Group pays millions to bring CFL back to Ottawa
A group of investors has agreed to pay the Canadian Football League a $7 million fee to bring a new CFL franchise to Ottawa.
CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon awarded the investors, led by Ottawa 67s owner Jeff Hunt, a conditional franchise on Tuesday.
The league and the investors say they're hoping to restore the Capital with the Ottawa Rough Riders' glory days.
"This day has been a long time coming for me," Hunt told reporters at an afternoon news conference.
"Over the years, as a fan, I sat and imagined what I would do if I owned the team and it's a great day for me to finally be able to exercise - at least hope to exercise - some of those thoughts," he said.
Hunt says he hopes to run an Ottawa CFL franchise just like a fan.
"I'm one of you and I have that perspective," Hunt said to CFL fans.
William Shenkman, chairman of Shenkman Corp. and one of Hunt's partners, says the group of investors plans to use the franchise to bring a "family" football experience to the Capital.
"Our goal is to create a full family experience in a world class facility, featuring a football team that's competitive on the field and high profile in the community," said Shenkman.
The CFL says Ottawa is an ideal market, with over one million people in the National Capital Region.
The league says the next step is ensuring Ottawa has the "right facility" to accommodate a CFL team.
The deal will only move forward if an agreement is struck with the city of Ottawa to build an appropriate stadium.
Ottawa Coun. Clive Doucet has already spoke out against a possible agreement to redevelop Lansdowne Park.
"This is not Jeff Hunt land. This belongs to the people of the City of Ottawa. I think they should have started with the City not with their own private conversations," Doucet told CTV News.
If a deal with the City is reached, the new football team could start play as early as 2010. Fans can already reserve tickets to watch the new team play for $25 per seat.
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