Maritime football group narrows stadium site search to two spots

Maritime Football Limited has zeroed in on a couple potential CFL stadium sites.

“We’re down to two, a preferred site and a backup site,” Anthony LeBlanc told Francis Campbell of The Chronicle Herald.

The group led by LeBlanc, Bruce Bowser and Gary Drummond are negotiating with the site owners hoping to finalize a stadium site soon.

“We’re trying to get the best terms possible,” LeBlanc said.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage is on record that the project, which is expected to cost in the neighbourhood of $200 million, has to make sense for the municipality and needs to be transit-oriented. The group is looking at a similar model to Lansdowne Stadium in Ottawa, which includes the 24,000-seat TD Place along with shops, restaurants, green spaces and courtyards, according to Zane Woodford of StarMerto Halifax.

“We certainly think it’s the right way to go,” LeBlanc said. “There is the creation of the fan experience of having things that you can do other than just going to the game. These types of facilities, they are not just football. … It becomes an economic driver and it helps to build kind of those mini-communities.”

Dartmouth Crossing and a property in Bayers Lake business park are the likely stadium locations, Campbell reports.

“Obviously, the difference between Ottawa and the sites we’re looking at is that we’ve been pretty open that there isn’t a site in, call it downtown Halifax, that is sufficient. The green neighbourhood in Ottawa is a little bit different than the sites we’re looking at but we feel comfortable that there is a true mixed-use development potential,” LeBlanc said.

There is a clear appetite for spending municipal tax dollars to help fund a new outdoor stadium for Halifax according to a poll conducted by StarMetro Halifax.

“What they are looking at, I think they have been public about this, is (something) that’s offset against future potential tax revenue in the area that they want to build,” Mayor Savage said.

Last Friday, LeBlanc was in Winnipeg to meet and present a business plan review to CFL executives.

“We’ve talked extensively with the league, HRM and the province about this that we’re probably going to take a play out of the playbook in other league’s recent expansion,” LeBlanc said.

“If you look at Las Vegas and Seattle in the NHL, one of the conditional precedents was to go out and do a season ticket drive, so everybody knows that the market that everyone thinks is there is really there. I think it’s fair to say that that will absolutely be part of our plan.”


91 Comments on Maritime football group narrows stadium site search to two spots

  1. It’d be great to have a 10th team in the CFL but this is a terrible location.

    Can’t depend on a bunch of unemployed fishermen to buy tickets and support a pro football team.

    • sth1988 // July 9, 2018 at 12:01 pm //

      Just like unemployed steel workers in Hamilton? I think there are more industries that fishing in Halifax just like there are more industries in Hamilton than just steel. The owners and league will do thier due dilegence on this.

      • My season tickets in Winnipeg are $350 for the year, pretty much anyone could afford them

    • Boy, that education system in Toronto isn’t worth much, is it? Not only do you behave like ill-bred trailer trash, but you also have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • It turns out you can’t rely on those Toronto corporate head office types to buy tickets either.

    • halifaxguy // July 9, 2018 at 3:42 pm //

      Dartmouth Crossing and Bayers Lake ARE terrible sites for a CFL stadium.
      Halifax does not have an area like Lansdowne in Ottawa in the downtown area.
      It’s interesting that the potential owners have “narrowed it down” but don’t have money to buy and build themselves. HRM does not have the funding and the province would never spend infrastructure money on a CFL stadium, there is no justification.
      No comparison to ottawa at all – Ottawa has 1.2 Million people and one of the richest cities in Canada with the government and hi-tech the highest incomes in Canada.

      • Not only that but the province has a tax base from a population of 945,000, Ontario has a population of 14 MILLION.
        $200 MILLION may not be a lot of money in a large economy like Ontario but $200 Million in Novy is a fortune.
        Unless these entrepeneurs come up with their own financing this idea is dead.

        It’s like a business going to a city and saying we will run a factory but we want you to build it for us.

        • Will this stadium be big enough for an NFL team? Or, is it just your mystery BMO that the NFL will sign off on? 55,000 seat stadium in the NFL? Not a chance. A horrible stadium in terms of construction. But somehow, the NFL will approve it. Come on.

    • mr62cats // July 9, 2018 at 3:56 pm //

      Fool. You should be cheering on the group that is looking into a franchise for Halifax. Your comment indicates that you know absolutely nothing about the Halifax area market.

