Private cash key

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

Whether it comes from David Asper or not, Winnipeg Blue Bombers president and CEO Lyle Bauer said private money will still be needed for a much-needed new or improved stadium.

Bauer has made it crystal clear over the last few years that Canad Inns Stadium, as it is now, can't be used much longer if the franchise is going to survive.

The club is milking all the money it can out of the 53-year-old facility, and Bauer has always said something will have to change soon if the franchise is going to keep up financially with its CFL brethren.

"There needs to be something done at this facility for our patrons," he said. "That's the fact of the matter. That is irrefutable. People know the benefit of having a good facility for their patrons."

A report yesterday that Asper wants to buy into the franchise and operate it as a public-private venture doesn't change the fact the Bombers still need a new home, Bauer said.

"This football club, and I know my board, is not naive enough to think that if there is a new facility to be built or significant improvements to (Canad Inns Stadium) -- and I mean significant -- that there will not have to be some sort of private partnership, joint-venture funding or things along those lines," Bauer said.

"We have some very smart people on the board, and they're not that foolish to think that's going to happen."

The options include a brand new facility, for which a feasibility study has been ongoing for the last 20 months, or a major renovation to the current Maroons Road park.

Bauer noted CanWest Global Park and MTS Centre were both initiated with private funds and finished off with taxpayers' dollars. He said a similar situation would have to occur if the Bombers were to go ahead with a new multi-purpose facility.

"Obviously (a business model) has to contemplate some sort of private investment and borrowed money," he said.

"... There's people that may see it as a good business opportunity to invest money. Financing is another. So there's a variety of things.

"Ownership doesn't have to be a factor in the future."


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