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Investors Group Field
250px
Location University of Manitoba
Chancellor-Matheson Road
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Broke ground May 20, 2010
Opened June 2013 (planned)
Owner Winnipeg Blue Bombers
City of Winnipeg
University of Manitoba[1]
Operator Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Surface Turf
Construction cost $195 million
Architect Raymond S.C Wan
Tenants Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL)
Manitoba Bisons (CIS)
Capacity 33,422[2] (40,000 with temporary seating) (football)

Investors Group Field is a football stadium currently under construction in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.[3][4] The stadium is being built on the grounds of the University of Manitoba campus at the intersection of Chancellor Matheson Road and University Crescent next to the existing University Stadium.[1] This facility will be the home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League and the University of Manitoba Bisons football team. It will also be one of the venues for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, hosted by Canada.

The capacity of the new stadium will be 33,422 (partially covered) and the playing field will be covered in the winter, allowing year-round recreational use.[2][5] The stadium, will have a corrugated metal roof, restaurant, 52 suites, walk of fame, parking garage and other amenities.[6]

Financial detailsEdit

David Asper's original proposal involved both Federal and Provincial financial contributions ($40 Million each), as well as a transfer of assets (the publicly owned Blue Bomber franchise itself will be transferred into Asper's control, and the existing undeveloped commercial real estate surrounding the stadium). As part of Creswin's commitment to the project, Asper pledged to contribute $65 Million toward the Maroons Road development. In addition to stadium construction, the Asper proposal included 217,000 sq ft (20,200 m2) of retail development and a two level parking facility.

However, Asper and Creswin were removed from the deal as they made significant changes to the stadium design which broke the original contract agreement.[7][8] The total will now come to $190 million with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers paying back $85 million and the provincial and city levels of government splitting the rest of the costs as proposed earlier.

StatusEdit

The stadium was approved on April 2, 2009. On March 31, 2010 it was announced by the three levels of government that the stadium will begin construction in May 2010 and should be completed in time for the 2013 CFL and CIS seasons. Site excavation began in September 2010 and construction on the lower bowl began in December of that year. The project has been dubbed "Project 85" by the development team in honour of retired Blue Bomber receiver Milt Stegall. Local firm Raymond S.C. Wan Architect has taken on the project.[9]

Winnipeg's new stadium incorporates a bowl layout with seats on all sides surrounding a playing surface located eight meters below ground. This arrangement will create the experience of entering the stadium at the concourse level with the seats cascading below. Of the 33,422 seats, 22,000 will be located below ground, with an open concourse encircling the stadium that will provide a view to the field from every part of the stadium. The design will accommodate temporary seating over this concourse at each end zone to increase capacity to more than 40,000 for larger events such as the Grey Cup.[2] The CFL has also stated that, with the new stadium, Winnipeg will be guaranteed to host a Grey Cup.[5][10]

According to Winnipeg Free Press columnist Brent Bellamy, in an article entitled "The Jets and a big-league stadium, too", "the bowl configuration creates an atmosphere of intimacy with more seats being located closer to the field. With only 52 rows, the new stadium will have nearly 25 fewer than Canad Inns Stadium, as seating will be spread more evenly around the entire field instead of in grandstands that rise up along each side. The trade-off for this proximity will be fewer seats between the goal-lines and more seats in end-zone locations."[11]

The stadium will have a large opaque metal roof, cantilevered over the seating areas, that will provide weather protection for up to 80 per cent of the seating and it will also enclose the spectator's field of vision to create an enhanced sense of intimacy. Canad Inns Stadium was known as one of the loudest stadiums in Canada, the new stadium's roof is designed to have an undulating profile that will act as a baffle, capturing and redirecting sound throughout the stadium, bringing the noise to another level.

Providing structural support for the cantilevered roofs are two arched bow trusses that rise 57 meters over the site and span the length of the building. These steel-tube trusses connect to a system of tension cables that support the roof from above, suspending it over the seating without any columns to obstruct views. Similar to Wembley Stadium in London, England. The arches form a unique silhouette on the skyline and create an iconic architectural image that is instantly recognizable. They will also serve as a platform for dramatic lighting or fireworks displays.

