Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bombers' home finds its Investors

Winnipeg-based financial firm etches its name on new stadium

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It may take some getting used to, but the new home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Manitoba Bisons will be called Investors Group Field.

The Winnipeg Football Club has extended a long-standing partnership with financial services giant Investors Group to include the naming rights of the new football stadium at the University of Manitoba, it was announced Wednesday. A stadium logo was also revealed, featuring the corporate IG logo, a black serif font with the name Investors Group Field and two white arches -- which will become the signature impression of the facility.

"This is a team that Winnipeggers take pride in... to be able to have some pride in the types of companies that are built, rooted and started here in Winnipeg, we feel that's a good thing," said Murray Taylor, president and CEO of Investors Group.

"We wanted to be a part of that."

Both the Bombers and Investors Group say the move was simply the right fit. Investors is a nationally recognized company based out of Winnipeg and has been a corporate partner with the Bombers for over 35 years -- two major factors in what the football operation was looking for when they put out the call for the naming rights earlier this year.

Jeff Thompson, the chief transition officer in charge is moving the Bombers into the new facility, said the club approached about 100 national and provincial companies during the process -- looking for the right fit both economically and publically -- before drafting a 12-year naming-rights commitment with Investors Group.

"We're very fortunate that we not only met all of our commercial requirements and needs, but we are also so fortunate to have this national company that is 80-plus years old, as we are, and totally aligned with our core values and principles," Thompson said.

The duration of the arrangement between the not-for-profit football club (with its new taxpayer-funded stadium) and the financial group runs until the 2024 season but the monetary details of the deal were not disclosed.

In 2001, the football club sold the naming rights to Winnipeg Stadium to Canad Inns, a Manitoba-based hotel chain, for $1.5 million over 10 years ($150,000 annually).

The deal wasn't great for the Bombers, as they had little leverage with a crumbling stadium and a product that didn't enjoy the rabid fanbase it does today.

Sources in the business community indicate the club was looking for at least $500,000 per year for the rights this time around, but Thompson wouldn't confirm that figure or expand on what Investors Group is on the hook for.

"We're very proud of having a 12-year deal that (meets) all of our financial requirements," he said.

The football stadium is the second sporting venue at the U of M campus that carries the Investors Group brand. The Investors Group Athletic Centre houses both the Bisons men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams, along with the Canadian national women's volleyball program.

The new 33,500-seat bowl stadium (which can be expanded to seat 40,000 for major events) is under construction. Blue Bombers interim CEO Ossama AbouZeid said the building is on schedule and doesn't anticipate any delays in the immediate future.

The $190-million facility is scheduled to open for the start of the 2012 CFL season.

Investors Group Field is just one of three CFL stadiums that have corporate names attached to them (Rogers Centre in Toronto and Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field are the others). Percival Molson Stadium, home of the Montreal Alouettes, is named after the former McGill University athletics star, not the beer company.

Get a glimpse of the Investors Group Field, soon to be home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 15, 2011 C4


Updated on Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 8:57 AM CST: Adds video

9:45 AM: Adds slideshow, moves video to separate story

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