    • George fogarty // July 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm //

      Area-chitty-1 another positive comment from someone who has nothing good to say.

    • From what I’ve read Halifax is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada right now as they have a very big tech sector going for them. Do some research before spewing bull$&)#

    • Could be worse they could be insurance pedlars or maybe movin way up in the employment hierarchy,baristas or fast food workers!

  2. Sixbeamers // July 9, 2018 at 12:02 pm //

    From a 2017 Toronto Star story:
    “Thriving manufacturing and construction sectors, healthy employment and income gains, strong housing and retail markets, off-the-charts population gains — have made Halifax one of the country’s fastest-growing cities, and earned it the title of Canada’s fifth-biggest tech hub.”
    Apparently, the city is not just home to “a bunch of unemployed fishermen).” — Area 51.

    • “off-the-charts population gains” the pop gains must be off the charts because I haven’t seen the gains on any chart I’ve looked at.

    • Maybe so and maybe they would come out and buy tickets, that’s not the issue.
      It’s about FUNDING to build a stadium and that’s not going to come from the HRM.
      Has the ownership group gone to the banks to ask about financing?

  3. Jose Conseco // July 9, 2018 at 12:05 pm //

    Unemployed fishermen lol. I don’t even know any fishermen and I live there.

  4. Interesting to hear that construction is “thriving” in Halifax.

    Are they building a 10 storey “skyscraper” for the villagers?

    • Trolling for the sake of trolling, at least you used to put a little effort into it. Is your self esteem getting worse? When old area51 can’t even troll decently, I think you’re due for another trip to the head reducer to have those inferiority issues looked at. Might want to check the low testosterone levels as well.

    • halifaxguy // July 9, 2018 at 3:56 pm //

      They did just build a World Class Convention Centre that cost the Province and the HRM $500 MILLION.
      Lots of construction jobs, but it’s now over and they are trying to lease office space and book conventions to try to make a dent in the $500 MILLION.
      To even consider a $200 MILLION CFL stadium would be foolish.
      Sorry but you guys from Ontario and the West that are dreaming about a Halifax CFL team, forget it, money doesn’t grow on trees.

      • brian johnson // July 9, 2018 at 9:25 pm //

        Well said that’s the point. Actually Facts say no way no deal, not affordable, no support.

        • You have no “facts”, you know nothing about the project, like everyone else here.

          • brian johnson // July 11, 2018 at 1:14 pm //

            More then you for sure.
            Fact no investors
            Fact no stadium
            Fact not heavily supported by locals.
            Fact debt on convention center huge.

      • No one has any idea how it might be funded, so all speculation is BS

        • halifaxguy // July 11, 2018 at 1:56 pm //

          It can ONLY be finance by the banks, whether it’s the HRM/Province or the ownership group doing it !!
          The HRM/Province is not going into debt to finance a CFL stadium, it doesn’t make economical sense in a province with a tax base of 940,000 people !!
          It is going to be up to the ownership group to go after the funding not the government.

  5. RicoBeBlue&Gold // July 9, 2018 at 12:47 pm //


    It just hit me, A51 is Archie Bunker.

  6. Ann shaw // July 9, 2018 at 12:56 pm //

    Absolutely thrilled . Grew up on PEI. Live in Hamilton. Would join every fan group going to Halifax when our Ti Cats play there.

    • halifaxguy // July 9, 2018 at 4:02 pm //

      How about going to Toronto when the Ticats play there they need fans in that stadium.
      Sorry, I know I sound negative but government funding for a stadium is NEVER going to happen.
      You got your THF because of the Pan Am Games, you would never have got funding from the government without the games.
      BMO stadium construction and expansion was funded mainly by MLSE.
      TDPlace stadium was a renovation to an existing stadium

      • Steve J. // July 12, 2018 at 5:49 pm //

        In would do both! BMO is actually a great place to watch a game. Unfortunately for the Argos, Hamilton travels well, and the number fo Ticat fans at those QEW series games almost outnumber the Toronto faithful at BMO.

  7. Build a Stadium or a Dome do it Right make it a something to see experience
    A place to hold a Grey Cup venue
    The City of Halifax will reap huge rewards
    And also create a venue for many other events
    10 team CFL makes the league Solid
    And Truly Coast to Coast

    • brian johnson // July 9, 2018 at 9:33 pm //

      Like you comments and agree. Thanks
      But the coast to coast is BS, Sorry.
      If any location could do what you say/think there in.
      Even Yellowknife. Coast to coast who really cares.
      Its about class, great fans adding value to cfl.

