Nova Scotia

CFL asking Halifax for $200K to hold July game at SMU

The Canadian Football League is asking for $200,000 from the Halifax Regional Municipality to help it stage a game in Halifax at the end of July. The league also plans to ask the province for $100,000.

Regular-season game would be between Saskatchewan Roughriders and Toronto Argonauts

The CFL says the July game is the first of three planned regular season games over the next three seasons in Halifax. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

The Canadian Football League is asking for $200,000 from the Halifax Regional Municipality to help it stage a game in Halifax at the end of July.

The regular-season game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Toronto Argonauts is planned to take place at Saint Mary's University, which has a seating capacity of 3,500.

The CFL wants to bring in enough seating for 10,000 people, but said doing so will require additional funding. The CFL official responsible for events made a presentation to the city's special events advisory committee on Wednesday.

"It's more than just building seats there, you have to build food and beverage outlets, you have to put in porta-potties and fencing," said Duane Vienneau. "We're really building a stadium out."

Vienneau told the committee that total stadium costs are expected to be $400,000 and the CFL is not trying to make a profit, but just break even and maintain reasonable ticket prices. He also said the CFL plans to make this an annual event over three years, but will not be asking for a grant for the next two games.

The CFL says the $200,000 is needed to help increase seating capacity from 3,500 to 10,000 at the stadium at Saint Mary's University. (CBC)

"Once we do it for the first time, we'll understand what it takes to run the event here and then in years two and three, we'll budget for it accordingly," said Vienneau.

During the presentation, the CFL said it will be asking for $100,000 from the province to help stage the Touchdown Atlantic event.

Committee members asked about ticket prices, which will range from $30 to $95. They also asked about the cost of beer at the game, which is expected to be the same as what is normally charged when the Saint Mary's University Huskies play.

The CFL expects a sellout crowd, with half of the 10,000 attendees being visitors from away, many of them Roughrider fans.

Ticket presales will begin on Feb. 27 and will open to the general public on March 10.

Report expected in May

City staff are now reviewing the funding request from the CFL. A report is expected to come back to the committee in May.

Last fall, Halifax regional council voted 10-7 Tuesday in favour of a staff report that supports a $20-million contribution to build a stadium in the municipality, but only if a long list of conditions are met. The proponents behind that venture are looking to establish a CFL team in Halifax.

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