Tim Leiweke, CEO of MLSE, wants to renovate BMO field. This isn’t a particularly newsworthy statement, as he has been open about such plans in the past, but what’s noteworthy about it today is that he’s dreaming bigger than just a roof. Chris Johnston of the Rogers-owned Rogers Sportsnet landed an exclusive interview with the head of the Rogers-owned company after learning that “a complicated and costly deal is in the works that would see Toronto’s BMO Field significantly expanded in time for the Maple Leafs to host the Winter Classic in their centennial season.”

That would be 2016-17, but according to Leiweke’s scheming, the expanded facility’s big opening day wouldn’t necessarily be just in time for January 1st, 2017.

“It fits a lot of needs,” he told Johnston of the potential project. “It renovates it for TFC, it certainly renovates it for the Pan Am Games, it renovates it for rugby. The Grey Cup would be phenomenal in an outdoor setting in Toronto on the lake, but (the Winter Classic is) clearly one of the things we put on the wishlist.”

The Pan Am Games? The Grey Cup?

So… uh… are you telling me that an expanded BMO could be a stadium capable of hosting CFL football games, and ready in time for July of 2015?

Even sooner, probably, since TFC’s use of the stadium would begin with preseason games in mid-March of that.

Obviously I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here — OK, way ahead of myself — but… um… then how about the 2015 Argonauts season?

Shit, how about any Argos season?

Leiweke makes no such suggestion. In fact, he talks about bringing the stadium’s capacity “to one level for permanent and expand it for things like this,” referring to the Winter Classic. But he did say Grey Cup, too, and for that they’d need to expand the field. Such thoughts instantly rankle just about every soccer fan in the city, myself included, but it’s not completely untrue that there is some sense to be made of this marriage.


This pitch at BMO is 68 metres across (per Wikipedia), while a CFL field is 59 metres wide, meaning that the intimacy of the sideline seats wouldn’t need to be spoiled — or not spoiled much, depending on how much territory is needed on the sidelines– for soccer. A CFL field is longer than BMO’s pitch by thirty-two metres in total (i.e. a little less than half the pitch in width), so that remains an issue, but the stadium’s horseshoe shape means that it’s not entirely inconceivable that it could be done without being too disruptive to the soccer experience from the stands.

On the pitch, though? Different story. Maybe it could work. They hold rugby matches at the stadium and the pitch stays intact, as far as I’m aware.

The Seattle Sounders share a stadium with the Seahawks and make it work, but it isn’t a grass field.

Could the soccer pitch be covered over for a day when the facility is needed for football, in the same way that the ice at shared hockey and basketball venues is? Because moving back to artificial turf, or running the risk of damaging the current playing surface, would sit very, very poorly with soccer fans– as in, fans of the club MLSE already owns, has started investing heavily in, and plays a sport that, if we’re being honest, is much more viable long term than the CFL. Not only that, it would seem a strangely accommodating decision just to squeeze in nine or ten dates per year of minor league football.

However, one of MLSE’s co-owners — Bell, parent company of TSN — certainly wouldn’t view the CFL, and the potential revitalization of the Argo franchise that way. And the other owner needs to get the Argos out of their damn baseball stadium. So perhaps there are other factors that could drive such a move.

Perhaps they go even deeper than that.

Former Toronto Star man, Chris Zelkovich, writing now for Yahoo! Sports, has a theory– and it involves the NFL.

The talk is that MLSE wants an NFL franchise but realizes that Roger Goodell and company are reluctant to stage a Canadian invasion because they don’t want the CFL’s blood on their hands. The thinking is that there’s little doubt a Toronto NFL team would kill the Argos with the CFL disappearing into oblivion shortly afterward.

To get around that, the theory goes, MLSE would buy the Argos and thus secure their future, thus allowing the NFL to march triumphantly into Toronto without fear of being implicated in the CFL’s demise.

