Ottawa Bidder Drops Out

In disappointing news, the CFL announced today that the Golden Gate Capital group has withdrawn from the process to land a CFL franchise for Ottawa-Gatineau. Not much more information was available, except that the withdrawal was due to “health concerns of one of the principals”.

Golden Gate, with Jeff Hunt as a non-investor figurehead, was the front-runner in the franchise search process and was even predicted to be awarded the franchise in these pages. Their elimination from the competition severely weakens the field in my opinion. This is partly due to the other groups being much unknown in terms of their vision for the CFL and an Ottawa franchise.

There is some discussion that the process will slow in an attempt to woo other bids. Also thrown about is the possibility of one of the other groups bringing Jeff Hunt in as their person to operate the franchise. This is assuming Hunt is not the individual with health concerns, which, although the release states investor, cannot be ruled out.

The remaining two groups bring facets that are a concern to me. The Bill Palmer led group, though he has a previous connection with Ottawa and the CFL, consists of American financing. The record of Americans owning CFL franchises is not good, with the only example of a success would be Robert Wetenhall in Montreal. Bernard Glieberman failed with three franchises and Michael Feterik turned a successful franchise he purchased from Sid Gutsche in Calgary into shambles. The second group is spearheaded by Frank D’Angelo (Steelback Brewery) and backed by the financing of pharmaceutical billionaire Dr. Barry Sherman. While they demonstrate money behind their backing (if they are committed to losing their money without turning tail) their few comments before they respected the CFL gag order did not provide confidence that they have a detailed business plan and understanding on how to approach the Ottawa region marketplace.

Combine either of these groups with the local, business expertise of Jeff hunt and they could be a winner. I will not again predict who will be successful for fear of jinxing another bidder. I do think that the process will be delayed and a final decision will not be offered until possibly the off-season. I even feel, however ridiculous, that the CFL would even pass on awarding the franchise if there was any doubt about there being a solid group. I hope the CFL has come that far at least.

2 Responses to “Ottawa Bidder Drops Out”

  1. Bill Says:

    I believe I read somewhere that it was Jeff Hunt’s financial investor that was recently diagnosed with cancer that caused the withdrawal. That’s too bad. They were the front-runners, right?

    The ottawa re-re-re-expansion or whatever it’s at now was delayed until 2008, right? Lots of time to find the perfect mate for Ottawa.

  2. Jon Says:

    Bill: Yes, after this post was written, reports came out that Ernest Anderson, the man behind Golden Gate, was the one diagnosed with intestinal cancer. We wish Mr. Anderson all the best in battling this disease.

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