By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Hamilton businessman David Braley is looking to sell his two Canadian Football league franchises within three years.
“I will be selling them by the time I turn 75,” said Braley. “I have three years to go.”
The 72-year-old Ontario senator says he has been talking to three people interested in buying the Toronto Argonauts. In addition, Braley says there are about seven people interested in buying the B.C. Lions.
Braley, speaking to about 60 people at a Progressive Conservative party fundraiser Sept 18 at the Lakeview in Hamilton, the Burlington resident said he is also looking at building a new stadium for the Argonauts. Already, there are four municipalities with land that would accommodate a new facility, he said.
While selling the B.C. Lions will be easy because the franchise is doing well financially, Toronto, which he bought in 2010, will be more difficult, said Braley.
“They are still losing money,” said Braley. “We will eventually make money. We need a new stadium and I have three communities looking at land now. There is a fourth one as of today (Sept. 18).”
He said a location, and securing the money for a new facility should be completed within a year.
Some of the money will come from both the provincial and federal governments, he said.
The Argonauts were looking to sign a new lease agreement to play at the Rogers Centre earlier this month. But it is expected their time at the facility will be short lived. The Toronto Blue Jays are looking at replacing the facility’s artificial turf and replace it with grass.
Argonaut officials have talked about moving to BMO Field, if the owners, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd, expanded the facility. In the early 2000s theArgosconsidered relocating to Varsity Field at the University of Toronto, but it fell through. Varsity Stadium was demolished.
Meanwhile, Braley says he expects no problem selling the Lions, which he acquired in 1997. Under his ownership, the Lions have averaged 30,000 people at B.C. Place Stadium, with tickets at $50 each. They also now have large business sponsorship, he said.
“We are a very, very successful franchise and many people would like to buy it,” he said.
The Lions have won the Grey Cup in 2000 and 2006. The 2014 Grey Cup will be played inVancouver, the second time in four years.
Braley, who is president and owner of Orlick Industries Ltd, is a past owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and former acting CFL commissioner.