Regina NFL Preseason game conflict revisited after negotiation emails released
It could have brought thousands of NFL fans to Mosaic Stadium, but for now, those looking to see some live preseason action will have to head elsewhere.
“I don’t think [the deal] ever fell apart, the promoter just chose a different venue,” said Tim Reid, CEO of the Regina Exhibition Association LTD.
REAL says Regina did everything it could to land the NFL preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders, that would have taken place later this month.
But in the end, it came down to the promoter choosing Winnipeg and Investors Group Field over Regina’s Mosaic Stadium.
“To the credit of all of our partners, the City as well as the Province, they came up with the funding agreement that they were hoping for, the promoter was incredibly diligent within the market place and all of our partners, including the Saskatchewan Roughriders, came together to try to make it happen and the promoter when it came time to sign the deal decided that he was going to sign in Winnipeg and not here,” said Reid.
After months of negotiations, a Memorandum of Understanding was reached between the promoter, On-Ice Entertainment Limited, and the Regina Exhibition Association Limited on March 1.
Emails released through a freedom of information request – now posted to the City’s website – show that prior to signing a deal to take the game to Winnipeg, promoter John Graham stated he felt there wasn’t enough community support behind the NFL game in Regina.
“Although we chatted last evening and great efforts were made, and even if the conditions were accepted as per the agreement returned Monday the 25th we feel that the only way a project like this can work is with the full support of the community,” stated Graham in an email to Reid on March 29.
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere disagrees.
“I can’t speak for the province, but I know they were certainly prepared to step up, we were prepared to step up, the Riders were supportive as well, so the community was ready for this,” he said.
Both the City and REAL aren’t ruling out a future NFL game in Regina, but Reid said the timing needs to be right.
“The reality of it is we’ve got a very busy year between two Garth Brooks concerts that are loading in now – the only outdoor dates in all of Canada – as well as a great NHL outdoor experience and so we were sensitive to the face that this market has a lot of disposable income being spent on a lot of other ticket prices,” said Reid.
Ticket sales have been slow for the game in Winnipeg with only 8,000 tickets sold earlier this week, but Reid added that he’s confident that the game would have sold well in Regina.
The Packers take on the Raiders in Winnipeg on Aug. 22.