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CFL Looks To Reinvent Itself; Hopes To Lure Fans With Stadium Upgrades, New TV Deal
Published June 28, 2013
CONSTRUCTION SEASON: The CP's Scott Edmonds noted CFL stadiums are "being replaced or refurbished at a pace probably unmatched in league history, starting this season with the opening of a new home" for the Blue Bombers. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats in '14 will "move into a new facility while the expansion Ottawa Redblacks are projected to call a revamped Frank Clair Stadium home." Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan Roughriders in '17 are "scheduled to move into a new open-air venue to replace Mosaic Stadium." Existing facilities in Calgary and Edmonton "get upgrades this season to make the game-day experience nicer for their fans." A lot about the new Winnipeg facility "drew rave reviews: the player areas, sightlines, comfortable seats and fancy suites and concessions." But there are "kinks to be worked out." Cracks in the concrete are "being repaired and then there’s the small matter of getting 33,400 people on and off the campus of the University of Manitoba in time to actually watch football games." The Tiger-Cats this season will "play their home games at Alumni Stadium in Guelph, Ont., as a new" C$145.7M facility is built where Ivor Wynne Stadium used to stand. When the new stadium "is complete, it will initially seat 22,500 with standing room for another 1,500." But it also will "have 700 club seats and 30 VIP suites and the potential expanded capacity of 40,000 for special events like the Grey Cup." Meanwhile, Roughriders officials have "visited the Winnipeg stadium and taken notes" with their C$278M project in Regina "following a similar pattern of covered seating over an open field." Calgary’s McMahon Stadium will boast "new seats in corner end zones with plans for new concessions, washrooms and VIP areas." Edmonton Eskimos fans are "getting more comfortable in the upper bowl at Commonwealth Stadium, as it enters the final phase" of a C$12M plan to replace all seats (CP, 6/25).