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Tim Hortons Field

Hamilton, ON

Home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats

3.1

N/A

Tim Hortons Field (map it)
64 Melrose Ave N
Hamilton, ON L8L 8C1
Canada


Hamilton Tiger-Cats website

Tim Hortons Field website

Year Opened: 2014

Capacity: 22,500

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Oskee-Wee-Wee ... Not Quite Fini!

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are home. Unfortunately for the Tiger-Cats and their fans, their new home is not quite finished. After spending decades playing at venerable Ivor Wynne Stadium, the necessity for a new stadium became paramount and by a stroke of luck the 2015 Pan-American Games facilitated that new stadium. The Canadian and provincial governments are notoriously stingy when it comes to the funding of professional sports stadia. With the city of Toronto being the main host for the Pan-American Games government money became available.

The City of Hamilton landed the soccer competition and combined with the federal and provincial governments to put together an acceptable facility. The legacy of such facilities became a big issue for the funding and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats became a logical factor. After a huge debate over the location of the new stadium, the final verdict would be that the City of Hamilton would own the new stadium and it would be located at the site of Ivor Wynne Stadium.

The construction required that the Tiger-Cats would have to relocate for the 2013 season, and they ended up playing their home games at an expanded Alumni Stadium at the University of Guelph. After numerous construction delays, it became clear that the new stadium would not be ready and an alternative place to play would be required for the Tiger-Cats to begin the 2014 season. The CFL season for Hamilton began at Ron Joyce Stadium, home of the McMaster Marauders. This was a major challenge for the Tiger-Cats as the CIS football stadium was not expanded and the Tiger-Cats were forced to play in front of crowds of only around 6,000.

The Tiger-Cats owner, Bob Young faced the fans and media on numerous occasions to explain the delays for the newly christened Tim Hortons Field. Finally, he was able to announce that the biggest game of the year for the Tiger-Cats, the Labour Day Classic against the hated Toronto Argonauts, would be the first game at Tim Hortons Field.

The Tiger-Cats, in their current incarnation, have been around since 1950. They claim eight Grey Cup championships (1953, 1957, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1972, 1986, and 1999). Both the Tiger-Cats and their fans deserve this new stadium. They have had patience in getting to the point where they could hold games there. The team and fans need to have a bit more patience because as much of an improvement that Tim Hortons Field is, when it is finished, it is going to be even better.

3.1

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

One of the areas that Tim Hortons Field is not quite finished is the concession area. There are a few large concession counters on both the east and west side of the stadium, but it is clear that the facilities are not quite the way they were designed to be. The result is a fairly limited menu.

The items that are on the menu are fairly high in quality. The prices for concession items are a bit on the high side (hot dog $6; popcorn $5, soda $4, beer $9). Other items that are available include chicken fingers, fries, beef jerky, burgers, nachos, and caramel corn.

Soda options are Coca-Cola products and beer options are fairly limited as well with Molson Canadian and Coors Light the main options. The other popular option that is of course available, and at a very good price, is Tim Hortons coffee. Expect the concessions to improve once the entire stadium is completed.

Atmosphere    3

Tim Hortons Field was rushed to become operational and the stadium is not entirely finished. This is extremely obvious when arriving at the stadium. Construction fencing is prevalent around the stadium and some of the more open areas on the outside of the stadium are not even close to being finished. The landscaping and gathering areas should be great when it is finished.

One of the biggest changes from Ivor Wynne Stadium compared to Tim Hortons Field is the orientation of the field. With the new construction a north-south orientation was planned for Tim Hortons Field. The reasoning behind this is better playing conditions for the players and a nice view of the escarpment from some of the higher seats.

Inside the stadium the openness becomes apparent immediately. With a giant videoboard at the north end of the stadium and the new Pioneer Energy Zone patio area in the south end, fans are given a whole new experience from that of Ivor Wynne Stadium. The east grandstand features two levels while the west grandstand features one level plus a luxury box facility and the CFL Hall of Fame club level.

One of the biggest improvements at Tim Hortons Field is the retirement of the wooden benches of Ivor Wynne and the adoption of modern stadium seats that offer sufficient space, leg room and cup holders.

The Tiger-Cats are attempting to show off some of their history, but it seems that this is also something that will be improved over time. The biggest sign of Tiger-Cat history is the 22 member Wall of Honour which is located on the west grandstand facia. Members of the Wall of Honour include John Barrow, Willie Bethea, Less Browne, Tommy Joe Coffey, Grover Covington, Bill Danychuk, Rocky DiPietro, Bernie Faloney, Jake Gaudaur, Tommy Grant, Garney Henley, Ellison Kelly, Bob Krouse, Pete Neumann, Paul Osbaldiston, Ralph Sazio, Vince Scott, Don Sutherin, Earl Winfield, Ben Zambiasi, Joe Zuger, and the infamous Angelo Mosca.

The gameday situation has also been improved for the new season in the new stadium. A fresh addition is the analysis of TiCat TV. This is a panel show that is played on the videoboard before the game, during breaks as well as postgame. The panel is live in the stadium and features former Tiger-Cats and Hamilton stalwarts Paul Osboldiston, Marwan Hage and John Williams.

