'Yeas' for Gliebermans

Lonie Glieberman, former part owner of the Ottawa Rough Riders. (SUN FILE PHOTO/Mark Webster)

Lonie Glieberman, former part owner of the Ottawa Rough Riders. (SUN FILE PHOTO/Mark Webster)

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

Renegades fans might want to dust off the once popular phrase "Yeah, that's the ticket!" upon learning the Glieberman family has finally and officially made its return to the CFL after a decade-long absence.

Before the league's board of governors voted to approve the team's sale and a new partnership involving Bernie Glieberman (51%) and original co-owner Bill Smith, incoming Renegades president Lonie Glieberman yesterday told the Sun of plans to reduce ticket prices at Frank Clair Stadium if he and his dad gained control of the franchise.

"They might drop by as much as 50% in a lot of cases," said Glieberman, who strongly supports a one-price system to reduce confusion. "We are looking to make some dramatic changes in game-day prices."

As for the 5,000 or so fans who have already purchased season tickets, Glieberman added: "Those seats aren't changing for this year, but we are planning to do some special things for them."

The Gliebermans were basically granted re-entry to the league during a governors conference call yesterday at 3 p.m., with six of eight "yeas" needed to seal the deal.

FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT

While it's believed the CFL will find participants revealing the results of the vote guilty of a crime punishable by death, league headquarters did end more than six months of suspense when it graciously confirmed approval with a release sent out around 6 p.m. at the end of the working week.

Because it is a holiday (Memorial Day) weekend in the U.S., Bernie Glieberman's arrival for a formal press conference is expected Tuesday, when the new ticket price points will be among the topics on the agenda.

In yesterday's statement, commissioner Tom Wright said he is "very pleased that Bill Smith will continue to provide continuity to the Renegades by maintaining a large ownership stake in the franchise. He is a very accomplished and skilled business leader who is now joined by Bernie Glieberman, an individual with equal talents in this regard. Both owners are avid sports fans and long time supporters in the CFL."

Any hesitancy the league had in okaying a return to Ottawa of the Gliebermans was based on a fear that fans in the city would reject the Detroit-based real estate tycoon and his son. Controversy -- along with the only .500 record in the team's final 18 years and substantial attendance figures -- marked the Gliebermans' two years (1992-93) as owners of the Rough Riders. From here, they owned and operated the Shreveport Pirates for two more years, before the CFL abandoned the U.S. expansion experiment.

"Bernie brings to this franchise a pledge to the city of Ottawa, to its community partners and to Renegade fans across the country to build the trust and respect so important between team and fan," continued Wright, who earlier this week was in the nation's capital to help work on a new stadium lease that may only still need the mayor's stamp.

Contacted in Michigan last night, Bernie Glieberman deferred comment to his quote in the same release.

"We are excited to be back in Ottawa and delighted to be moving forward with Bill Smith in this venture," Glieberman said in the release. "This league has come so far in a very few years. It is strong, it is connected with its fans, it is on the move. My goal and my commitment is to ensure that the Renegades move quickly and responsibly into a leadership position on and off the field in this league."

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com 


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