$300M buys mediocre

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So this is what you get for a few hundred million dollars?

Meh, I’ve seen better.

The new chunk of concrete on the corner of Elphinstone and Saskatchewan Drive will wow people with its size and its pricetag. But for this guy, it left a lot to be desired. It’s average at best.

Anything brand new will look nice, especially when you compare it to the old place just down the street. But nothing had the ‘wow factor’.

Bare concrete walls along the concourse would have looked a lot better with pictures, posters and banners of former players. Where were Ronnie and George, Aldag and Elgaard? Photos of the championship teams were not visible. Why?

With more than 100 years of history, surely there are photo archives that could have been raided to help decorate the new joint.

The first thing you see when you walk through the front entrance at Yankee Stadium is the Great Hall – giant banners with the likes of Mantle, Ruth, Maris, DiMaggio, Mattingly, etc… It’s impressive. Immediately, you know you’re at the home of the Yankees. You can’t walk five feet without seeing a new picture of a memorable Yankees moment.

The exterior of Yankee Stadium is decorated with banners; there’s Babe Ruth Plaza just outside Gate 4 (the main entrance); and then there’s Monument Park.

The so-called new home of the Riders features more Mosaic logos than pictures of Roughriders legends. Sad. If it weren’t for the fans dressed in green and white, you could guess you’re at Mosaic’s newest potash mine.

The CFL has always failed when it came to marketing its marquee players. This new stadium falls right in line with that theme.

I’ve visited Chase Field in Phoenix, home of the 19-year-old Arizona Diamondbacks. There’s more history and nostalgia on display in that park than there is with the 107-year-old Roughriders franchise in their home park.

And about that name. I realize Mosaic paid for the naming rights, but “New Mosaic Stadium” is about as boring as it gets. I’m partial to calling it the Taxpayer Tomb.

The ads and promos on the big screen during commercial breaks are the same. This is another missed opportunity to enhance the gameday experience. But don’t dare try to change anything.

Perhaps the most impressive feature at the new stadium is the dressing room, a place where only the players and media have access. A barber shop, a spa, a small movie theatre for studying film. It’s a spacious room where you easily throw the ball around and not worry about constrictions. But it’s a room the fans, who paid for the place, will never see.

I have no sympathy for those who complain about long lines for over-priced food and drink. No one is forcing you to buy a $9 sausage. Long lines are to be expected anywhere tens of thousands of people congregate. Suck it up.

What did I enjoy about the new facility? The company in the pressbox. Good people like Rob Vanstone, Murray McCormick, Ian Hamilton, Mitchell Blair, Rod Pedersen, Glenn Reid are the highlights for me.

Enjoy the new digs, Saskatchewan. That is, if you can afford a ticket.

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