The gigantic flag on the field during the national anthem has made its way from Ivor Wynne as have the flyovers from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum during afternoon games. The gameday experience is another area that will improve in the 2015 season when Tim Hortons Field is entirely finished.

Neighborhood    2

Tim Hortons Field remains a neighbourhood stadium. Located east of downtown Hamilton, most of the stadium is surrounded by residential areas and schools, with a little bit of business on Barton Street. There is very little in the way of eating establishments in the immediate area for patrons before and after games.

Your best bet as a fan is to find another place to spend your pre and post game time. One of the best ideas is to hit Hess Street South, between King and Main to the area known as Hess Village. This street is full of great bars and restaurants and may be the go to place in the entire city. In Hess Village a good spot to try would be the Gown & Gavel.

Other things to do in the downtown area would be a trip to the CFL Hall of Fame on Jackson Street or maybe even a Hamilton Bulldogs game at FirstOntario Centre.

Fans    3

Grading fans at Tim Hortons Field is extremely difficult. The Tiger-Cats have been at the bottom of the league in attendance for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. This is no doubt in part to the entire 2013 season being played at Alumni Stadium and the first part of the 2014 season being played at Ron Joyce Stadium. All of the games thus far at Tim Hortons Field have been sellouts, however the stadium is not even at the point where they can handle full capacity.

Tiger-Cat fans are generally viewed to be knowledgeable and hardy having dealt with many years of poor play on the field throughout the mid-2000s through to the early 2010s. It will be interesting to see how the fans take to the new stadium as time goes by. TiCat fans do have a reputation for travelling well and on a good day, you will find a lot of yellow and black in the Rogers Centre for an Argonauts versus Tiger-Cats game.

Access    3

Tim Hortons Field is located east of downtown, away from major arteries highway 403 and highway 6. It is also west of the Red Hill Valley Parkway. Getting to the stadium invariably requires travelling a significant distance along either Main Street or King Street, both of which are one-way streets. All things considered, traffic down these major streets moves quicker than one would expect.

Around the stadium, there are lots of little side streets. Parking can be a challenge to find. Street parking may be available if you are early enough. Tradition in the immediate neighbourhood is that patrons make a few extra bucks by selling their driveways to people who wish to park for the game. The lots in the immediate area are pre-sold to season ticket holders. Do some research before driving down to see the Tiger-Cats. There are a couple of areas that offer cash parking that can be found. Parking tends to go for $10-$15.

Public transit is available for those who wish to leave the car elsewhere. The TiCats Express travels from a few spots in the city and is free of charge. Do some research if you are planning on using the Express.

Inside the stadium, vast improvements have been made to the washroom facilities as well as the ability to travel throughout the stadium. Once all of the large open areas are complete, movement should be even better. One complaint about access in Tim Hortons Field remains the prominence of large staircases to get to the concourses.

Return on Investment    4

CFL football remains a pretty good investment for your sporting dollar, especially when compared to NFL football. Inaugural season tickets for the Tiger-Cats available on the secondary market are a bit pricey, but individual game tickets on the primary market run from $33 to $100. Parking will run from $10-$15 and concessions are a bit on the high side. The action on the field and game day experience are a fantastic return.

Extras    4

An extra mark for Tiger-Cat sponsored mascot/superfan Pigskin Pete. The derby-wearing fan has been a fixture at TiCat games for decades. There have been a few Pigskin Petes over time, but each one is charged with travelling the stands to lead the crowd in the Tiger-Cat cheer Oskee-Wee-Wee.

An extra mark for new tradition at Tim Hortons Field where John Williams awards the "Steel Mill Cowboy" awards during the postgame of TiCats TV. Williams dons the construction hat and hits the anvil with the sledge hammer for each recipient for the award.

An extra mark for a great halftime show featuring Hamilton band Monster Truck.

One final extra mark for what is one of the best rivalries in the CFL. The Tiger-Cats and the Toronto Argonauts have a heated rivalry that is one of the biggest in all of Canada. Fans do not like each other and have been known to engage in heated situations, yet remain respectful to each other.

Final Thoughts

If there were a final grade to be given to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 2014 season, it would be incomplete. There are great changes that have been made to the experience and greater things that are expected in the future. Tim Hortons Field will be an experience that the Hamilton fans deserve. Hopefully, the chant in 2015 for the Tiger-Cats will be "Oskee-Wee-Wee ... It's Done Fi-na-lly".

Follow all of Dave's sporting adventures on Twitter @profan9.

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Local Food & Drink

Gown & Gavel  (map it!)

24 Hess St S

Hamilton, ON L8P 3M8

(905) 523-8881

http://www.gownandgavel.ca/

Local Entertainment

CFL Hall of Fame  (map it!)

58 Jackson St W

Hamilton, ON L8P 1H4

(905) 528-7566

http://www.cfhof.ca/

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum  (map it!)

9280 Airport Rd

Mount Hope, ON L0R 1W0

(905) 679-4183

http://www.warplane.com/

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