Councillors not happy with proposed Ticat stadium deal

Councillors aren't happy with a proposed lease agreement between the city and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for use of the new stadium and are insisting on some changes.

Lease must be signed by first home game in July

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats club is still negotiating a lease to use the new Tim Horton's Field. City councillors expected to approve the agreement Wednesday but a contentious issue has put it on hold. (Adam Carter/CBC)

City councillors are demanding changes to a proposed lease agreement with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for use of the new stadium.

But councillors aren't saying what it is about the proposed lease that has them insisting on changes.

City councillors were poised to approve an agreement with the CFL club on Wednesday to use Tim Horton’s Field. But after a two-hour closed-door session, they voted to table it instead.

Neither staff nor councillors would say what caused the change in direction. But Coun. Lloyd Ferguson of Ancaster said it’s contentious.

“There’s a confidentiality agreement signed between the parties and we can’t talk about it until it’s signed,” he said.

But after the lease is signed, “I’ll be thrilled to talk about it.”

The two parties have until the first home game in July to sign an agreement to use the stadium. The Ticats are the primary lease holders and hold the naming rights, which they sold to Tim Horton’s last year.

City staff will “negotiate enhancements” with the Tiger-Cats and come back with a report in about a month, Ferguson said. Councillors still have questions.

“We won’t hand the keys over until that agreement is signed,” Ferguson said.

Here are some highlights of the proposed agreement:

  • The agreement gives the Tiger-Cats exclusive rights to field a professional soccer team at the stadium. The club has until May 31, 2015 to get sanctioned from the Canadian Soccer Association. They can extend the exclusive rights to Sept. 30, 2015 for a fee of $150,000.
  • CFL games are fourth on the priority list for usage of the new $145-million stadium. The first priority is the Pan Am Games, followed by major international events, followed by “priority city owner events.”
  • The city will beef up transit on game days, which will cost the city $3,500 to $5,000 per game. As many as 1,000 fans use the express shuttle buses on game days.
  • The city will get half of the net revenue from food and drinks sold at the concession stand during city events, and the Ticats get all of the food and drink revenue at Ticats games.
  • The press box will be called the Ivor Wynne Press Centre.
  • The Ticats have purchased the naming rights of the stadium. The city will receive $750,000 per year of those proceeds. The city can also turn down any name it considers to be “morally objectionable.”
  • The city will get half of any official off-site parking revenue generated during home games. This includes possible parking revenue from the Tiger-Cats using the public school board’s new parking lot at the Scott Park site.

The new stadium is scheduled to open in June. Weather-related issues caused a construction delay and crews have been working double shifts to finish it on time.


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