Interesting stuff from Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post, as Senator David Braley– owner, hilariously, of both the Argos and the B.C. Lions of the CFL– said today that his intention is to sell both clubs within three years. He also says, according to Fitz-Gerald’s piece, that “he is ‘well down the road’ in talks with more than one community to build a new stadium for the Argos.”
“Fundamentally, I’m talking to three communities — four as of Tuesday of this week — with regards to land, and with regards to building a new stadium of somewhere around 27,000 to 29,000 people for football and soccer,” Braley told the National Post on Friday.
He would not identify the communities.
Even more heartening, however, is this quote:
“Well, I’m well down the road with the municipalities,” Braley said. “I would say that it’s even possible that I could have a decision within a year. And if you do that, then you can build it in two.”
Earlier today the Jays issued a press release announcing the extension of the Argos’ lease until 2017 at the latest, though we’ve known for a couple of weeks that was coming. The stuff about the new stadium that Braley is looking into finding, however– and the other communities involved, and the depth to which they seem to be involved– is very much new.
None of this means that we have any more clarity today on when the Jays may be able to move forward with their plans to install a grass playing surface at Roger Centre– in fact, Braley left open the possibility of the Argos extending their stay at the Rogers Centre beyond 2017, if needed, saying that he doesn’t think that the team will be thrown out– but the three year exit plan and the potential to be breaking ground very soon on a new home for the club suggests that the possibility of the Argos opting out of their Rogers Centre lease early is maybe stronger than the most pessimistic of us have hoped.
Or this could all just be lip service, or some kind of negotiating ploy in the hopes of getting stadium funding out of some sucker community who is terrified of letting the opportunity to be boondoggled pass them by. I don’t know if it needs to be quite that complicated, though. Consider that less than a year ago “North of Steeles” Markham nearly subsidized a hockey arena for a non-existent team to the tune of $325-million– a proposal that was deliciously excoriated by Parkes over at Fanatico.
But please Vaughn, Mississauga, Pickering, whoever you are, don’t let that stop you from getting this Argos deal done! Shit, maybe you even have some broken down stadium just lingering around, waiting for a temporary tenant, and the Argos can move there while the shovels are in the ground– after all, the Ti-Cats are doing it in Guelph while the new Ivor Wynne (read: Tim Hortons Field) is being constructed.
Yes, that is the new pipe dream– and you know, even if there isn’t a proper stadium out there in whatever suburb lands this juicy fish, the Wikipedia entry on Lamport Stadium says it seats 9,600– huh? huh? huh? I mean, that can’t be that much smaller than what’s needed to accommodate current Argos crowds, right? Right??
Seriously, though, get the fuck out already.