Soccer stadium, Canadian Premier League team could come to Saskatoon by 2024

From community programs to elite soccer and concerts, Prairieland plans to build an outdoor stadium in Saskatoon that would also host a Canadian Premier League franchise team.

According to Steve Chisholm, chairman of Prairieland’s board of directors, the 5,500-seat multipurpose facility would cost about $28 million in total.

“We anticipate this to be a generational installation,” he said Tuesday.

« We’re not just building it for the group that will be here in the next five years. But we certainly hope it will grow and grow as well. »

The new stadium has the potential to expand to 8,000 seats in the future, according to the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority’s Canadian Premier League Football Stadium Economic Impact Study from 2021.

The proposed site for the stadium is Marquis Downs, the former space used for horse racing in the city.

Location key for the project: rights owner

Prairieland is supporting the project with more than $2 million in cash as well as « hundreds of thousands of dollars in support staff, » Chisholm said in a press release.

He is now seeking additional support from the community and all levels of government, he added.

Prairieland, however, already has an anchor tenant for the new stadium.

The Saskatchewan company that holds the rights to develop and launch a CPL expansion team in Saskatoon is on board as a private investor and partner.

Al Simpson of Living Sky Sports and Entertainment Inc. has pledged $2 million for the construction of the stadium, in addition to covering franchise and team start-up costs, Chisholm said in a press release.

« We are a nation of immigrants, » Simpson said Tuesday. « Football is a universal sport. That will not change. Football is the sport of the world. »

Chisholm said he would like to start as soon as possible, hoping to see football matches at the stadium by 2024.

The launch of the province’s first CPL club in the city depends on Saskatoon building a stadium that meets CPL standards, according to the Economic Development Authority’s impact assessment.

« If you want to develop a sports franchise anywhere in the world now, location is very important, » Simpson said.

« There are jurisdictions in this country that are dying to be able to go three minutes from downtown to a place like this. »

Estimated production, financing needs

Construction of the football stadium is expected to generate one-time output of $35.8 million, while first-year operations and tourism are expected to generate around $6.07 million, the document said.

The economic impact of ongoing operations and tourism is estimated at $83.05 million over 10 years, according to SREDA’s economic impact study from 2021. (Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority)

Next week, Prairieland plans to make a presentation to the city about the project, Chisholm said.

While unable to share the amount of financial support they hope to receive from Saskatoon, the September 2021 report from the economic development agency projected that city funding could be approximately $7 million, the same amounts coming from the province and the federal government. Infrastructure.

These figures were based on « an average construction estimate of $25 million ».

On Wednesday, Mayor Charlie Clark said he was just learning more about the project and didn’t want to make any promises about potential city funding.

« Obviously there are a lot of different capital projects…that we’re trying to make sure we can do, » he said.

« We’re not looking to spread ourselves so thin that we can’t deliver any of them. »

Prairieland says the goal is to create a multipurpose stadium space that can grow with the sport, be used by other bands, and double as an outdoor concert venue. (Saskatoon Grasslands Park Society)

It might not just be football fans and players who could use the future stadium.

The facility could also serve as an outdoor concert venue and be used by other sporting groups, such as cricket and rugby teams.

« It’s a much-needed stadium in Saskatoon, » Saskatoon Cricket Association president Mustafa Rashid said, and « it’s definitely going to be a game-changer. »

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