Ticats playing in London?

The Ticats expected Ivor Wynn Stadium to undergo only a partial renovation, but after further...

The Ticats expected Ivor Wynn Stadium to undergo only a partial renovation, but after further review the decision was made to build a stadium from the ground up. (QMI Agency/Brian Donogh)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:54 PM ET

LONDON, ONT. - You may not want to believe it, but the idea isn't as far-fetched as you think.

London has as good a chance as any city to be the temporary home of the CFL's Tiger-Cats while a new stadium is being built in Hamilton in 2013.

The Ticats expected Ivor Wynn Stadium to undergo only a partial renovation, but after further review the decision was made to build a stadium from the ground up.

That means the Ticats are going to have to play their 2013 schedule somewhere else.

Places like Quebec City, Moncton, Halifax and Toronto have been thrown into the mix.

But London has TD Waterhouse Stadium. It has several connections to Hamilton and the Ticats. It also has the kind of location the Ticats are looking for.

While Ticats president Scott Mitchell said the club isn't deep in discussion about where they will play in 2013 right now, he hopes to have the issue resolved in another another six to nine months and "it would be a natural conversation to have about playing a game or games in London in 2013."

"We have a tremendous relationship, both from an organizational perspective and personally with Therese Quigley (head of Western athletics) and Greg Marshall," Mitchell said. "We think the world of those two and the Mustangs program. It's something we've talked about, playing an exhibition game there."

Quigley was the director of athletics at Hamilton's McMaster University for a number of years, while Marshall coached the Ticats and the university's Marauders.

Mitchell said the Ticats consider London an important area.

"Everyone is well aware that we've been up there the last couple of years. We held a practice in London a couple of years ago," he said. "We certainly consider London part of our Tigertown area. We've got a decent fan base in London, some season ticketholders. Regardless of the stadium issue, it's certainly an area we plan on marketing -- not just the Ticats, but the CFL as well."

TD Waterhouse seats about 8,000. With additional stands for homecoming, that number goes to 10,000. Frank Earle, general manager of TD Waterhouse says for the Canada Summer Games in 2001, enough bleachers were brought in to seat 16,000 fans.

"It would be possible to seat 20,000, but then you are looking at scaffolding," Earle says.

He said he hasn't heard anything about the Ticats being interested, but the cost of adding the additional seats for the Games came to $25 per seat.

Earle did say that more permanent seating that would be in place for a year would probably be cheaper.

As for the Ticats, the first decision they have to make is whether they want to go on a barnstorming tour where they would play games in several locations, or whether they want to remain in one location.

"The priority for us is first and foremost is to provide a great solution for our fan base," Mitchell said. "Whatever the best solution is, we're going to exhaust it. Beyond that, we have a very important mandate in this organization to regionalize the team and grow the team west to London, north to Guelph and south to St. Catharines."

With the Mustangs, Beefeaters, top-notch high school programs and a strong minor-football program, London is a football hub.

A venture like the Ticats, especially one that is going to be there for only a year, will likely do well. The team would also draw everywhere from Kitchener to Windsor.

"I've spoken to Therese previously about it and recently very informally," Mitchell said. "We plan to sit down sooner rather than later to talk about some possibilities."

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