It’s a bit fanciful, he admits, but it’s definitely interesting. And while we’re on the subject of expanding the capacity of BMO, not to mention being fanciful, perhaps part of the scheme could even include a way to add even more than the 22,000 extra seats Johnston figures in his piece would be necessary for an event like the Winter Classic to be feasible there. That would bring the total number of seats to 44,000, which is well below the standard for an NFL stadium — only nine of 31 (discounting the Vikings’ temporary home at the University of Minnesota) have capacities below 70,000, when standing room and expanded seats are counted — but if they could set it up so that further expansion could happen when the time is right…

Again I’m getting well ahead of myself. But holy shit, whatever the scheme is, if Leiweke is anywhere close to serious about these changes — which, it must be noted, have many obstacles to overcome still before coming to fruition — being in place in time for the Pan Am Games, can somebody please get the Jays set to crank out the plans for Rogers Centre grass so that they can be put into action the damn second it’s confirmed the Argos are leaving.

The. Damn. Second.


Glorious image still via James_in_TO.

Comments (89)

  1. Good article stoeten
    When will the hot stove heat up again?

  2. “minor league football”? Soccer “more viable long term than the CFL”? Have you even seen the television numbers for the CFL? It’s competitive with Hockey Night in Canada.

    This is just more anti-CFL pettiness from a Rogers employee. Heaven forbid anyone at Rogers acknowledges the CFL is the second most popular sports league in Canada.

    • There are two things correct in your comment, and they’re both in quotes made by me.

      OK, three. Yes, the CFL does get good TV numbers. That has zero to do with the long-term viability of the sport, but hey, congratulations all the same.

      I’m not a Rogers employee, champ.

      • Rogers owns the Score, no?

        Look, I’m a fan of MLB and the CFL, and I’m just getting sick of having to listen/read/watch Rogers belittle the CFL, while TSN doesn’t spend any time covering the Jays.

        With Rogers having exclusivity to MLB, and TSN having exclusivity to the CFL, you can’t get any unbiased coverage anymore.

        • Rogers doesnt own the Score’s online presence.

        • Rogers bought the Score TV. The digital is still independent.

          The CFL viewership numbers are extremely regionalized. They compete head to head with hockey night in Canada because of high numbers in places like Saskatchewan. The numbers are considerably lower in Ontario.

      • How can you question the long-term viability of the CFL? It’s never been better! We’ve got a new team this year, and hopefully another in the Maritimes within a couple of years. There’s a new stadium in Winnipeg. There’s a new stadium in Hamilton next year. Half a new stadium in Ottawa. Saskatchewan is building a new stadium for 2017, and BC just refurbished their stadium.

        And HOPEFULLY a new stadium for the Argos!

        The CFL is alive and well!

        • I know that most stadiums anywhere don’t get built without public money, but geez, there’s a tonne of public money going into those facilities, and I hardly think that shows that the teams are economically viable. I’m sure they all are better off than the one in this city, and I’m not suggesting the league is on its last legs or anything, but that’s a pretty rosy way to look at it.

          I mean, it’s an 8/9 team league in Canada where one owner controls two clubs, and can’t find anyone to take one that’s in the country’s largest market. TV numbers are great , yes. And I get that we get a warped sense of it being in Southern Ontario, because nobody cares outside of Hamilton, a very small core of fans in Toronto, and (basically/anecdotally) the elderly. But talking about long-term viability, MLS just has so many obvious advantages.

          They’re already pushing around enough money to be competing for certain talent with major European and South American– not nearly the best talent, for sure, or the really rich teams, but the bar keeps going up. They’re getting stadiums too– shit, the Sounders play in an NFL stadium and make it work. And just look at who some of the owners are: Jorge Vergara (Mexican billionaire), Stan Kroenke (Denver Nuggets/Avs, St. Louis Rams, Arsenal, wife’s dad is a Walmart co-founder), AEG, Robert Kraft, Manchester City/New York Yankees, Merrrit Paulson (son of ex-Tresury Secretary and CEO of Goldman Sachs), Red Bull, Paul Allen, and, obviously, MLSE.

          Not all the teams are backed by that level of money, and I know soccer has failed on this continent before, but man… they’re figuring it out, they’ve got so much untapped potential in terms of grassroots development and building the sport that way (which is only helped by the fact that it’s so cheap to play), and with Rogers always seemingly sniffing around the NFL for Toronto, which would be a huge hit to the CFL in what ought to be their biggest market, I sure as hell know which league I’m betting on in terms of long term health.

