NEWS
10/17/2011 06:03 EDT | Updated 12/17/2011 05:12 EST

Stampeders looking for a piece of the sports stadium-building action

If money is being tossed at stadium building or renovations, the Calgary Stampeders want a piece of the action.

Team president Lyle Bauer said Monday the Stampeders are looking to upgrade 35,650-seat McMahon Stadium to make it a more comfortable, modern and profitable home for the CFL club.

Or if a new stadium is built, the Stampeders would be happy to play in it.

Amid talk of new NHL arenas in Edmonton and Calgary, and with CFL teams across the country either building or having just completed new facilities or major refits, he doesn't want his club overlooked.

"We want to make sure we're out there and make a point that we're the only club in the country with a 50-year-old stadium without plans for either a new one or a refurbished one," Bauer said in a telephone interview.

McMahon Stadium was built in 1960 for $1.05 million and is owned by the University of Calgary and run by a non-profit organization. It has expanded over the years, and had renovations in 2001 and 2005 mainly to add corporate boxes, but Bauer said more work is needed.

He hopes at least to improve the washrooms and concession areas, and add modern infrastructure such as a digital scoreboard and advertising bands that enhance the show for the fans and bring in more sponsorship and advertising revenue.

Bauer said extra revenue would help the Stampeders keep pace with other CFL clubs and fund the team's community projects.

He said there have been casual talks with various levels of government, but so far no formal plans for the stadium have been made. The club is looking at ways the work could be funded, including guaranteed loans and public-private partnerships.

And no time frame has been set for a project that would likely take several years. Until then, they'll make do at McMahon.

"I wouldn't say it's dire, but (the stadium) is very old," he said.