The first episode of InsideTrack features Ottawa’s own Jeff Hunt. Hunt’s CV is long and impressive. In addition to owning the Ottawa Redblacks, Ottawa Fury FC, and the Ottawa 67s, Hunt was also a major force behind the redevelopment of Landsdowne Park.
In our discussion with Jeff Hunt, we wanted to learn more about his passion for sports entertainment, and his relationship with Ottawa - a city that the Newfoundland native migrated to at the age of 20.
During Hunt’s interview with Carlo Lombard, OBJ’s Multimedia Specialist, we learned a few things about sports, business and Ottawa’s multi-million dollar Landsdowne redevelopment project.
Here are a few of the highlights:
As a child in Labrador City, Hunt saw Gerry Organ (punter for the Ottawa Rough Riders) speak at his school. He became an immediate Ottawa Rough Riders fan and associated Ottawa with football from then on.
The biggest challenges facing the launch of the Ottawa Redblacks was overcoming the defeatist attitude toward football in Ottawa. You know - the people who insisted that Ottawa already had two football teams that had failed, why should a third be any different?
The Landsdowne redevelopment wasn’t just about football. In fact, in order to justify the $500 million redevelopment plan, Hunt had to bring in multiple revenue streams. This eventually led to the diversification of sports entertainment in the city to include the Ottawa Fury FC (soccer) hosting the 2016 Brier Cup (curling) and creating an attractive destination at Landsdowne with something of interest for everyone - not just sports fans.
The secret to his success? Paying attention to detail. In developing a multi-purpose entertainment park such as Landsdowne, you have to take every detail into account - ease of access, parking, food services. People aren’t going to want to come to a football game where they can’t park and food and drink lineups are out the door for a warm beer and hot dogs.
Thank you to this week’s guests for joining us on the InsideTrack.show:
Iman Faris, CFO at Surgenor Automotive Group @SurgenorOttawa
A.J. Plant, Regional Owner at EXIT Realty Eastern Ontario @EXITEasternOntario
Ernie Cecchetto, President at Roof Maintenance Solutions Inc. @Roofmaintenance
Dean Trudeau, OPES Wealth Management @OPESWealth
Allan Ghosn, Owner, Grade A
Matthew Stevenson, Partner at Stevenson & White @Stevenson&White