          Not saying the CFL isn’t viable, but making concessions to it at the expense of an MLS team, especially in this market, is batty.

          • Oh, and the CFL sucks.

          • TFC has been such a missed opportunity by MLSE so far. Went from the talk of the town, to something people made fun of, to something nobody even talks about in the span of 4 years. Maybe turning it around now, but we’ll see if they missed their chance. Really ruined a potentially good thing.

          • I don’t know enough about the MLS to comment on it’s future. I’m not a soccer fan, and I don’t really care. But I do take exception to the CFL being labelled as “minor league”.

            The CFL is the best Canadian Football league in the world (different than American football) and it’s the second best gridiron football league in the world (in terms of talent. I still think it’s more entertaining football). Where does the MLS rank in terms of soccer leagues?

            The BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps play in the same stadium and that works. The Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders play in the same stadium and that works. Let’s do the same in Toronto.

            • I remember a couple months ago hearing Dave Naylor on pro-CFL TSN saying that it probably makes sense to think of the CFL like AAA baseball.

              If you look at things like ticket prices, player salaries, and the overall economic impact of the league – it IS minor league (other than the strong TV numbers you mentioned). That doesn’t mean the emotional attachment the fans have is any less though.

            • Perhaps Stoeten should have questioned the long term viability of the Argos rather than the CFL in general. As you say, the Western teams seem awfully healthy as far as I can tell.

              But the Argos are essentially the Phoenix Coyotes. Braley bought them because no one else would – and it seems there’s nobody who’s interested in taking that team on – possibly with the exception of MLSE who may only be interested because it would help them bring an NFL team to town.

              So, while the CFL itself may be healthy, it’s hard to argue that the Argos have anything other than a token presence here.

              • Half of the population of Toronto was born outside of the country. The Argos and CFL have had good years and bad. They have survived by adapting and will most likely continue to do so. A smaller stadium would seem to be a good idea.

          • I don’t know about that Stoeten. Both teams and both leagues are kind of still sad sack piece of shit jokes. The CFL had two fucking teams out of 10 names the Roughriders for fucks sake!

            And I’d take a huge fucking pause before I considered MLS ready to vault into the North American sports pantheon. I’d go on some diatribe about soccer or something but this statistic really says it all:

            MLS TV ratings are lower than the ratings for the WNBA! I mean, that just about says it all doesn’t it?

            Just because soccer gives you warm and fuzzy feelings in your special place doesn’t mean that there has been a single indication that professional soccer has any major growth potential in the US and Canada. So lets simmer down and send both of those teams to Exhibition place where they can actualize the old “tree falls in a forest” adage.

        • Any league where guys need to have a second job, I don’t think you can say is alive and well.

      • I can’t believe you’re still having to explain the “Rogers doesn’t own The Score online properties”.” I don’t work for Rogers”
        It seems.you’re going to be doing that infinitim.

        • Alright, sorry, my bad. I didn’t know. The rest of my point remains though.

          • No problem.
            It’s just that Stoeten has explained it every time it’s been raised.
            I’m surprised it’s an issue at all,even if Stoeten was a Rogers employee,I doubt it would affect anything.
            The people at Sportsnet properties have not been stifled or censured when it comes to criticism of the Jays. ( it destroys credibility) So I doubt Stoeten would be.
            Stoeten is a blogger not a reporter. Nor does he aspire to be a reporter ( so he has claimed many times). This gives him the autonomy to be honest and independant in his appraisals.He’s about the fatherest you can be from being a shill for Rogers.
            It also allows for a difference of opinion. The debate in a semi-unmoderated forum , the truth comes out.

            • OK, I appologize to Stoeten, I don’t usually read the comments, so I didn’t realize that.

              But I do find that with sports coverage coming increasingly from only 2 sources, and those sources buying up teams and exclusivity to leagues, I’m seeing all kinds of pettiness from both sources.

