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Old July 19th, 2014, 10:43 PM   #3961
elly63
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Redblacks’ TD Place makes its big debut
Rob Duffy TSN BarDown July 18, 2014

The CFL's newest team, the Ottawa Redblacks, played their home opener tonight against the Toronto Argonauts on TSN.

But the game isn't just the home debut for the team, it's also the unveiling of the brand new TD Place stadium at Lansdowne Park, which has been the subject of a massive redevelopment project in recent years.

With TSN broadcasting live from the stadium for the first time ever, we talked to Paul Graham, TSN's Vice-President and Executive Producer of Live Events, all about what went into the planning process for the stadium, and the key elements of executing a CFL broadcast from a new venue.

How involved was TSN in the stadium planning process at Ottawa's TD Place?

We had discussions early on with OSEG, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group a couple years out. Their ownership group led by Jeff Hunt was very receptive to our ideas. We conferred with their architect and with the design group to make sure that our television properties were part of the design and that we had some input in it. A few things were revised along the way, and generally speaking, we're very happy with the television layout of TD Place.

From a broadcast perspective, what are the key elements you look for in a stadium design?

In no particular order, we want to make sure that the broadcast booth has enough room to accommodate not only our announcers, whether it's Chris and Glen, or Rod and Duane , or Gord and Matt , but also our stats group that goes along with them. It should be a comfortable area with great sightlines, with windows that are weather-specific, so they can open up when the weather is nice and close if things get a little hectic.

We also want to know where our mobile trucks will park, to ensure that area is convenient not only for us but for the distribution of cable. The venues must be properly wired and cabled, because that decreases the time for our setup. It's much more efficient if the buildings are pre-cabled.

We also strive to position our cameras to create the best vantage point for viewers, and make sure we have a good end zone camera position, since that's a key angle for us. We know our panel will broadcast live on location for certain special events, and we try to make sure the backdrop is an impactful one. Those are the basic elements that you need to ensure that the television will be fantastic.

The other big thing is ensuring that the stadium has the ability to be expanded for television coverage when hosting the Grey Cup. All CFL stadiums need to be able to expand from their standard television setup during the regular season to a mega one at Grey Cup time.

Who does TSN work with to ensure that stadium designs are realized with television in mind?

It really is a partnership. We work with the CFL head office, the local team, and the design group they've hired, so it's basically a four-pronged group that works together to share their perspectives. From the league's standpoint, they work with us on video review, so we have to ensure we have the correct angles to support the video review system. The league also provides video for each team's coaching staff. They install a minimum of two cameras per game to shoot various angles so they can teach the players. So the league is very active to make sure that space is there for them. It's quite an active dialogue from all sides.

New stadiums have opened in cities across the CFL in recent years. Are there challenges that come with broadcasting from a new venue for the first time?

There's no blueprint for stadium broadcasts: Winnipeg is vastly different from Ottawa, or Hamilton, or from the design that's now taking place in Regina. Each one is creative in its own way, and that leads to additional challenges. But we have a full crew on hand for the Redblacks' opener, and they'll be testing everything. After two or three games, we typically have everything running smoothly.

In Ottawa, we had one hiccup with our end zone camera: the only place we could realistically put it was on top of a two-and-a-half storey building connected to a condo. So we worked through it with the developers, the Minto Group, and we now have a position there that will act as an end zone camera not only for us but the CFL as well. It doesn't matter how well you plan, there are always challenges.

What do you have planned for TSN's on-site panel from the home opener at TD Place?

For the opening game at TD Place, we've got a nice little corner position down at field level. We'll have our TSN set there with James Duthie and Jock Climie on it, and there will be interviews with Ottawa football greats Russ Jackson and Tony Gabriel. They'll pay a visit to the set, and we're also hoping to have CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon join us for an interview as well.

James is from Ottawa and he's a big CFL fan, so we wanted to include him, and Jock lives in Ottawa and played for the Ottawa Rough Riders, so we think that's a good fit to complement our main CFL ON TSN panel, which will broadcast from Toronto.

