Profits?

GEOFF MATTHEWS -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:57 AM ET

For a man who has spent close to half a century focussed on making money, the idea of buying a CFL team seems an odd choice.

CFL teams can burn up budgets faster than a Saturday night frat party goes through beer, and the Ottawa Renegades' new owner Bernie Glieberman is well aware of the fact.

But buying the team has little to do with business strategy and lots to do with enjoying the spoils of a lifetime of hard work for Glieberman.

"I can afford to do it," he says simply when asked why he bought the local football franchise for a second time. Glieberman and his son Lonie owned the Rough Riders in the early '90s. "I don't want to throw money away, but owning a professional sports team is something that not too many people get to do. I hope to have a lot of fun with the team."

Part of it is social. Glieberman is looking forward to hanging out with the other team owners, entertaining them when they visit Ottawa and having the favour returned when he goes elsewhere.

Spending more time in Canada is part of the attraction.

"I love Ottawa and Toronto; Montreal I don't know too well yet. It's a whole different pace when I come to Canada," says Glieberman, who was born and raised in Detroit. "You (Canadians) have a better quality of life ... it's more European. We (Americans) have a higher standard of living."

He promises not to interfere in the club's day-to-day operations. "I don't worry about the game at all ... Forrest (vice-president of football operations Forrest Gregg) translates for us. The ownership doesn't have to make the football decisions. We don't know the game well enough."

And here's some music for the ears of coach Joe Paopao. Glieberman hopes to see him around for the long term. He sees a partnership between the coach and Gregg. "The players like Joe ... I would like to see him be our long-term coach."

Glieberman said he was encouraged to get involved again in the CFL because he could see the ownership in the league was so much better now than it was 14 years ago.

"Today the owners can afford to carry the teams. The league is well run now. It's on top of everything. That's so different than before."

He plans to be at most of the team's games, but those he can't attend in person he'll watch from home, on his 52-inch screen. "I'll be pacing the family room."

The toughest part of watching a game?

"It has to be the last three minutes. If there's a gap of less than 15 points in the score with three minutes to go, anything can happen."

geoff.matthews@ott.sunpub.com


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