The Rouge: Should the Ticats and Argos share a stadium?

Paul Hoogkamp,
5/25/2010 10:19:45 AM
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"Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!"

That was the famous line uttered by Bill Murray in the 1984 movie Ghostbusters but it could also be the refrain of CFL fans in southern Ontario.

While Hamilton city officials wrestle with plans to build a new stadium for the 2015 Pan Am Games, the prospect of the Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts sharing a venue has reared its (some would say ugly) head.

To the surprise of some, Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young has not totally dismissed the idea.

''It's hard to see, just on the face of it, how it works. But my reaction is all ideas are worth investigating,'' Young told the Toronto Star last week. ''It is sufficiently hare-brained to be worth looking at.''

Is it feasible to have these two teams play in the same stadium? It might make sense from a financial standpoint but the location would be in neither Hamilton nor Toronto. And besides, it's not an exaggeration to say the Tiger-Cats and Argonauts hate each other.

Currently, the city of Hamilton and the Tiger-Cats can't seem to agree on the perfect location for the new stadium and, if they can't come up with a solution by the June 30 deadline, there is some danger that Games organizers may decide to build it somewhere other than Steeltown. After all, Toronto won the bid the host the Pan Am Games, not Hamilton so that just adds to the rivalry.

Young said he is concerned about the future of his team in the city if there is no suitable stadium in which to play.

"It's absolutely at risk," Young told the Hamilton Spectator last week. "If Ivor Wynne falls down and we don't build a viable alternative, where are the Cats going to play?

While the two sides argue over the harbour and the highway, perhaps erecting a new stadium between Hamilton and Toronto that could house both the Tiger-Cats and Argonauts is the answer.

The distance between Ivor Wynne Stadium and the Rogers Centre is about 70 km with a population base of over 1 million people in between with cities like Mississauga, Oakville and Burlington.

No one would debate that Ivor Wynne Stadium has seen its best days and the Rogers Centre appears far too cavernous for the Argonauts so putting them both in the same stadium would be an upgrade for the Tiger-Cats and make things cozier for the Argonauts.

It would also provide at least 20 dates (18 regular season games and two pre-season games) as well as a greater possibility of playoff games every season. 

Also, the precedent has been set with the New York Giants and New York Jets sharing Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey and their fans haven't gathered together to sing Kumbaya very often either.

So it makes sense, right?

Not so fast.

How many Argonauts fans come into the city from the North and East? How many Tiger-Cats fans travel to Hamilton from the South and West? Each one of these fans would see a substantial increase in their travel time. For a gate-driven league, building a new stadium outside of both markets could be disastrous, even if the stadium is built with public money.

It's possible that any money saved on sharing a stadium could quickly disappear in lost revenue on gamedays and if it doesn't make financial sense for the teams, there are few, if any other benefits.

And then there's the competitive angle. When these two teams share the field, it usually ends up in numerous physical altercations. What would happen if they shared a stadium all season long? Which team practices first? Which team gets the closer parking spots? Small issues can quickly become big issues when dealing with rival organizations.

Can you see the Tiger-Cats and Argonauts sharing the same stadium? Would it be the equivalent of cats and dogs living together? Or does it make enough financial sense to overlook the negatives and make it work? Maybe the danger of alienating some of the fan base is too much to ignore?

Have your say in our 'Your Call' feature below!

Parker and Glenn (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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