Sports Football

New Bombers stadium impresses 0

By Ross Romaniuk, Winnipeg Sun

It has spacious seats, five acres of roof and Canada’s largest and highest arch trusses spanning 190 metres, about 200 feet above the ground.

And what appears to be an alarmingly tiny press box.

Those are some of the early reviews on Investors Group Field, as the next home stadium of the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers was given a close look by tour groups on Thursday while it remained under construction.

“The video screens are 123 feet by 20 feet, and high-definition. They’re state-of-the-art, and will really enhance the viewing of the games,” Mike Klynes, project manager with Stuart Olson Dominion Construction, told a group of mostly University of Manitoba alumni touring the complex as part of a homecoming week at the campus.

“When you’re standing here and hear the roar of the crowd, all you have to do is look over your shoulder to see the play. And every other column in the facility, on the upper concourse and lower, has two high-definition video screens for while you’re walking.”

Klynes added an impressive sound system and structural acoustics will enhance the fans’ football experience “when you’re in here rooting for, hopefully, our winning team.”

The comment prompted chuckles from the crowd.

Brett Sylvester and Ken Burns, co-owners of All-Star Tours and Bomber season ticket-holders, said they’re eager to get into what they described as the “nice, big” seats when the team begins play at the Fort Garry campus facility next year.

“There’s not a bad seat in the house. Fans are going to love it,” Burns said.

Sylvester added it’s “wide open, with a lot of access to everything.”

About the only shortcoming Burns could see is its approximately 33,500 seats — a capacity he said should have been 40,000 to “think about the other generation” of Bombers fans to come.

The approximately $200-million stadium’s completion appears quite a ways off while major work continues on its structure, field level and grandstands.

While news cameras kept watch on visitors touring the site, some reporters wondered aloud whether the stadium’s press box is going to be able to accommodate enough media crews for Blue Bombers games. It appears far too small in its frontage facing the field.

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