Calgary

Aging McMahon Stadium lost in the arena debate, fans say

The great arena debate of 2017 is in full swing, just in time for the municipal election. But lost in the war of words, according to some fans, is that other building which plays home to another Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation team: McMahon Stadium.

The facility dates back to the 1960s and is the second oldest in the CFL, but there are no plans to fix it up

Stampeders fan Keith Loach says the 1960s-era stadium needs some work. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

The great arena debate of 2017 is in full swing, just in time for the municipal election. But lost in the war of words, according to some fans, is that other building which plays home to another Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation team: McMahon Stadium. 

Unlike the Saddledome, which is leased by CSEC from the city, the corporation doesn't operate McMahon. The football stadium where the Stampeders play is owned by the University of Calgary and is managed by the city.

But CSEC president and CEO Ken King made it clear earlier this week that the organization doesn't intend to spend any money to fix up McMahon, which was last renovated in 2014.

'It needs some work'

The stadium is the second oldest in the CFL, behind Montreal's facility built in 1919.

"The Calgary Stampeders, while they're still a professional team, they're the CFL and, you know, it's a smaller league so the focus is on the Flames," said Stamps fan Keith Loach.

"But people forget that McMahon Stadium was built in the 1960s. It needs some work."

CSEC originally floated the idea of a combined stadium and arena complex it dubbed CalgaryNext for the west end of downtown, but that megaproject was roundly rejected by city council. 

CalgaryNext and Plan B

Since then, the city has been pursuing its Plan B project for a new arena in Victoria Park near the aging Saddledome. That project, and discussions so far between the city and CSEC, does not include a new stadium. 

"We are in dire need of a new facility, there's no question about that," said Stamps fan Greg Kellery. 

"But the fact that nobody wants to put any money into [it]... I understand that from an economic standpoint, because it is an old, old building. It's like putting lipstick on a pig type thing, you're putting a bandaid on a problem."

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