    • halifaxguy // July 11, 2018 at 1:59 pm //

      Build a Stadium or a dome? who finances it??
      One Grey Cup every 10 years doesn’t justify a huge reward.
      The city just opened up a new world class Convention Centre – cost $500 MILLION – a couple of Conventions per week would bring in more that a Grey Cup every 10 years !!!

  8. Elaine Ottoson // July 9, 2018 at 1:19 pm //

    10 Solid. Toronto has to do better for attendance (12,196).

  9. With the super highway connections it is easy for people from Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton to get there (as well as Sackville Home of Mount Allison U)… And even PEI is about 3 hrs away… Within Nova Scotia almost anyplace is accessible to Halifax… The real model is Saskatchewan where they draw all the way north to Meadow Lake and Lac LA Range, West to Speedy Creek, East and South to near the borders…

    • halifaxguy // July 11, 2018 at 2:07 pm //

      Super Highway connections? where?
      The government wants to use infrastructure money to twin the 101 in Cape Breton.
      They certainly won’t spend that money on a CFL stadium, there would be a tax payer revolt.
      Nova Scotia’s population 940,000, that’s a small tax base.
      The issue is not about attracting fans from across the province etc – it’s all about stadium financing.
      If the ownership group can come up with financing then we are all for it.

  10. Pennyrocker // July 9, 2018 at 2:19 pm //

    Curious wonder what the team will be called
    . My guess herring chokers may be.

    • That’s pretty funny but they’ve had the “Schooners” picked out since the 80’s. Not the most original but it still beats the “RedBlacks”.

    • The Halifax Sinking Ships.

      • Baby needs some attention and his bottle? You’re trolling is getting lamer and lamer, at least you used to put some thought into it.

  11. Oh good, Dartmouth Crossing, they can put it up near the new Cabela’s that opened up. That’ll make visiting Alberta fans feel right at home. At least it has highway access, Bayer’s lake would be a log jam of traffic, it also has highway access but no way they are able to get it anywhere near the one exit.

  12. How many people with no CFL football traditions in the Maritimes are going to drive 3 hours one way to 10 home games a year? Not many. This will be Halifax’s team. Not Charlottetown, Moncton or Fredericton’s.

  13. Evil Empire // July 9, 2018 at 2:56 pm //

    I went to the first TD Atlantic game in Moncton (2010). I remember reading somewhere that there was something like 2,000,000 ppl within a cpl hrs of Moncton. I would assume that the numbers for Halifax would be very similar.

    The season ticket pledge drive is a very good way to know that there is a real fanbase out there. Somebody here said $350 for a ST in Wpg. When I lived in Edm, mine were about the same price. My seats were lower level on the 25 yrd line. So there were about three more different types, and locations of seats that were higher priced. And alot more that were lower priced.

    Face it…Even if a person had to pay $500, that’s pretty affordable to most CDNs. Skip a few movies, and a few meals at really good restaurants, and whatever. There’s your $500. I’m sure they’ll get it done. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later. I hate the crossover. I think knowing that if you finish 4th in your division it means you’re out. Will make the West even stronger. It might even make the East a little weaker. But, so be it. Get it done.

    • halifaxguy // July 9, 2018 at 5:01 pm //

      Population of Nova Scotia 940,00 !! It’s a heck of a long drive from NB and they aren’t going to consider it a regional team.
      Besides the first step in stadium funding

      • They will, especially when the team holds its training camp in Moncton every year. And if you hold most of your games on Sunday afternoons people will come in for the day and do some shopping and some sight seeing.

      • Halifaxguy or TFC soccer guy? It’s a regional team, no problem there.

  14. David Tress // July 9, 2018 at 3:00 pm //

    They need 35,000 seats to be competitive. The teams with 25,000 have narrow margins and have a tough time with their budgets.

    • Toronto, Montreal and BC can’t even draw 20k. Should we even be talking about expansion?

    • I totally agree has to be $30,000 at least. We have to stop thinking small, this is supposed to be a major league.

    • Sixbeamers // July 9, 2018 at 4:14 pm //

      Nobody gets into private CFL ownership to make money. If that’s the aim, they picked the wrong vehicle to do it.