The new stadium will be a major-league facility and will provide all the amenities found in modern stadiums.[12] One of the most interesting features will be the large HDTV video screens that will be mounted above each end zone, which if lined up together, will stretch 75 yards from midfield to the back of the end zone and be almost as high as the goalposts. Each screen will compare in size to the famous Jumbotron in Toronto's Rogers Centre, once the largest in the world.[13]

The west entry service road off of Chancellor Matheson Road next to the Investors Group Field will be named Ken Ploen Way, in honour of former Blue Bomber quarterback and CFL Hall of Famer.[14]

On December 14, 2011 a 12-year agreement was made with Winnipeg-based Investors Group to name the stadium, Investors Group Field.[15] Interim CEO of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Ossama AbouZeid said, “Today’s great announcement is another chapter in what will be a spectacular facility and one of the premier sports and entertainment venues in North America.”[16]

Stadium historyEdit

2007Edit

The owners of Canad Inns, a Winnipeg based hotel business and current naming rights holder for the Blue Bomber's existing stadium, forwarded a plan in 2007 to redevelop the entire site for commercial use and construct a football stadium for the Blue Bombers in another location. This proposal, although rejected in favour of David Asper's plan, called for a $265-million stadium at the former Public Markets site in the St. Boniface industrial park, which Canad Inns purchased from the city. The domed stadium would have been part of a $500-million complex that would have included a four-star hotel and an indoor water park.[17]

David Asper's 2007 proposal called for a new stadium to be built where the then 54-year-old Canad Inns Stadium stood, with new retail stores. The $120-million Asper stadium would have been a semi-covered building with up to 40,000 permanent seats, a two-tier parking garage, and more retail and restaurant space. Under his plan, Asper, executive vice-president of CanWest Global Communications and a former Blue Bombers board member, would have assumed control of the CFL franchise[18] — a move that would have changed ownership of the team from public to private hands.[17]

The Blue Bombers board of Directors investigated the possibility of rebuilding or substantially upgrading the existing stadium, largely with funds generated from the sale or lease of the adjacent commercial lands[19] (the team holds the right to develop this property itself as part of its refinancing agreement with the City & Province). Being a community owned business, however, the Bombers organization would have had difficulty in accessing the capital required to move forward with such plans directly. The board placed its plans on hold pending the outcome of Asper's proposal. The government was unwilling to grant Asper the $40 million at both the provincial and federal levels because it believed the money to be more of a gift than a grant. They[clarification needed] drew up a second proposal, where the same 30,000-40,000-seat stadium would be built instead in south Point Douglas. This new plan, they said, would greatly aid in urban renewal in what is the poorest neighborhood in Winnipeg. There was also a state-of-the-art water park & hotel, commercial buildings, and several other new buildings in the multimillion dollar proposal. However there was controversy here as well since south Point Douglas is an avid art community; many of the residents didn't want their character buildings to be destroyed, or suffer the loss of their homes. There is poor road access in and out, and also parking was of concern.[20]

2008Edit

On September 13, 2008, a letter of intent was signed between Asper's Creswin Properties and the University of Manitoba, allowing planning to continue for a stadium at the intersection of Chancellor Matheson Drive and University Crescent. The site is adjacent to the current University Stadium, which was built for the 1967 Pan American Games. The new proposal includes the construction of a 33,422-seat stadium, renovation of the existing stadium, and a world-class fitness facility. Inflatable 'bubbles' covering the playing field will also be made available in both stadiums during the winter months. The new stadium would also be home of the University of Manitoba Bisons Football team. The design allows for expansion to 40,000 seats for the Grey Cup.

2009Edit

The stadium was approved on 2 April 2009.

2010Edit

On March 31, 2010 the province of Manitoba agreed to loan David Asper $90 million in order to guarantee that the project would break ground in 2010 and ensure that the stadium would open for 2012.[21] David Asper was later removed from the deal as he made significant changes to the stadium design which broke the original contract agreement.[7][8][22]

Canadian Football League commissioner Mark Cohon, Premier Greg Selinger, David Asper, and Mayor Sam Katz and U of M President David Barnard officially broke ground at the site on May 20, 2010.

