Nova Scotia

Business group looks to score CFL franchise for Halifax

The Canadian Football League confirmed Thursday that it has been in touch with a group interested in having a franchise in Halifax.

CFL describes proponents as 'professional, enthusiastic and impressive'

The Edmonton Eskimos' Adarius Bowman (4) celebrates as Brandon Zylstra (83) leaps across for the touchdown against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during a game in Winnipeg on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

A group of business people are making a play for a Canadian Football League franchise in Halifax.

The league confirmed Thursday it has been in touch with a group interested securing a team for the municipality, which has a population of about 410,000.

Halifax regional council met this week with representatives from the group and the CFL. The meeting was in-camera, so no members of the public or media were present.

Stadium required

A 20,000-25,000 seat stadium would likely be necessary to make a CFL franchise viable.

That isn't something the city is interested in financing, Mayor Mike Savage said Thursday night.

"Interest in a stadium and a CFL expansion to Halifax is longstanding. My consistent response has been that a stadium is not a capital priority at this time. Any proposal would need to be private sector led and make economic sense for the municipality," he said in a statement.

He did say the proposal was well crafted and deserved serious consideration.

Halifax regional council met this with representatives of a business group and the Canadian Football League regarding a possible Halifax franchise. (CBC)

A statement from the CFL also described the proponents as "professional, enthusiastic and impressive."

But it said "these conversations are relatively new and a very thorough process of due diligence must be put in place and completed before we can fully assess the viability of the project."

In March 2013, then-CFL commissioner Mark Cohon remarked that the league was open to eastern expansion. He said Halifax, with its larger population and strong corporate presence, was the best bet compared to Quebec City and Moncton.

The Moncton Stadium has hosted CFL games in the past.