Hamilton won’t bid for Grey Cup until stadium litigation is settled

The City of Hamilton will not partner with Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a Grey Cup bid until the lawsuits surrounding the construction of Tim Hortons Field have been resolved.

“We can’t do any business with them when there’s litigation outstanding,” city councillor Sam Merulla said Friday.

The Calgary Stampeders and the Edmonton Eskimos are the only two teams bidding for the right to host the 2018 Grey Cup game. Calgary last hosted the league’s championship showcase in 2009 while the game was played in Edmonton the following year. The 2017 Grey Cup game is set to be hosted in Ottawa, an event that coincide with country’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

Hamilton, meanwhile, hasn’t hosted a Grey Cup since 1996. But Ticats CEO Scott Mitchell says the team can’t move forward with a bid without the support of city council.

“For the Grey Cup to be successful, there has to be a partnership between the team and the city,” Mitchell said.

The competition between the two Alberta cities is the first under the CFL’s revamped selection process. After years of awarding the Grey Cup – and its estimated $100 million of economic activity – based on backroom handshake deals or regional preferences, the CFL Board of Governors has put a formal process in place to judge each application on its merits.

When the City of Hamilton opened its publicly-funded $145 million stadium in 2015, the hope was that the city would be in position to host multiple Grey Cups in a short period of time, giving both the city and the team a significant economic boost.

But the stadium, which was delivered more than a year behind schedule, has been by beset by construction problems and is the subject of multiple lawsuits filed by the province, city and the CFL team.

There have been reports that a settlement between the parties could be imminent – something that Merulla reiterated on Friday – but Mitchell says significant issues remain.

“The reality is that there hasn’t been any progression in the litigation,” he said.

Nonetheless, Mitchell remains hopeful that the team and the city will be in position to make a push for the game by this time next year.

“Our focus is on 2019, which is an exciting year because it coincides with the 150 anniversary of Hamilton Tiger-Cats franchise,” Mitchell said. “We would be thrilled to bid and ultimately host the Grey Cup that year.”

Although the current Hamilton Tiger-Cats were officially founded in 1950, the franchise’s origins trace back to 1869 when Hamilton Football Club was formed. They played their first game in December of that year and became the Tigers in 1873.

“I think that’s a great idea. I really support it,” Merulla said. “And it ties in nicely to the challenges we’re facing with litigation. It should be resolved well before then.”

– with files from Steve Milton

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (870 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

22 Comments on Hamilton won’t bid for Grey Cup until stadium litigation is settled

  1. Pussycats // March 24, 2017 at 5:19 pm //

    No GC bid until the stadium litigation is settled? By then, the Cats will be in complete rebuild mode. That doesn’t make sense at all.

  2. stampland // March 24, 2017 at 5:19 pm //

    Love this stadium To me it’s the quintessential CFL stadium-While new its simple no frills

  3. What a debacle surrounding an otherwise beautiful stadium.

  4. Discustingly typical

  5. Dvd Bassman // March 24, 2017 at 6:52 pm //

    So area business that would benefit from the economic activity associated with the Grey Cup, and the fans that have patiently waited for almost 2 decades to celebrate the national game’s championship, are being held hostage by politicians and lawyers? Do I have that right? Yeah, that sounds like provincial / municipal politics.

    Your tax dollars hard at work.

  6. Dirty Thirty // March 25, 2017 at 1:19 am //

    What kind of mess is going with Tim Hortons Field? The last time I was in Hamilton(2007), my son & I first attended the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in the afternoon prior to a evening game at Ivor Wynne… when they found out we were on a road trip from BC, they asked if we had tickets and we didn’t, so we were generously given a pair for the game. Since then, we’ve endeared ourselves to the city & the team, but now I hear the HoF is closed to the public when I heard it was supposed to be relocated to the new stadium… sad state of affairs.

    • It certainly is…and this team could sure could use a Jim Young or two…Ivor Wynne rocked…these current bubbleheads at TH don’t even know what a “program” is!

  7. Why all the hate? Both the city and Scott have expressed strong feelings for a bid but, the reasons for not doing so for ’18 are outlined as clear as can be. It is logic! There has to be a partnership and that can not happen until litigation is complete. Both parties say it will be. Both want this and to dis then is not thinking or reading.

  8. I lived in Hamilton for 30 years; I don’t recall anything ever happening at City Hall that wasn’t a complete Fluster Cluck when it came to doing the “right” thing for the City. It was seemed to me that there was always too much short term myopic Politics, and not enough visionary statesmanship.

  9. Ron Bates // March 25, 2017 at 8:28 pm //

    Age means little in a litigation. But for certain it is very good to associate the origins of the Hamilton Football Club with the Tigers and later the Wildcats. Even some reference to the amateur cum some pro prospects allowed Ontario Rugby Football Union and it’s inter conference rivalry with the Quebec Rugby Football Union. Guess when they date to.

  10. “always too much short term myopic Politics, and not enough visionary statesmanship”…

    Sadly that is exactly how you describe Hamilton’s city council and mayor…

    It was because of this lack of leadership that forced the incredibly stupid decision of tearing down Ivor Wynne Stadium and rebuilding THF on the same location…

    The two ringleaders of that debacle were Sam Merula and Mayor Eisenberger… same two bozos whom I assume are blocking the GC bid…

    The moronic citizens of Hamilton have only themselves to blame for continuing to re-elect these clowns…

    • @billinburlington

      Exactly. Why folks dwell on the past,, who did what and why and motives, I don’t understand. Quit living in the past and moaning. What happened —happened. It will work out abs again, both parities wish to be on the same side with the bid and will be. They both say that.,negativity breeds negativity and serves no purpose.

  11. Billinburlington // March 26, 2017 at 11:08 am //

    I had assumed this case all along… with three or more parties suing each other ( and I think there is nastiness behind the scenes) . Once it’s settled only then can i see the Ticats and City of Hamilton and other partners cooperating on a bid. It’s better to do it right than rush things—one “learning” from the legacy of biGrey Cup 2016.

  12. Why can’t they do GC business with the stadium issue outstanding? One is a contractual dispute that will be settled by the courts or negotiation, and the other is a net win for the TCs and the city. I was in Hamilton for the race this weekend, and (sorry to be impolite), the downtown looks like a garbage dump. The GC would be great for the city, and they are too petulant to bid for it?

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  14. I’m a bit late to this party, but while I’m disappointed with further delay seeking a Grey Cup, I think the legal reasoning for holding off makes sense.

    City is fighting stadium builders re: deficiencies and failure to meet delivery timelines… the Ticats have put the legal screws to the city to do this (which was their right under the lease deal, I believe). So technically they’re still in the argument process until a settlement is reached with the stadium consortium.

    Jointly planning to host a major national event may strengthen the case *against* the city (and team) in this proceeding. The consortium could argue that the stadium must be acceptable if it’s able to handle a Grey Cup, and therefore they delivered on their contractual obligations and no compensation should be awarded.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or legal expert, though I’ve just attempted play one in real life. 😉

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