo on 2010-10-09 12:12:39

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 14:11:11

If the city had known Bob Young would one day hold them to ransom and make them a laughing stock, cost them the track and field events and that funding and a chance to show the Canadian stage that Hamilton is a city worth investing in, because here things get done, they would have bought the Ti-Cats when then had the chance.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 14:15:19

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Comment edited by turbo on 2010-10-09 13:17:03

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 14:30:26

As I understand things WH was the original choice for the common wealth games bid. The Ti-cats had plenty of time to object to that location years earlier.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 15:39:42

there's no point in repeating the same facts over and over and over when people aren't interested in the facts.

The Cats sat in the room in Feb when council ratified the WH and it was all smiles, hugs and handshakes.
They had no problem with WH until some political games started being played behind the scenes.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 09, 2010 at 17:27:51

if you wanted to make Bob Young happy it wouldn't be at Longwood either

Bob Young told me back in mid-July that his personal favourite site location would be in the Aberdeen/Longwood area.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 23:05:45

Accually you didn't quote Bob Young saying that in the article. The fact is that Confederation Park is his preferred choice but there is no point in him belabouring it. That boat like the Rheem site has sailed. Under the same set of cicumstances Longwood is the city's preferred site. The real difference between the 2 parties is that Bob Young has accepted that he cannot get his preferred site and has moved on while the city stubbornly hangs onto the belief that the Rheem site can be made to work

Comment edited by turbo on 2010-10-09 22:10:39

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 23:36:52

I think that the city, at least certain counciilors, are holding onto Rheem for a few reasons, one being that they feel the TigerCats will have to cave and go along with it because in their minds they really have no other choice. And to show loyalty to the Mayor regardless.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 23:37:30

Why is BY's opinion being given equal weight to that of the council?

If he were investing equivalent amounts, fair enough, but he's coughing up a fraction of the capital, and then only grudgingly.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 23:54:52

If you mean why is HOSTCO caring about the TigerCats I think it's because they want to see Hamilton get the best possible stadium achievable and that will not happen without some TigerCat involvement. That's what I think. As to how important that is to people I suppose that varies from individual to individual.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-10-09 22:55:46

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 10, 2010 at 01:09:10

The TigerCats already prevented Hamilton getting the best stadium possible by nixing the WH location, causing Hostco to move track and field elsewhere which will have reduced funding to Hamilton and embarrassed the city nationally.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted October 10, 2010 at 10:31:32

I'd have more respect for BY if he was actually planning on a significant investment in the stadium instead of the lands around it.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted October 10, 2010 at 10:57:22

The TigerCats nixed nothing. All they said is they won't be investing in a stadium, nor any investors because they can't find any, for a WH site. HOSTCO is still going to give money for Hamilton for a WH stadium if the city does end up deciding that. It's the city's choice here, it's their stadium afterall. Brandon, BY needs to make some money and football games are only 10 games a year. He has decided on the amount given, you might not think it's enough money, $10 mill combined with land purchase and cleanup that he's showing. Again, it's the city's choice, they can continue with WH if they want, the TigerCats really have no say in it, all they say is this is what we will provide for such and such a site.

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 10, 2010 at 12:42:05

I'd agree with you if BY had stood up during the initial WH talks

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted October 10, 2010 at 15:32:52

Earl, I'm not sure if you're shilling for BY or if you're just not sure what happened.

The 'Cats first said "We'll play anywhere". Then they said right at the last minute "We won't play at WH" which caught everyone by surprise. Since HostCo has said they want a legacy tenant after the games, that gives the 'Cats far too much leverage, which BY is using ruthlessly.

BY is apparently willing to invest $10M over 10 years, but is also demanding the naming rights to our stadium as well!

He's also willing to invest $15M AROUND the stadium to build Bob's World as a revenue generation tool. Again, I don't have a problem with him doing that if it's all his money and it's his stadium. Since it's public money at stake then it should benefit more than just BY. WH will benefit downtown by being nearby. For BY and his experts to say it won't is disingenuous due to his Bob's World investment.

If he doesn't like the income or losses from a sports team, then he shouldn't have the damned team in the first place.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted October 10, 2010 at 16:02:09

"We need to ensure Stadium customers have as many options as possible, the more the better, from walking, to bicycling, to busing, to riding on a future LRT, or driving themselves and their friends to the Stadium." - Bob Young


The dude just described the West Harbour!

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted October 10, 2010 at 18:38:20

Brandon, if you've read what Bob has stated publicly he has stated WH would work with a highway linkage from the 403 to the QEW, Burlington Street, for the business of the TigerCats to attract a larger portion of fans that wish to be able to come to the stadium without having to navigate Hamilton downtown streets. The way it is at ACC, BMO, Rogers Centre and so many stadiums south of the border. But Hamilton doesn't have this. So Bob is on board with WH, always has been, if this highways access gets approved. But the city chose to spend the money for the Red Hill Expressway instead. What can I say?

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted October 10, 2010 at 21:08:50

Because navigating Main St and King St are such a pain. Big highways right through the center of the city!

A GO station right there and LRT planned for the immediate area.

Getting in and out won't be a problem, no worse than it is for events at Copps which isn't bad at all.

Now, Longwood will be a nightmare. Trying to funnel 4,000 cars out through four lanes? Yeesh.

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted October 11, 2010 at 09:53:12

"Fully committed to half-assing it" is a great motto for any of the key players in this farce. Who needs second-rate pro sports when politics and ecdev supplies these kinds of high-stakes nailbiters?

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