              As a fan of both MLB and the CFL I find that in the summer I have to watch Rogers or listen to the fan to get baseball coverage. But then I have to suffer through zero CFL coverage, or sarcastic mocking when it is brought up. If I want CFL coverage, I have to switch to TSN or TSN radio but then suffer through lack of baseball coverage, or over-the-top criticism and mockery of the blue jays. It’s as if the producers make sure that any league not owned by their network is downplayed as much as possible.

              I used to listen to the Fan on my drive to and from work every day, but it’s got to the point where I can’t listen to it anymore, because in the rare occasion they even mention a CFL game was played, they mock it with some stupid “Whoa! that’s too much CFL talk” sound clip.

              And yes, the Fan did criticize the jays season last year, but how could they not? It was a total disaster. But they were a hell of a lot more positive about it than the guys on TSN radio, who took every opportunity to make fun of the blue jays woes. It’s petty. If theScore’s web presense is still independent, that’s great. I didn’t realize that.

              • Again Bryan,no problem.
                Sorry if it seemed like I was attacking you.Wasn’t my intention.Just FYI stuff.
                I agree that the monopolies, that are Bell and Rogers, tend to downplay the other sport’s properties. That’s a fucking shame.It alienates the listeners and viewers.
                It was interesting to hear about he animosity between the two entities reporters before the cohost of the winter olympics.
                The purchase of MLSE had to be a joint submission because of gouvernment regulations, not because of finnancial concerns.
                You were fair in criticizing Stoeten’s opinion of the demise of the CFL.They’ve been writing the obituary,off and on, for over 30 years. The CFL is very alive and well.Sometimes Stoeten’s wrong in his opinion and needs to be shown the counterpoint.
                Your message of CFL bashing getting out of hand ,needs to be told.We’re all sports fans.
                Although,I hate it the lack of coverage on my favourite sport,Jai Alai.

                • I don’t consider it bashing at all. The CFL is covered in Toronto in fairly solid proportion to the fan support it receives; namely, very little.

                  I couldn’t agree more that Stoeten pretending that the MLS is going to be a real thing anytime soon is based more on the tingles he feels watching headers and some anecdotes about Seattle than any actual information – as I mentioned above, MLS ratings are lower than WNBA – but lets be honest and admit that the Argos and TFC are closer in magnitude than either is to the Blue Jays. Within the Toronto sports scene, both are and should be considered niche sports.

                  O, and CFL fans don’t need to be afraid that MLSE will buy the bills and euthanize the Argos: Corporations are not allowed to own NFL teams. It’s a rule that isn’t spoken about much when discussing the Bills, but forms a pretty formidable barrier to entry.

                  • The Argos enjoy more fan support than you think. They average about 22k fans per regular season game. This isn’t close to the Jays ~31K from 2013, but it’s pretty close to the Jays’ ~25k from 2012.

                    The CFL averages 703,000 TV viewers per game (compared to 540,000 for the Jays). I can’t find any numbers for games just involving the Argos, but apparently they were up 26% this year, and are at or above that average.

                    I don’t think the media coverage in this city comes anywhere close to reflecting that.

                    The Argos need out of the dome as much as the Jays need them out. As much as we complain about the dome for Jays games, it’s way worse for watching football. If the Argos played at BMO, they’d be selling out like crazy.

                    • Also big difference between 18 games and 162.

                    • Yes exactly big difference between 18 and 162 games. NFL has similar revenue to MLB so must be drawing more than 10 times the TV ratings per game.

                    • @Bryan

                      You can’t compare average attendance for the Jays and Argos.

                      A) Pretty huge and obvious. The Argos play 9 home games a year, while the Jays play 81.
                      B) I’m guessing the Jays have some pricier tickets getting sold.

                      As for TV ratings – again – 18 games vs 162. Also, each Argo game has 2 home markets to draw from. So, if an Argo/Eskimos game draws 800,000 – you can imagine a pretty large portion of that is coming from Western CFL fans.

                      Meanwhile, the Jays are playing almost 10 times the games with only one home market contributing.

                      I’m not trying to shit on the Argos. I’m not a CFL fan, or a TFC fan really. I certainly don’t dislike either or want either to fail though.