    • LOL – yea just like Toronto with a 31k stadium filled with 12k fans.
      25k can make money just like in Hamilton and Ottawa with 1,000 club seat at $250 to $350 per game, the private boxes and the remaining regular seats at an average of $80 and beer at $12

      • Think that MLSE will be able to afford the losses? The Argos aren’t going anywhere. This is a long term plan with Toronto.

      • brian johnson // July 9, 2018 at 9:42 pm //

        There is the problem but nice comment.
        Who really cares about box seats. Lost leader unless you are in a large commercial city.
        12$ a beer is the big problem with attendance.
        Go to the pub watch the game free, pints are 5$. Lower the beer price to 6$ for a full pint. Not going to happen, gougers await you.

    • Sixbeamers // July 9, 2018 at 5:46 pm //

      Halifax does not need a 35,000-seat stadium. Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver all have stadiums with less than 35,000 (Lions seating is limited to the lower bowl at B.C. Place Stadium). And McMahon Stadium (Calgary) is just above that number at 35,400 capacity.
      What will make or break a CFL franchise in Halifax are the number of corporate suites in the proposed stadium and the number of businesses willing to invest and commit to them for the long haul.

    • 18k to break even, source CFL “friend” Arash Madani

  15. Build it and they will come. According to Kevin Costner.

  16. I totally agree has to be $30,000 at least. We have to stop thinking small, this is supposed to be a major league.

    • Will not be 30k, that is a ridiculous number, 22-24k more likely, need 18k to break even with present TV contract.

      • Sure glad to be living in Regina. You people should be looking at the job done here built at the same time as a 2billion bypass, don’t look at Toronto as a model!!!

  17. Edward Leslie // July 9, 2018 at 5:35 pm //

    Mel, the most fundamental business rule is supply and demand. The more seats there are, the more difficult it is to sell season tickets.
    A stadium with 25,000 seats would be perfect.
    They’d need to put in temporary seats for any Grey cups, but chances are (based on a 10 team league) they’d only get one every decade.

    I think Nova Scotia would support the CFL. There isn’t a lot of competition for the entertainment dollar. The Metro Halifax-Darrmouth area has about 500,000 and is growing. Plus the other maritime provinces might support the club too.

    • 25k is a little much, 22k maybe. The other provinces will be very supportive, maybe not to the point of large numbers in regular attendance but the swag will sell and the TV audience will be there.

    • Forget the “other” Maritime provinces, the only potential outside of Nova Scotia is NB, PEIers aren’t going to pay to cross that bridge and drive to Halifax for a CFL game.
      Besides the first step is stadium financing and there is no justification for the HRM and the province to put much funding into it.

  18. MR. Green // July 9, 2018 at 6:02 pm //

    Did they do one of those potential ticket drives to see interest? I’m not sure about these sights from what people who live there say. Would it affect them attending?
    If and when it happens, the important thing is a smart group drafting for the expansion. They will have thier pick of backup QB’s at the time and there should be some good ones I would hope. We don’t need a bad team with no chance of being competitive in 2 or 3 seasons. I know I will be hoping for success on and off the field.

    • They need to get stadium financing first.
      I wouldn’t even talk about football stuff yet.

    • The first question that the government will ask the ownership group. “how many ticket deposits”? second question “how long to pay back the stadium construction costs”? 3rd question – “how much money are you guys going to contribute to the stadium costs”
      Then I would say that if they do get a team you nee to get rid of the Canadian ratio or drastically reduc it.
      There is not enough Canadian talent coming out of the CIS, a Halifax team would mean another 40 or so Canadian positions.

  19. Bring back our Als // July 9, 2018 at 6:58 pm //

    MLS stadiums BMO $63M (before renovations 21500 seats) and Saputo Stadium $42M cost a lot less than $200M and they are both wonderful places to watch a game, simuler stadium could be built for less than $100M

    • BMO and Saputo are fine for minor league soccer but definitely not for professional football.

      Even after the renovations BMO is still a dinkified little bandbox with laughable “amenities”.

      Tim Horton’s Dump is just as pathetic – – another example of public money foolishly wasted.

  20. Scottsask // July 9, 2018 at 10:39 pm //

    Get it done!

