Leveraging his success in turning a bankrupt Ottawa Senators team into one of the NHL’s most stable franchises, club owner Eugene Melnyk guaranteed that a professional soccer team with its own stadium in Kanata would be successful under his management.
“I want to ensure the committee and council that I will personally bring the same determination and fervor to an MLS franchise and I have brought to the Ottawa Senators and Scotiabank Place,” Melnyk said yesterday during a rare appearance at city hall in attempt to sell a proposed stadium to the city’s planning committee.
The proposed $110-million stadium, funded mostly through government, would house a Major League Soccer team, which Senators Sports and Entertainment is attempting to bring to the city.
The Kanata stadium is competing with a proposal from a group of local developers to refurbish Lansdowne Park and bring a CFL franchise back to the city.
Melnyk insists that an MLS team would provide far more consistent revenue for a large outdoor stadium, than a football franchise.
“We performed a thorough and painstaking business analysis on Major League Soccer,” he said. “I do not believe there is any other stadium model that could serve the community better and be as financially viable.”
While the stadium would be multi-use, it is unlikely a CFL franchise occupy the stadium at the same time as an MLS franchise, said SSE chief operating officer Cyril Leeder.
“You would be splitting the revenue streams from one facility amongst two teams. Instead of having one strong team, you would have two marginal teams,” he said.
Leeder said it would be more practical to establish one team, and then consider the business case for the other.
Although SSE is focusing all their energy on building a stadium next to Scotiabank Place, Leeder would not rule out building somewhere else, although he said he firmly believes it is the best location.