Can Pierre Karl Péladeau open doors for CFL expansion in Quebec City?

0 0

Article content

Pierre Karl Péladeau might be able to help the Canadian Football League expand its expansion efforts, which have been focused almost exclusively on the Maritimes for ages, and have yet to produce a 10th franchise.

Advertisement 2

Article content

The Montreal billionaire who bought the Alouettes earlier this month has the kind of presence and influence in La Belle Province necessary to facilitate big ideas like a CFL team in Quebec City. League commissioner Randy Ambrosie said Friday it’s a conversation he wants to have with Péladeau as soon as it’s appropriate.

Article content

Article content

“We’ve got three teams in Ontario; having two teams in Quebec would be amazing,” said Ambrosie, who is in Edmonton for the CFL combine. “I wanted to give Pierre Karl enough time to get his feet on the ground and embrace what he’s got. But he has shared that he’s very close to Jacques Tanguay, who leads the Rouge et Or, and it is one of the most remarkable football programs in Canada. I have had a chance to visit with Mr. Tanguay, and he’s a remarkable man in his own right.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

“And now I think maybe this is a conversation we can start to have about the possibility of a pro football team in Quebec City. You remember the tremendous rivalry between the (National Hockey League’s Quebec Nordiques and the Montreal Canadiens) in its day. Quebec City is such a great city. It’s growing, it’s vibrant. It could be a phenomenal location for a CFL team.

“It’s early days and we will have to give Pierre Karl enough time. But I am hoping we can have that conversation with him and he can perhaps open some doors for us. Because that would be an ideal opportunity for our league.”

The University of Laval Rouge et Or football team plays home games before rabid crowds at Telus Stadium in Quebec City, a building with an official capacity of 12,817. However, it has hosted as many as 19,381 for a game against the fierce rival Montreal Carabins in October 2019. It has also been the site of two CFL exhibition games; the Als and Ottawa Renegades drew 10,358 fans in June 2003, the Als and Redblacks just 4,778 in June 2015.

Advertisement 4

Article content

With the CFL’s new approach to stadia — the so-called temporary permanent option allows for smaller, expandable venues rather than an insistence upon standalone buildings with capacity for 35,000 — Quebec City certainly fits the bill.

What’s more, football is flourishing in the province at the university and junior levels. If Péladeau and Tanguay can harness that enthusiasm, find a well-heeled local owner and the CFL efficiently markets the natural rivalry between the cities, a 10th franchise would have a decent chance to get established and grow.

But they are starting at the ground floor there. The CFL also continues to work on expansion options in Atlantic Canada, which has been seen as the most logical spot for a 10th team. Ambrosie spoke at some length to Nova Scotia premier Tim Houston in December. Ambrosie said he expressed the league’s enduring passion for a team in Atlantic Canada and laid out the temporary permanent stadium solution for Houston, who apparently told him that would be a far more likely path forward, but made no promises. Ambrosie was encouraged by that conversation and the league’s ongoing outreach efforts in the region.

Advertisement 5

Article content

“We definitely have momentum there. We built a network of leading citizens and influencers who we have been meeting with and talking to. No promises have been made. No commitments have been made, but there is a lot of energy there.”

The league has had success with its Touchdown Atlantic series games in Halifax, Moncton and Wolfville, N.S., and are holding another game in Halifax in July. The B.C. Lions are talking about a Touchdown Pacific game in Victoria and Ambrosie would like to speak to Tanguay about a Touchdown game in Quebec City.

“It would be my desire to have a sit down with him,” Ambrosie said. “Is this something we should put on the radar?”

The Touchdown Series games are a decent test of the market appetite for CFL football, given that they provide economic impact data. For instance, Sport Tourism Canada said Touchdown Atlantic in Wolfville generated more than $12.7 million in economic activity in Nova Scotia in 2022. That’s not Grey Cup-level impact, but as Ambrosie said, it’s not insignificant.


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Join the Conversation

Advertisement 1

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.