With the announcement that the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats had settled their lawsuit over the stadium, we asked team CEO Scott Mitchell for his thoughts on the deal, the future of soccer and – most importantly – how soon Hamilton could be hosting a Grey Cup
Drew Edwards: What is a realistic timeline to pursue the Grey Cup?
Scott Mitchell: Grey Cup is a big event. It’s the largest annual sporting event with more than a hundred million dollars of economic impact on a consistent basis and it is a property in great demand across the country. First of all, we’ve got to put together a great committee of all the right people and stakeholders, we have to engage the community to talk about what the opportunities are and what the benefits are. And then we’ve got a form of partnership to go and make a bid. There isn’t a team in the CFL that’s going to have a successful bid without the partnership with both the city and the province.
I think we have to have a good, honest discussion with the city of Hamilton about what is the best year to pursue a bid because we would have one viewpoint but we would want to make sure that it was in total collaboration with what the city’s viewpoint is in terms of what’s going on in the city, what’s happening infrastructure-wise, what developments are on the horizon and what year can we make sure that it’s a smashing success.
DE: Is 2020 a reasonable option?
SM: I don’t know at this point. We’re really going to have to take a look at that, look at a variety of factors, talk to the league about where they’re at for 2020. I’m not totally sure what the answer to that question is.
DE: Not yes but not no, either?
SM: I think you heard that, absolutely.
DE: Is it fair to say that the major logjam that’s prevented received from hosting the Grey Cup has been removed?
SM: I think the major hurdle has been removed but I think everybody needs to understand that it is a bid process, we’re not guaranteed anything but we know that Tim Hortons field is a Grey Cup-worthy facility and now it’s a matter of putting together a great bid – which I know this community is fully capable of doing.
DE: One the questions around the stadium and the Grey Cup was about an expansive plan. Is that in place?
SM: I’m not sure if it ever got officially formalized but obviously, we feel very comfortable with what can be done and that would not be a stumbling block in terms of pursuing a bid.
DE: Overall the team feels satisfied with this resolution?
SM: This was very simple and straightforward on one level – the stadium was delivered late, end of story – and we had at least that allowed us to make a claim against damages. Where it got convoluted was with how many parties we’re at the table to try and resolve it. Our case was very clear in terms of the stadium was delivered late. our case was very straightforward but it was very convoluted in terms of how to get it resolved. In fairness to everybody, everybody was making effort to have it resolved it was just very convoluted. Multiple countries, multiple continents, probably close to a dozen stakeholders at different times. Very complicated.
DE: Is there anything you can tell me in terms of what monies the Ticats received from the city or the province?
SM: No. From our end, that will remain confidential. We don’t talk about our financial situation and we’ve been consistent about that.
DE: Is there still a disagreement between what team in the city regarding soccer?
SM: No, I think everything will work itself out. We’ve always had a very positive working relationship with the city and I think there will be some positive news about that in the coming weeks.