HAMILTON — The Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League and the University of Guelph have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that could see the Tiger-Cats call the University of Guelph’s newly-renovated Alumni Stadium their home for the 2013 season.
“This is an exciting day for our organization, as well as our fans,” said Tiger-Cats President Scott Mitchell. “While they’ve been incredibly anxious to hear news about the 2013 season, the amount of interest we received from across the country was staggering. We wanted to be thorough and careful with all options but our commitment from day one was to keep our games as close to Hamilton as possible so our phenomenal fans and season seat holders could enjoy their beloved Tiger-Cats in 2013.”
Mitchell continued, “With the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium located just 17 minutes from the City of Hamilton’s northern border, combined with its gorgeous setting, we think our fans will love this solution. It’s also a perfect fit for our very successful regional marketing campaign and we look forward to working with University of Guelph to make this happen.”
“We are delighted that Guelph was chosen,” remarked Alastair Summerlee, President of the University of Guelph. “It reflects the quality of the upgrades that we’ve made to Alumni Stadium and speaks to the reputation of the University and the City of Guelph. It will also help raise our profile, support the continuing expansion of our athletic facilities and bring business to Guelph.”
The Memorandum of Understanding identifies a number of logistical issues that the University and City of Guelph need to resolve prior to a final decision. These discussions will take place over the next few weeks.
Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge said: “I am excited that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have chosen Guelph as its home for the team’s 2013 season. We are happy to host them and welcome all the fans to our beautiful City.”
Lloyd Longfield, president of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce, added: “This is wonderful news for the City of Guelph. The spin-off benefits for business and tourism will be enormous.”
With over 4,000 permanent seats and a capacity of close to 10,000 for homecoming games at Alumni Field, temporary premium hosting areas will be available around the field while temporary spectator stands will be erected for Ticats games on the stadium’s east side. The Tiger-Cats and the University of Guelph will work together to maximize the capacity of the facility while respecting the constraints of the site.
Mitchell commented, “We are very happy with the opportunities this facility presents and have been working with the University on the feasibility of the expansion. Clearly it will allow us to provide a solution for our season seat holders as well as our current and new fans in Guelph to enjoy an exciting 2013 Tiger-Cat season.”
Tiger-Cats games will be scheduled around University of Guelph athletics and other events.
This year’s improvements to Alumni Stadium included installation of new artificial turf, an eight-lane International Association of Athletics Federation-certified track, new lighting and a state-of-the-art video scoreboard.
Proceeds from the agreement will support the Gryphon Athletics fundraising campaign. As part of University of Guelph’s BetterPlanet Project, the Gryphon campaign is expected to help fund a new fitness and recreation complex.
University of Guelph’s Athletics Director Tom Kendall says athletics helps attract and retain students, commenting, “We recognize the importance of a healthy lifestyle for student success. These changes will allow us to continue to be leaders in student support.”
Ivor Wynne Stadium, the Tiger-Cats’ previous home venue in Hamilton, is scheduled for demolition this month. A brand-new, world-class facility will open in Hamilton in 2014.