Along with TD Place stadium, the entire Lansdowne Park area is currently undergoing a complete redevelopment. What are the most interesting elements of it?

I was fortunate enough to produce games from Frank Clair Stadium back in the day, as well as hockey games from the Civic Centre arena, so I'm very familiar with the area. They tore down the south stands, which was a good thing, and the new south stands are quite amazing. They've also renovated the north stands, which now look almost brand new, though they've been there for quite some time. New seats and some paint can do wonders. And the seat colour structure, with the red, black, and light grey, certainly lends itself to a pretty camera picture.

But the best thing about the stadium is that the surrounding area will be fantastic. With newly constructed condos in the area, new restaurants, new bars, a cinema, and lots of added green space, the environment they've created at Lansdowne Park will be a destination for people in Ottawa. That coupled with a sharp-looking stadium will make for a great experience for anyone who's planning to go to both Redblacks games and any other events held there.
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Old July 20th, 2014, 03:44 AM   #3962
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Ottawa's new TD Place Stadium is still working out a few kinks
Tim Baines Ottawa Sun July 19, 2014

So much went right for the Ottawa RedBlacks during their first-ever home game, an 18-17 win over the Toronto Argos, at the stunning new TD Place Friday night.

But it's the things that went wrong that the folks at Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group are aiming to fix right away.

Some of the complaints included: ATMs weren't working, long lines at concessions (some of which ran out of food), plugged-up toilets, and a concession stand that had to be closed in the north side.

"These are growing pains," said OSEG CEO Bernie Ashe. "The kinds of issues we faced (Friday night) are things that in our business we try to make sure we address every single night.

"We're not there yet. We had fans that didn't have a positive experience as it relates to food and beverage lines and wait times for food. Those are things we're taking responsibility for and we're going to address."

It's not as if those in charge are going to turn away from complaints. They met for much of Saturday to deal with issues and hope to have a better experience by the time Ottawa Fury takes the field for an NASL game Sunday.

"We know there's more work to do," said Ashe. "We had some problems in the upper north. We had to close a concession stand because we had a blockage in a drainage pipe which was caused by construction debris. That's one of the consequences of rushing to the finish line. So by the time we play (Sunday) with the Fury, all the concession stands will be open in the upper north.

"The general problem with beer availability is we just couldn't move the beer around fast enough. There were big lineups in areas that were congested, elevators and so on, that we were trying to move the beer and some of the food around in. So we couldn't get them back into the concession stands to refill them.

"Our ATMs weren't working. They're just not hooked up yet. We're bringing in some temporary ATMs for the Fury game. By the next RedBlacks game, all the ATMs will be working."

Glitches aside, many fans seemed to have a wonderful experience, obviously helped by the home team kicking a last-minute field goal to put away the Argos.

"I'm really proud of our team," said Ashe. "From a fan expectation point of few, the feeling might be, 'Boy, this is a great party, everything better work really well.' We know there are a lot of areas we can to improve on. It's our job to do that. We take it very seriously. We're hard on ourselves about making sure we can get those things working better.

"The kind of problems we had were really strictly around the volume of people that were moving around the place. It was 24,000 happy people. We opened early. Everybody when they arrived went right to the concession stands at 5 o'clock. We sold a lot of beer and a lot of food between 5 and 6. By the time we reloaded, it was a challenge. We couldn't keep up with the demand. It's a good thing that people were having fun."

There seemed to be particularly long and frustrating holdups throughout the second quarter and well into halftime.

"We need to get more hawkers into the stands with the beers," said Ashe. "What was happening is the hawkers as they were getting to the top of the aisles, people were buying all the beer. They weren't even getting into the stands. We expect we'll already show big improvement (Sunday, with close to 15,000 fans expected to watch the soccer game against the New York Cosmos).

Early estimates suggest there were about 5,500 people that took advantage of the free shuttles and another 7,000 or so taking OC Transpo.

