Over the summer, Ottawa officials terminated the Ottawa Champions’ RCGT Park lease while both sides moved forward with an agreement that allowed the club to continue operations on a per-hour arrangement. The Champions had been committed to the facility under a 10-year lease since their 2015 launch, but the agreement was terminated by the city earlier this year after the team fell C$418,942 in arrears. Owner Miles Wolff has been working to sell the team, but we may be looking at a situation where anyone willing to step up and pay off the city debt–now estimated to be $463,000 after the Champions missed a September lease payment–will be able to work out a new lease for the ballpark.
The two groups seeking the lease are polar opposites when it comes to size and experience. Ottawa Sports Entertainment Group (OSEC) already operates three sports teams–the CFL’s Ottawa Redbacks, the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s and USL Championship’s Ottawa Fury FC–while also managing TD Place Stadium and TD Place Arena. OSEC had also done some sales and marketing work on behalf of the Champions in the past, and they’ve brought in Regan Katz, vice-president and chief operating officer of the Winnipeg Goldeyes (independent; American Association) as part of their bid.
The other group doesn’t have the experience of OSEC, but says they have the passion to make the Champions work. This group is made up of Rob Abboud, Robert Lavoie and Fred Saghbini, who own and operate various businesses in the Ottawa area.
RCGT Park first opened as JetForm Park in 1993 for the Ottawa Lynx (Class AAA; International League), before hosting multiple independent clubs following the Lynx’s relocation to Allentown, PA after the 2007 season.