Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saving Ottawa Sports: Covering all the bases ...

It is 1,000 times more fun to write about games, but here in Ottawa, there's a lot more drama with the people in suits, not the ones on skates. A couple bullet points:

  • From late last week, the Portland Mercury had some pretty choice words about Sennies owner Eugene Melnyk's bid for a MLS expansion franchise:
    "Let's face it, Ottawa doesn't have a chance. There's no way the MLS will force every team to fly all the way to tiny Ottawa to play. No freaking way. That said, Eugene Melnyk is the money man. He has stadium plans and apparently the backing of the Provincial government. I'm not opposed to Canadian teams, but this guy has no chance." (emphasis mine)
    Indulge your American exceptionalism, much? Portland is a metropolitan area of 2.1 million people; the national capital region is approaching 1.5 mil. It even has an international airport, on account of being the capital city of a G8 country.

    One also has to note the commenter claiming Ottawa would have no natural rival in MLS. Uhhhhhh ... anywho, that part about the backing of the Ontario government is an eyebrow-raiser. You'll remember that when the Sennies won the Eastern Conference title in 2007, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty did appear to glad-hand in the victors' dressing room.
  • Please do a Google News search for Biovail, the company Melnyk founded (and lost control of). See what media outlets do not come up. Better yet, do a GN search for BVF-033.

    There is no evidence of a local follow-up to a Report on Business story from Sept. 26 that took a tough but fair look at Melnyk's loss of control of Biovail. It is quite possible that those three class actions filed this month will have have no impact on the Senators' bottom line. It is reasonable to say that hey, everyone gets sued once (hey, if you can't laugh at yourself). It is the cost of accumulating a certain level of personal worth -- it's like taking a penalty, just to let the other team know you're playing with some jam. In the business world, it's almost like a badge of honour.

    It's also hardly unusual (ahem) for a NHL owner to be up to his ass in alligators from a legal wrangling standpoint. One can't say what MLS commissioner Don Garber would think, though.

    Speaking as someone who does not have the head for business nor the body for sin, there is no intention to turn this into the Bob Loblaw Law Blog. However, if all that can be gathered during 10 minutes of Googling, it is reasonable to wonder why it's not a story in Hockey Country.
  • Don't believe for a second that the clock is ticking on Ottawa CFL Team 3.0. It is a pressure tactic. If you have the means to tuck a a $7-million cheque in CFL commissioner Mark Cohon's pocket for the franchise fee, you are travelling on an open-ended ticket.
  • A friend who is a reasonable man and who has lived here a lot longer believes the CFL team is just a carrot. The condos, the residential development, a hockey arena for the Soixante-Septs are the meats and cheeses for Roger Greenberg, John Ruddy and Bill Shenkman. They could easily forget about the CFL.
  • Our friend Carl Kiiffner has a reminder that there is a more realistic chance of having professional baseball in town in 2009 than the CFL or MLS in the next few summers. Can-Am League commissioner Miles Wolff fought tooth and nail just to get the Ottawa franchise off the ground. The situation might have changed, but Wolff was willing to fund the franchise before he found the former owners who don't deserve to be mentioned in this forum.
That's all for now. Send your thoughts to

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The low rise condos along Holmwood avenue are a small part of the Hunt plan, and they have said they are expendable. But they are not nuts. They are looking to get a buck or two. The hotel, the restaurant complex, entrance fees to a tourist attraction like the aquarium, rental fees for the soccer/frisbee pitch and stadium, concert admissions to the stadium, and ampi theater, and revenue from the ice rink. Oh yeah, a CFL team?
I have no problem with them making a buck if they also breath some life into LP and Ottawa as a whole.
I too think there is no clock on the CFL return. The CFL will take a good opportunity to have viable team ownership in Ottawa, a larger market than in half of the present CFL locations,whenever they can get it.