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'The closest we've ever been,' says Halifax mayor of CFL franchise pitch

Mayor Mike Savage said the league wants a 10th team, and Halifax is the logical choice for an expansion
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Mike Savage speaks to media after winning 2016 municipal election. (Andrew Pinsent/

Haligonians have been hearing rumours of a CFL franchise for years, but the mayor seems to thinks recent discussions could be the closest we've been to having professional football in Halifax.

A group of business people, along with representatives from the CFL, met with council earlier this week, the session was in-camera and therefore not public.

Mayor Mike Savage said the league wants a 10th team, and Halifax is the logical choice for an expansion.

He told NEWS 95.7's The Rick Howe Show, he's been approached a number of times over the years to talk about the possibility, but the discussion usually died on the stadium issue, but that's not the case this time.

"They've gone away quietly and done a bunch of due diligence and have come back with a plan which could lead to an ownership group, a CFL team, and most importantly because it's the biggest hurdle, the potential of a stadium," he said.

He's adamant the municipality has no interest in investing a large chunk of capital money in one, so it would have to be largely private sector-led.

"If there's a way that we can do this without putting capital up front, in other words, look at perhaps offsetting with future revenues from a site, or some kind of creative way, which has been done in other areas, Ottawa is a good example, then I'm quite sure council would look at it very seriously," he said.

"This is the certainly the closest we've ever been, the furthest along, and the most serious we've seen a group come together on this."

Savage said they have their eye on a number of potential locations, adding a stadium could also draw significant concerts back to Halifax.

In a statement released yesterday, the CFL confirmed they're in discussions with a group interested in bringing a franchise to HRM.

"While this group has been professional, enthusiastic and impressive, these conversations are relatively new and a very thorough process of due diligence must be put in place and completed before we can fully assess the viability of the project," they said.

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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