OSEG promises to keep Redblacks, 67's here until 2032
Ownership group offers guarantee in response to city request
The Ottawa Redblacks and 67's are here to stay — or at least until 2032, according to the business group that owns the teams that play at TD Place at Lansdowne Park.
Roger Greenberg, the frontman for the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), responded Monday to a letter sent by Mayor Jim Watson last week asking for a guarantee that the sports teams would stay in Ottawa an additional decade.
In its 30-year deal with the city, OSEG had initially promised to keep the football and hockey teams at the stadium until 2022.
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In addition to owning the teams and operating the stadium, OSEG also runs the commercial sector at Lansdowne, which has been struggling to attract enough foot traffic, losing $11 million last year alone.
The pandemic has rendered the financial situation at Lansdowne even more dire, and last month OSEG asked to extend its partnership with the city for an additional 10 years to 2054, in order to give it more time to recoup some of its losses.
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Members of the finance and economic development committee (FEDCO) approved the changes to the partnership, but the contentious issue is set to go to full council Wednesday.
In his letter to the mayor and Coun. Mathieu Fleury, who co-authored the letter to OSEG in his role as sports commissioner, Greenberg said that if OSEG gets the help it needs from the city, the group will guarantee to keep its teams here longer.
"I'm happy to confirm that if the measures recommended by FEDCO to ensure OSEG's survival and protect the city from risk are approved by city council, we will extend our commitment that both teams will continue operations for an additional ten-years," Greenberg wrote.
"It is also our intention for the teams to continue playing on for many decades beyond that.
It's unclear how OSEG can guarantee the teams' survival over the next 12 years. No one at OSEG was available for immediate comment.