                      But, at the same time, it’s sort of crazy to put the Argos on the same plane with the Jays. Keep in mind, this is a team that has had no interested ownership in years – at a relatively cheap price. While the Jays are estimated by Forbes to be worth more than half a billion, Bruce Arthur wrote in his piece that Braley hopes to sell the Argos for $20 million.

                      I’m not saying the Argos don’t have fans or are doomed to fail – but economically they’re just not on the same plane as the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL. There’s nothing wrong with that. Doesn’t mean their fans like them any less.

    • Perhaps if the comments were qualified by “in Toronto” they wouldn’t have raised your ire. An NFL franchise would certainly eclipse the Argos in this city. Regina, Montreal, Winnipeg? Not so much.

  3. Reading this report yesterday drew me to a lot of the same conclusions. The Argos on their own do not carry enough of a need to renovate BMO. However you bring in the possibility of the Winter Classic, the Pan-Am Games and the Grey Cup, it might satiate enough different levels that it becomes attractive for different investors (private and public) to make it happen.

  4. If there’s a winter classic in Toronto with 44,000 sears, what’s the average ticket price on that? $500?

  5. Soccer grounds in England host rugby and concerts all the time. It’s totally feasible. Let the red pube boys scream if they want — get Argos to BMO asap and get us grass at SkyDome.

  6. I say put in grass anyway, figure out the Argos move when possible and simply bite the bullet on the cost of maintaining the grass after football games. Obviously they have their reasons for wanting everything to work perfectly in terms of timing – but many football and baseball teams have shared a home in the past and while not optimal, as a short term solution – having grass at the Rogers Center should clearly be priority number 1. If they’re talking about this for 2015 then we’re talking about a total of 10 games between mid June and the worst-case-scenario (but our wetdream as baseball fans) and the beginning of November 2014. Maybe fixing up a field 10x in a summer is too much. I’m no scientician.. but if its really 10 football games in 2014 that is keeping grass out of the Rogers Centre – that seems crazy to me.

  7. Anything that can be done to get grass into the Skydome is great.

    you need about 30 feet from the sideline to the stands for a CFL style game on each side.

    To make BMO work, you will need to move the stands back 12-15 on each side……thats the biggest problem.

    BMO would also likely kill the bills game they play once a year, unless they inclosed BMO to make it in the 65k range with a full 2nd lvl.

    To me, A NEW field is needed for the Argos, maybe a joint venture with UofT or something, but BMO just doesn’t seem to fit. As much as we would like to see it fit.

    • to add to this…..length

      a CFL field is 150 yards long, add in some buffers for the end zone…..5 yards (small) thats a 160 yards.

      I believe BMO is 120 yards…..

      adding 40 yards….120 feet, is no easy task…

      • Shit, you’re right, I missed an end zone. The field is 32m short for CFL. (BMO is 105m, per Wikipedia, CFL is 101m plus two 18m end zones.)

        • 32m short without a buffer between back of end zone and wall.

          took a look a UofTs stadium, and there no room to expand that one for stands.

          If the Argos are going anywhere it will be north of the city, and try convincing them of that…..

          we maybe stuck with them weather we like it or not

          having said that though, you can still have grass and use it for the CFL.

          Grass at Skydome would likely be on 10×10 sheets that can be moved around, for things like sun and what not, you could move the infield and put grass blocks in place.

          Cowboys new digs use this type of system, they can take their whole field and put it in the parking lot in about an hr with folk lifts, kinda kool.

          this would be a good option and a win win for everyone, even though Skydome is not a football stadium, they would get a place to play, and we get grass.

    • The annual Bills game (assuming the one per year event continues) could still be at the Rogers-owned Rogers Centre, on natural grass, as long as it is held after the WS (we can dream, right?). There would be enough time to make changes to allow for the dirt to be removed/covered and for the seating to be moved for the football configuration.

  8. As much as I would love the Argos to get the hell out of the Rogers Centre, I am not exactly champing at the bit to subsidize another privately owned stadium with a $100 million or so of public money.

    • Not seeing it happening any other way, but you’re right. Slightly appalling for the city to front a bunch of money so that Rogers and Bell can reap the benefits. Hey but it’s a pretend economic stimulus, so…

    • If you are referring to a BMO renovation the City of Toronto owns BMO field. MLSE just runs it.

