New Hamilton Stadium Makes No Sense at All

Steve ThompsonAnalyst IIIAugust 31, 2011

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 25:  Quarterback Kerry Joseph #4 of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders hoists the trophy as confetti falls in celebration of a 23-19 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the 95th Grey Cup on November 25, 2007 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

What started out as an exciting prospect, a new Hamilton stadium for the Tiger Cats that would settle the team's long-term future and ensure Grey Cup games to be played in Hamilton at last, has instead become an endless squabble, a laughable enterprise, and one that makes no sense at all.

The latest proposal is to turn the stadium 90 degrees and reduce seating capacity from 29,600 to 22, 500.

The credibility of the CFL has taken a hit on this issue; acceptance of this proposal would only highlight the contradictory statements and paths of Tiger Cats owner Bob Young, and CFL commissioner Mark Cohon.

A golden opportunity is slipping away.  It started when Toronto was awarded the 2015 Pan American Games and announced that some of the events would be held in a new stadium to be built in Hamilton.

At long last, here was an opportunity to guarantee the Tiger Cats' long-term future.

There was an easy blueprint to follow: build a stadium that seats between 35,000-40,000 that could be expanded to seat over 50,000 for Grey Cup and playoff games.

But Bob Young claimed the site of the new stadium was a threat to the future of the Tiger Cats because of parking problems.

Commissioner Cohon backed him up, claiming that Hamilton was not considered for Grey Cup games because of the size of Ivor Wynne Stadium, and threatened to endorse a move out of Hamilton and never return.

Somehow a bizarre compromise was reached; Ivor Wynne would be renovated and reduced to the CFL minimum seating capacity of 25,000.

Now the stadium is supposed to be renovated even more with a direction change so that players won't get sun in their eyes, with the only other improvement being better seats and amenities.  Reportedly Bob Young and commissioner Cohon are happy with this proposal.

But please explain if a 29,600-seat stadium was not good enough to host the Grey Cup, how is a 22,500-seat one on the same site supposed to be better?

How is a reduction of over 7,000 seats supposed to increase revenues?

Why is the CFL okaying a project that reduces seating capacity beneath its avowed minimum of 25,000?

If a 22,500-seat stadium is okay for the CFL, what's the matter with them actively letting Moncton with a 20,000-seat stadium into the league and awarding them the Grey Cup as well?

Surely it can't be that hard to search for a site that can hold a stadium with increased capacity that will settle the Tiger Cats' long-term future?

What's wrong with doing what Winnipeg is doing—building a new stadium at the local university that can stage both college and professional football games?  What's wrong with situating the new Tiger Cats' home at McMaster University?

In a city the size of Hamilton, there's got to be an area that can satisfy all parties.

This present proposal is nothing more than a cheap, lazy stop-gap enterprise with no thought for the long term.

It does not bring an exciting future freedom for the Tiger Cats, but the further continuation of a prison sentence.