Tiger-Cats owner seeks help in stadium spat

Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young wants an outside facilitator to help settle a dispute between the CFL team and the city over the site for a new stadium.

Young says Hamilton plan could throw him for $7-million annual losses

Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young is pushing for a third-party facilitator to help resolve a dispute between the Canadian Football League club and the city over a potential site for a new stadium.

The Ticats would be the main tenant of the facility following the 2015 Pan American Games. The stadium, estimated to cost $102 million, is to be used for track and field during the Games.

The city government would like to build in the West Harbour district as part of a plan to redevelop the downtown.

However, Young contends this site could result in the Tiger-Cats losing upwards of $7 million annually, increasing the chances of crippling the franchise. He would prefer a site closer to highway access, with more parking surrounding the stadium.

"The Hamilton Tiger-Cats Football Club requested the city defer any decision to move forward with a West Harbour stadium until other potential locations could be thoroughly examined," Young wrote in a letter to Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger and city council.

"To accelerate a mutually agreeable solution, we respectfully request the appointment of a facilitator to assist in the process."

Council voted 10-6 in favour of the West Harbour plan in February.

David Adames, executive director of Tourism Hamilton and the city's point man on the Pan Am Games file, is encouraged that Young would like to resolve the issue quickly.

"Please be assured of our continuing interest in finding a stadium solution that works for taxpayers, fans, athletes and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Football Club," Young wrote.

The latest development probably means the Ticats and the city will miss a May 17 deadline to confirm the stadium location.

Pan Am committee CEO Ian Troop refused comment on the latest development in the stadium saga.

"I think it will take us a few weeks to get to something concrete," Eisenberger told the Hamilton Spectator.

Citing sources, the newspaper reported that Young, who made his fortune with software developer Red Hat, has lost as much as $30 million since buying the Tiger-Cats in 2003.

The team currently plays at Ivor Wynne Stadium, which was built in 1930 and has been the Ticats' home since 1950. It has a seating capacity of 29,600 but will soon be in need of costly repair.