"Reports we got were that traffic moved really well getting to the venue," said Ashe. "We cleared people at about 45 minutes out of the shuttle lot area and about the same amount of time out of the OC Transpo area on Bank St. That's really good timing to take 24,000 people. As you saw, the game ended with a late field goal, so everybody left at the same time. For a first event, we're really happy with the transportation."

The win was a huge bonus for everyone.

"Having a win helps us with some of the issues we're here to talk about," said Ashe, who was on his way out of the stadium when Jasper Simmons intercepted a Ricky Ray pass to end the game. The CEO was heading to the shuttle area to check on how smoothly it was working.

"I saw it, I was looking over the top," said Ashe. "I watched the pickoff, then I was ahead of the crowd over the bridge."

All things considered, most fans at the game would say it was an awesome experience.
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Old July 20th, 2014, 03:48 AM   #3963
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Pure footballl fandemonium at TD Place
Dani-Elle Dube Ottawa Sun July 18, 2014

It was pure fandemonium at Lansdowne Park's TD Place as Ottawa RedBlacks fans flooded the grounds Friday prior to team's home opener pre-game show against the Toronto Argonauts.

Fans sporting RedBlacks jerseys began lining up as early as 3 p.m. in front of the gates on Bank Street, site of the hottest party in town, just to be a part of football history.

"It's been nine years so I'm excited," said Steve Potvin, 49.

"We used to have season tickets. It was fun and was a nice gathering for the friends and I love the CFL."

Football fans Kerwyn and Cathy O'Neil were also season ticket holders and were glad to be back.

"It's interesting to see the team back again," said Kerwyn, 58.

"We've always supported the Ottawa teams like the 67's and the Sens, so it's great to see football back and I think it's great for the city."

"We're happy football's back in Ottawa," said Martin Girouard, 54, who brought his brother and son.

"We go way back. We were supporters of the original Rough Riders. It's going to be fun."

After waiting about an hour and a half, fans were finally let onto the grounds and made their way to the Aberdeen Pavilion where food trucks and a stage were set up.

Canadian band, The Trews, played some of their hits which added to the already-vibrant atmosphere.

"It's pretty electric," said Luke Richardson, former Ottawa Senators defenceman and now head coach of the Binghampton Senators.

"To see this many people here at Lansdowne is great. The last time the Sens made the Stanley Cup finals; it's pretty much this type of atmosphere. The ownership has done a great job bringing it back to Ottawa. I think Ottawa really embraces it."

Mike Moussette agrees.

"It's definitely going to be electric," said Moussette, 52.

"I was at the first Sens game and I think it's going to be the same kind of atmosphere."

"The day is amazing so far," said 24-year-old Chelsea Heyligen, 24.

"It's so cool. It's like a real tailgating experience. I've been to NFL games before and this is pretty comparable to one of those."

The success this time around, says Richardson, is RedBlack owner Jeff Hunt's abilities to make the RedBlacks a family experience.

"If you've seen what he's done in the past with the 67's, he's made it a real family-oriented type of atmosphere which you can see today and I think he's just going to continue that."
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Old July 20th, 2014, 01:20 PM   #3964
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Both courtesy of aerialphotographs.ca.
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Old July 21st, 2014, 04:36 PM   #3965
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Yuck. The site looks like a dog's dinner. Wouldn't mount that first shot on my tool shed wall.

The main grandstand really isn't compatible visually with the new stand. The old stand was a better fit visually. Just wasn't built to last.

But then, this project really wasn't about a football stadium. It was about whacking in a massive new commercial and residential project on Bank St. - which clears the way for more in the future - and getting Jeff Hunt a freebie arena renovation for his '67s junior hockey team.

Minto and friends will make some serious coin off the commercial development. Hunt will pocket some serious dough once again and likely host a Memorial Cup or two.

The CFL team will nibble away at the break even point in the short term. The best hope for the stadium is that the soccer team draws sufficient crowds to get the attention of MLS.
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Old July 21st, 2014, 05:12 PM   #3966
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It's still under construction.

I'm not happy with the incongruent nature of the project either, but it's quite fixable looking out 10-20 years. The hockey component could eventually be rebuilt off site and north grand stand built to match the south grand stand. Not only that, but there's enough room to add a complete bowl of seating in between the 2 if more capacity is needed.

