Dealing for the 'Gades

Renegades quarterback Kerry Joseph takes the snap during practice Monday at Frank Clair Stadium....

Renegades quarterback Kerry Joseph takes the snap during practice Monday at Frank Clair Stadium. (SUN/Sean Kilpatrick)

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:29 AM ET

In search of a Bob Young for the Renegades, the CFL might be wise to consider the one it has.

In fact, the Hamilton Ticats owner is so high on the viability of the Ottawa market he wouldn't rule out adding a second team to his stable yesterday.

Not that the league would ever go for it, right?

"This is the CFL," Young reminded from Raleigh, N.C., where he is founder and CEO of Lulu.com, a digital publishing website. "The CFL is the league that let two of its nine teams have the same nickname for 60-odd years. If (B.C. Lions owner) David Braley wanted to buy (the Renegades) I'd vote for it. And if I wanted to, I'd hope he'd vote for it."

Young, an accommodating Hamilton native who spent 14 years in the hardware leasing industry before striking it rich, admits he isn't the "optimal solution" for the Renegades, however.

Better that somebody like former Rough Rider great Russ Jackson ("Russ would be the perfect solution. He has the brand ... he would bring the brand to the story. Russ Jackson would get my vote," says Young) hook up with Ottawa-born movie star Dan Aykroyd and hire sports marketing experts to run the business.

The way Young has.

Since purchasing the Ticats in 2003, Young has completely turned the franchise around. Corporations and fans have responded to his ways. Sponsorship is up, as are season ticket numbers, which are on pace to "substantially exceed" the 16,000-plus of a year ago.

While he is not on the committee charged with finding a new Ottawa owner, Young says he knows that more than one "credible group" has made a phone call to inquire about the Renegades.

Time is an issue, though, and with each passing day it looks more and more like the league will at least suspend the franchise for a year.

In Young's opinion, that might not be the worst move.

"We've done some homework in the Hamilton region, and the fans don't seem to be too worried," he said. "A well-run, eight-team league is a very appealing proposition to them.

"What we want to do is make the right decision, not the first decision," he added of an Ottawa partner. "Time is on our side.

"We've got to back up, no question. We haven't run the Ottawa team as well as we need to. We now have models we can use ... Toronto, Calgary and Hamilton ... we have to come into Ottawa and treat the fans like customers.

"I don't see any reason football can't be a wild success in Ottawa."

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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