2012Edit

The new stadium was expected to be ready for the start of the 2012 season.[12] However, on May 2, 2012, the Blue Bombers announced that because of constructions delays, the stadium would not be ready until September, thus forcing the team to play four or five home games at Canad Inns Stadium to start the season.[23] In June 2012 it was announced that the stadium would not open until the 2013 season.[24]

On May 4, 2012, Winnipeg was announced as one of the six Canadian cities that will host the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. Games in Winnipeg will be played at Investors Group Field.[25]

2013Edit

The CFL released its 2013 schedule, with the Blue Bombers playing their first game at Investors Group Field on June 27 against the Montreal Alouettes. Taylor Swift will play the first concert at the new stadium on June 22.[26][27] Paul McCartney will follow with a concert on August 12.[28]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 http://www.journalofcommerce.com/article/id43587 Winnipeg football stadium to be ready for 2012 season
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Stadium+brings+cool+Winnipeg/5178085/story.html Stadium brings a new 'cool' to Winnipeg
  3. http://www.blueandgold.ca/
  4. http://tsn.ca/cfl/story/?id=273524
  5. 5.0 5.1 http://www.cfl.ca/article/bombers-accelerate-stadium-plan
  6. http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Molson+Stadium+toast/5403779/story.html
  7. 7.0 7.1 http://cfldb.ca/single-points/2010/12/asper-officially-out-winnipeg-stadium-deal/
  8. 8.0 8.1 . http://www.cbc.ca/sports/football/story/2010/12/13/mb-stadium-financing-details-bomber.[dead link]
  9. The Jets -- and a big-league stadium, too By: Brent Bellamy http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/the-jets----and-a--big-league-stadium-too-131439343.html
  10. http://www.bluebombers.com/page/stadium-facts
  11. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/the-jets----and-a--big-league-stadium-too-131439343.html
  12. 12.0 12.1 http://www.winnipegsun.com/2011/08/26/blue-bombers-stadium-taking-shape
  13. Facts http://www.bluebombers.com/page/stadium-facts
  14. BLUE BOMBERS ANNOUNCE PLANS TO NAME STREET NEXT TO NEW STADIUM, "KEN PLOEN WAY" http://www.bluebombers.com/article/blue-bombers-announce-plans-to-name-street-next-to-new-stadium-ken-ploen-way
  15. http://www.winnipegsun.com/2011/12/14/welcome-to-investors-group-field
  16. “Bombers add naming rights to new Stadium” December 14, 2011 http://www.cfl.ca/article/bombers-add-naming-rights-to-new-stadium
  17. 17.0 17.1 Canad Inns proposes domed stadium for Winnipeg
  18. Asper makes $65M bid for Blue Bombers http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2007/01/15/asper-bombers.html
  19. http://www.mcgowanrussell.com/projects/wbb.php
  20. Gary Lawless (27 March 2010). "Selinger grabs ball on stadium". Winnipeg Free Press. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/selinger-grabs-ball-on-stadium-89319412.html. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
  21. Bartley Kives (31 March 2010). "Manitoba gives $90M loan for new Bombers stadium". National Post. http://www.nationalpost.com/sports/story.html?id=2748771. Retrieved 2010-04-07.[dead link]
  22. Ed Tait (20 May 2010). "Sod turns on new stadium". Winnipeg Free Press. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/sod-turns-on-new-stadium-94403949.html. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
  23. "First game in new stadium could be as early as Sept. 9: Bombers". Winnipeg Free Press. 25 May 2012. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/First-game-in-new-stadium-to-be-Sept-21-Bombers-149833095.html. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
  24. "Bombers to play entire season at Canad Inns Stadium". Winnipeg Free Press. June 15, 2012. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/football/bombers/159204945.html.
  25. Ed Tait (5 May 2012). "Winnipeg to host FIFA Women's World Cup". Winnipeg Free Press. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/soccer/Winnipeg-to-host-FIFA-Womens-World-Cup-150207165.html. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  26. "CFL releases 2013 regular season schedule url=http://www.cbc.ca/sports/football/cfl/story/2013/03/05/sp-cfl-season-schedule-2013.html". CBC. March 5, 2013.
  27. "Fewer bums in seats at Investors Group Field url=http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/fewer-bums-in-seats-at-new-stadium-182643051.html". Winnipeg Free Press. December 8, 2012.
  28. "Paul McCartney to play Winnipeg Aug. 12". Winnipeg Free Press. 22 April 2013. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Paul-McCartney-to-play-Winnipeg-Aug-12-204106261.html. Retrieved 22 April 2013.

External links Edit

MediaEdit

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