CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the group behind the bid to bring a CFL team to Halifax has committed $60 million to the project.
Ambrosie says Schooners Sports and Entertainment (formerly Maritime Football Limited), has significant capital to invest in the project.
“This group has committed somewhere in the neighbourhood of $60 million dollars… so they are very committed,” Ambrosie said during a recent stop on his cross-Canada road trip.
It’s the first time that a dollar number has been attached to the bid from the group compromised of Anthony LeBlanc, who was part of a group that owned the Arizona Coyotes from 2013 to 2017, AMJ Campbell Van Lines CEO Bruce Bowser and Gary Drummond, former president of hockey operations with the Coyotes.
The stadium issue remains the biggest hurdle for a possible Halifax franchise. While initially pegging the cost at approximately $190 million, Leblanc has since said they plan to reduce cost to around $130 million. While Halifax regional council voted 15-0 in November to direct municipal staff to complete a review of a business case for a 24,000-seat facility to be built at Shannon Park, details on how the stadium will be funded remain unclear.
“There’s lots of excitement within the municipality, but I don’t think many of my colleagues are interested in cutting a big cheque,” Halifax Regional Municipality Deputy Mayor Tony Mancini told CTV last week. “We’re still waiting for the football partnership to come back with their official request. I thought it was going to be a little bit faster because the group that is bringing this forward were pretty aggressive announcing a team name and a ticket drive and all that,”
Leblanc said the work continues behind the scenes to bring a team to Halifax.
“We are aiming to provide significant updates at the end of March,” he said.
Ambrosie says that the financial resources of the current group separate it from previous attempts to expand to Atlantic Canada.
“The last group who tried to put a team in Halifax had no money. Like none,” Ambrosie said. “This group have committed substantial amounts of money to put in a football team in Halifax.”