It would need to be a sunken bowl as the other bits are fixed. A lot would depend on water table issues with the canal close by. If this build out ever came to pass Ottawa could end up with a quite a spectacular facility.

The Fury drew 14,593 fans to their home opener so it was a good showing. I'm confident that this metro can support MLS, but a lot depends on the right ownership group coming along. The RedBlacks have smart deep pocketed ownership and their home opener gave people reason for great optimism. That said, a CFL + MLS team is better for this stadium than just one principal tenant.
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Last edited by isaidso; July 21st, 2014 at 06:59 PM.
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Old July 21st, 2014, 06:19 PM   #3967
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flashman View Post
The main grandstand really isn't compatible visually with the new stand. The old stand was a better fit visually. Just wasn't built to last.
Architecturally I don't think that's critical, actually. That the stands currently appear so different is a testament to the different eras and styles behind their conception, and since they're on opposing sides means the issue only rears it's head from select perspectives. Depending on any future expansions or other sites changes there are opportunities for a more harmonious blending. I've certainly seen worse and the world has several grounds with imbalanced sides that are now considered classics.

. . . .

Question: Do we know for certain about any physical potential for future expansion? Has the southern end been hemmed in by the other development or could they possibly extend that lower tier of the east stand all the way around?

I ask because it would not only be fun to envision the design options but it'd be nice to know this facility could conceivably hold 40k for a World Cup match. (fantasy though it may be)
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Old July 21st, 2014, 06:24 PM   #3968
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The main stand is like that because there is a 10,000 seat arena underneath that stand. That is where the Ottawa 67's junior team plays. I'm guessing there is pretty much no way around tearing down that stand without greatly affecting the arena too.

The stadium was built so that it could expand up to 40k for hosting the Grey Cup. Ottawa will probably get the 2016 Grey Cup.
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Old July 21st, 2014, 08:19 PM   #3969
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I know the arena all too well. It was stretched to the limits of its capabilities when the Sens began life there. During this re-build, the 67s were forced to play at the Senators arena in Kanata and drew family and friends.

Now, Jeff Hunt can get his hands back on the udders of his cash cow.

There's some great establishments on Bank St. that could be affected negatively by the commercial development. When the Sens played there, the whole of Bank St. came alive at night and many places benefitted from the foot traffic. Great bars like Irene's or pubs like the Georgetown were fun to hang out in before or after a game.

No doubt, the commercial development will look to funnel sports fans away from such places, hopefully not to their demise or the detriment of a great neighbourhood.
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Old Today, 08:44 AM   #3970
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Tim Hortons Field promised ready by Labour Day

From CHC.com:
Quote:
(Updated)

Officials with Infrastructure Ontario touted the installation of the playing field as a major milestone in the $145.7 million project.

It’s where all 32 soccer competitions for the 2015 Pan Am games will be held. It’s also going to be home to the Hamilton Ticats when they get possession. The August home game is still uncertain.

“As far as the Labour Day game is concerned we are confident we will be there,” says Jean-Louis Fuz of Ontario Sports Solutions.

Officials say there are 500 workers on site. Even thought it doesn’t look like there’s much going on from the outside there’s lots of activity inside.

“The bulk of the work is being done inside the stadium, they’re installing mechanical and electrical systems, commissioning them,” says John McKendrick of Infrastructure Ontario.

But an inside source told CHCH News that there’s no way this stadium will be done by September. They say the washrooms aren’t even close to being done, the food courts wont be completed and the railings going up are just temporary. The source said quote, “it’s a nightmare.”

The project is worth $129 million to Ontario Sports Solutions, but the government is holding back much of that money as an incentive to get the job done.

The Pan Am games are July 7 to 26th, 2015.
The rest of the article, and a video, is here.
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Old Today, 08:54 AM   #3971
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SH*T!

That's 3 Hamilton home games that need to find a new facility. Ron Joyce? That place can only hold 6,000. What a mess.
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