Investors Group Field

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Investors Group Field
Investors Group Field logo.jpg
Investors Group Field Winnipeg Manitoba
Location University of Manitoba
Chancellor-Matheson Road
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Owner Winnipeg Blue Bombers
City of Winnipeg
University of Manitoba[1]
Operator Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Executive suites 46[2]
Capacity 33,500,[3] (expandable to 40,000)(football)
Surface FieldTurf Revolution[3]
Construction
Broke ground May 20, 2010
Opened May 26, 2013
Construction cost $210 million[4]
Architect Raymond S.C Wan
Tenants
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL) 2013-present
Manitoba Bisons (CIS) 2013-present
Winnipeg Rifles (CJFL) 2013-present

Investors Group Field is a football stadium in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.[5] The stadium, which opened in 2013, is located on the University of Manitoba campus next to University Stadium.[1] It is home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, University of Manitoba Bisons football team, and the Winnipeg Rifles (CJFL). The stadium will be one of the venues for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, hosted by Canada.

The stadium has a capacity of 33,500 (partially covered). The stadium contains a corrugated metal roof, restaurant, 52 suites, walk of fame and other amenities.

History[edit]

Development[edit]

The owners of Canad Inns, a Winnipeg based hotel business and naming rights holder for the Blue Bombers' former 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.[6]

David Asper's original proposal involved both federal and provincial government 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.

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[7] (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. Creswin drew up a second proposal, where the same 30,000-40,000-seat stadium would be built instead in south Point Douglas.[8] 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.[9]

An in-game photo of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on offence versus the Hamilton Tiger-cats.

A letter of intent was signed on September 13, 2009 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. The stadium was approved on 2 April 2009. The province of Manitoba later 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.[10][11] 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.

The Canada vs USA women's soccer game exhibition played in May, 2014 to a 1-1 draw.

Asper and Creswin were removed from the deal as they made significant changes to the stadium design which broke the original contract agreement.[12] The revised cost amounted 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 previously proposed.

The new stadium was expected to be ready for the start of the 2012 season.[13] 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.[14] In June 2012 it was announced that the stadium would not open until the 2013 season.[15] In December 2013, it was reported that the previously-announced inflatable dome had been dropped from the plans in 2012.[16]

In 2014, the builder, Stuart Olson Dominion, put a 1.9 million dollar lien on the stadium because they claimed they were owed for some of the cost overruns.[17] This dispute was resolved later that year, with the province contributing an additional $1.5 million to cover additional costs incurred during construction, bringing the total cost to $210 million.[4]

Event history[edit]

The stadium hosted its first event on May 26, 2013, with the One Heart Winnipeg celebration, a multi-denominational church service organized by several local church groups.[18]

The Blue Bombers played their first home game at Investors Group Field on June 27, 2013, losing 38-33 to the Montreal Alouettes.[19]

Taylor Swift played the first concert at the new stadium on June 22.[20][21] Paul McCartney followed with a sold-out concert on August 12.[22]

The Canada women's national soccer team played their first game at Investors Group Field on May 8, 2014 against the USA women's national soccer team, with the result in a tie (1-1); this match was the first soccer game in this stadium.[23]

In May 2012, Winnipeg was announced as one of the six Canadian cities that will host the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. Group D, including the United States, Australia, Sweden, and Nigeria--the so-called "Group of Death"--will play their first four games at Investors Group Field.[24]

In March 2014, it was confirmed that Investors Group Field would host the 2015 Grey Cup.[25]

On July 27, 2014, Beyoncé and Jay-Z brought their co-headlining stadium On the Run Tour to Investors Group Field. This was one of their two Canadian stops for this tour, the other being the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

On July 24, 2015, One Direction will play here on their On the Road Again Tour.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Peter Caulfield (March 28, 2011). "Winnipeg football stadium to be ready for 2012 season". Reed Business Information. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Brent Bellamy (10 October 2011). "The Jets -- and a big-league stadium, too". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  3. ^ a b "Stadium Information". www.bluebombers.com. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  4. ^ a b "Stadium dispute resolved, final price tag $210 million". Winnipeg Free Press. 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  5. ^ "Blue Bombers to get new stadium and new owner". TSN. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  6. ^ "Canad Inns proposes domed stadium for Winnipeg". CBC News. 10 April 2007. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  7. ^ http://www.mcgowanrussell.com/projects/wbb.php
  8. ^ "Asper unveils new stadium vision". Winnipeg Free Press. 27 June 2008. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  9. ^ Gary Lawless (27 March 2010). "Selinger grabs ball on stadium". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  10. ^ Bartley Kives (31 March 2010). "Manitoba gives $90M loan for new Bombers stadium". National Post. Retrieved 2010-04-07. [dead link]
  11. ^ Ed Tait (20 May 2010). "Sod turns on new stadium". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  12. ^ "Asper out of Blue Bomber stadium plans". CBC Sports. December 13, 2010. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  13. ^ Ross Romaniuk (2011-09-07). "Blue Bombers stadium taking shape". Winnipeg Sun. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  14. ^ Gary Lawless and Bruce Owen (25 May 2012). "First game in new stadium could be as early as Sept. 9: Bombers". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  15. ^ "Bombers to play entire season at Canad Inns Stadium". Winnipeg Free Press. June 15, 2012. 
  16. ^ Bartley Kives (6 December 2013). "Winter stadium bubble deemed impractical". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  17. ^ Bartley Kives (10 January 2014). "Construction firm slaps lien on stadium". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  18. ^ Alexandra Hall (May 27, 2013). "Church service a first look at Bombers' new digs". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  19. ^ Paul Wiecek (28 June 2013). "Bombers late to the party". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  20. ^ "CFL releases 2013 regular season schedule". CBC. March 5, 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  21. ^ Bartley Kives (December 8, 2012). "Fewer bums in seats at Investors Group Field". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  22. ^ "Paul McCartney to play Winnipeg Aug. 12". Winnipeg Free Press. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  23. ^ Ed Tait (May 9, 2014). "World's best can't beat Canada". Winnipeg Free Press. 
  24. ^ Ed Tait (5 May 2012). "Winnipeg to host FIFA Women's World Cup". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2012-05-04. 
  25. ^ Judy Owen (26 March 2014). "CFL to show off Investors Group Field as Winnipeg picked to host 2015 Grey Cup". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 

External links[edit]

Media[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Canad Inns Stadium
Home of the
Winnipeg Blue Bombers

2013-present
Succeeded by
Current stadium
Preceded by
University Stadium
Home of the Manitoba Bisons football team
2013-present
Succeeded by
Current stadium

Coordinates: 49°48′28″N 97°8′35″W / 49.80778°N 97.14306°W / 49.80778; -97.14306