  21. Edward Leslie // July 9, 2018 at 10:47 pm //

    City+Province+Corporate naming rights+ Other corporations investing in sponsoring stadium+ line of credit from major bank+ investment from ownership group=
    Stadium and CFL team.
    I’d like to see them award the team before the end of this season.
    Maybe they could start as early as 2019 in temporary home in Moncton?

    • NO you need financing first and I can tell you that the HRM and the Province will never finance a CFL stadium.
      If the ownership group can get things like bank financing, corporate backing and naming rights then yes award a franchise and build the stadium

  22. It’s absolutely asinine to be using taxpayer dollars to build a CFL stadium that gets used less than a dozen times each year.

    Not when all levels of government throughout Canada are already drowning in debt.

  23. Jim Bob // July 10, 2018 at 2:19 am //

    Green Bay Wisconsin about 100K residents with another 150K in the surrounding area. If they can PACK 75K fans in every home game for the PACKERS 24K should be a breeze for Halifax and the surrounding area. As in Ottawa – build it and they will come. Simple as that.

    • halifaxguy // July 11, 2018 at 2:23 pm //

      Yes build it and they will come? Simple as that? just like they do in Toronto??
      The issue is financing a new stadium.

  24. Mattyboyiceman // July 10, 2018 at 8:32 am //

    A million people in all of Saskatchewan and within 800km of Mosaic vs how many people within 800km of where the stadium will be. If we can pack 30k I am sure they can. Especially when they have the new car smell. a 10 team league is exactly what we need.

  25. Mike the spike // July 10, 2018 at 2:01 pm //

    It would be great to have a CFL team in Halifax, and yes the stadium is the issue. However to have a new state of the art 25,000 – 30,000 seat stadium without tax support is not realistic. Every major city in N.A. has faced this dilemma. You will also attract non football events such as concerts that require that type of venue. It would put Halifax on the map but ultimately its up to the electorate to decide. There will always be other things to spend the money on but that will be the case whether the stadium is built or not. If it is built you will not regret it.

    • halifaxguy // July 11, 2018 at 2:28 pm //

      Halifax has always been on the map.
      In fact now that we have a World Class Convention centre the city is attracting visitors from all over the world. Cost $500 MILLION
      The HRM and the Province is not going to turn around and spend $100m or $150m, $200m on a CFL stadium, there is no business case for it.

  26. Sask has a similar population there were and always we be nay sayers ,profits of doom and gloom but when all is said and done hopefully the new franchise , restaurants ,hotels , office and retail will make the site a fantastic place to visit . I for one with my family would love to come to your city watch the Riders play your team then tour around your province , money makes money tourism alone should make the province millions full time jobs will be created … how many people does a cfl team employ what about maintenance jobs etc etc if little Regina can do it so can Halifax …will there be problems you bet always is always will be but with perseverance anything can be overcome .. I can hardly wait to see what will happen!!

    • halifaxguy // July 11, 2018 at 2:16 pm //

      Sask is a rich province with just over 1 million people with a higher income level and a long tradition of football where a lot of people love football.
      Nova Scotia has a population of 940,000 and a large government presence in Halifax, they also rely on government shipbuilding/overhaul contracts.
      Sask has a diverse private sector economy.
      Sask has revenue from natural resources, NS doesn’t.
      Young people don’t stay in Nova Scotia they move west.

      But again the issue here is a stadium and financing for it. If the ownership group want to risk bringing a CFL team to Halifax, that’s great, then they should finance it too.

  27. Bring back our Als // July 10, 2018 at 11:33 pm //

    Has Area 51 ever had a positive thought? the CFL stadiums are very simular to MLS stadiums (actually the same in TO)> Saputo Satadium is a much better place to watch a game than Molson Stadium. Maybe you should get out of your bunker
    Halifax doesn’t need to spend $200M to have a nice stadium.

    • halifaxguy // July 11, 2018 at 2:10 pm //

      But “Halfifax” is not going to spend $200 MILLION on a stadium. They don’t have the money. The province doesn’t have the money.
      It’s up to this ownership group to arrange the financing and if they get financing you can’t expect fans to pay $80 to sit in a temporary bleacher stadium on metal benches

  28. When BMO stadium was built the city of Toronto paid $10 MILLION and MLSE financed the rest of it.
    When they expanded the stadium and put the roof on it, MLSE paid it all except for another $10 MILLION from the city.
    I don’t think this ownership group is anywhere near the MLSE capability of funding. But I could see the HRM and the province putting together maybe 10% ?

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