Published on April 13, 2009 11:01 PM by dbo.
On paper it appears Canada is undergoing a major stadium building boom with the CFL being the major benefactor. Yet only one of these stadiums is currently approved, another is waiting for the final political approvals to proceed and the rest remain in a proposal stage with great uncertainty if they will ever proceed, not when. In all these centres there has been great public debate over the funding of the construction costs of stadium projects. One common complaint from opponents is pubic money should not be spent on infrastructure that benefits few citizens (football fans) and provides facilities for team owners to further enrich themselves. These owners, the opposition says, should foot the bill themselves; assume the risk and reap the benefits. The CFL and its member teams and owners have contributed little to stadium infrastructure the argument is furthered and yet they are the major benefactors as tenants (who else needs a 30,000 seat outdoor stadium?).
While the facts are a being spun in these arguments, there is a point there about contributing to the communities like CFL teams have been doing for over 100 years. Now that the CFL is in a better position financially and there are a number of opportunities across the country, the league and their fans can make a more visible contribution to these projects. To provide a formal way for the CFL to contribute to stadium infrastructure, CFLdb proposes a Stadium Fund to be established by the league which would pay out funds for stadium construction and improvements across the country. This is not a short term venture but something to establish now for the long term benefits. While it may seem too late for the current slate of projects, now is the earliest it can be established to avoid the lack of a fund in the future like projects face today.
CFLdb does not have an initial contribution to establish the fund but would contribute in some way if a fund was established. I hope that this idea can gain some support with fans across the country and be seen by those in the league office to be built upon for the benefit of the CFL. I will explain the fund idea more in a later article in this series along with my thoughts on public funding for new stadium projects and renovations. A warning for readers: this group of articles is long, over 7,000 words. I referenced external articles throughout making it an even longer read for all the facts. A complicated and large topic, I felt I needed to explain the current state and issues thoroughly and from different perspectives. First, the current state of stadiums across the country will be examined in the next article, State of the Stadiums.