      If you are referring to something else, ignore my comment.

      • True, but they’d still be subsidizing a huge project just to put money into MLSE’s pockets, mostly.

        • Election issue! I can’t imagine what side of that the Brothers Ford would come down on. /sarcasm

        • Aren’t these subsidies like the bailouts during the recession? More of a loan than government giving money and not seeing any return? Everyone up in arms about bailouts and tax money being used but at the end of the day the car companies and banks repaid all the money with interest – it wasn’t a handout.

        • The city’s share for BMO was 9.8 million plus the the land, valued at 10 million at the time.

          From 2007 to 2011 the city made a profit of 1.75 million. I don’t have the numbers but I’m guessing thats about 3 million total as of close of 2013.

          Yes MLSE is very shrewd and will take profits (ex they paid 10 mil for 20 years of the naming rights, then flipped it to BMO at accost of 26 mil for just 10 years).

          Bottom line, as far as tax dollars being used this is no debacle, it’s actually pretty good for the city, as long as they don’t go stupid with the reno (a Frank Clair Stadium recent reno in Ottawa is a decent comp), then all should be fine.

          I n the long run the city will get its money back, and it’s good for the local economy.

    • The stadium is going to be used for Soccer National Team Games, Rugby National Team games, Pan Am Games and so on. The public should be expected to kick in some money in that circumstance. It’s not entirely for the use of just a private club. Putting that money in means they don’t have to worry about being told, “No”, about any event that a public entity needs to hold there.

  9. Wow. The Pan-Am Games and Leafs are actually a good thing in this scenario.

  10. I find it depressing that so much of our baseball club is effected by a CFL team.
    I don’t see any any brilliant ideas to remedy the situation so a new field will probably need to be buit and it will probably require public funding.
    Until then we will probbaly lose out on some FA’s who don’t want to play on our unforgiving billiard table.

    At this point, like most of you probably feel, it’s a tired subject.
    I just want to see some resoloution, some plan. We can straighten out later who ends up getting fucked, whether it be the tax payers, Argos or the Jays.

    i count 4 probably’s in my post. So I’m probably wrong.

    • In the end, who gives a fuck about the CFL in Toronto. The Jays have to find a way to bring in real grass. Nothing smells better than the beer , mustard and freshly cut grass aroma cocktail. To me, that is baseball. The rectangle shaped blobs of deformed and discoloured carpet is a fucking joke

  11. Expansion great for lots of reasons – winter classic you would think would not be near the top of the list. One game!

    You really think NFL would care if they have blood on their hands if NFL team moved to TO and it killed the CFL? CFL dying would only be good for NFL in terms of revenue – not saying they want it to die or anything.

    What about CFL becoming more long term viable by actually being the NFL minor league ? It clearly is a minor league. So many NFL guys on practise squads and special teams only – have them playing gaining experience.

    No public money for the rumoured Markham arena.

    Just win the world series 5 of next ten years and build an outdoor ball stadium down by the water – problem solved!!

  12. Really not sure there’s much of a market for NFL in Toronto. Just seems like for the trial games they’ve held they’ve basically had to give away tickets. Interest in the NFL seems to be mainly relegated to sports pools or casual weekend viewers, but no many interested in actively supporting a team. Then there’s the perpetual state of shittiness of the Bills and the difficulty of attracting top talent to play in Canada, which would presumably be even more difficult in football than it already is in baseball or basketball.

    • The trial games were botched by the organizers overcharging for ticket prices initially no? They certainly overestimated the market for those few games.

      I don’t live in Ontario but know more fans of the NFL than the CFL especially younger guys. Not sure how TV ratings compare.

  13. Never understood TFC fans ripping the CFL as bush league. Kettle, meet pot. Put them both in the same stadium and get it over with already.

  14. If you want to hold an outdoor hockey game in Toronto, and you want to have a ton of seats, why couldn’t you just hold it in the Skydome with the roof open?

    • As has been said by Rogers and others many times, RC Centre is an indoor stadium with a retractable roof. Not intended to be open in inclement or cold weather.

  15. We aren’t really going to allow a desire for one gimmicky hockey game to control the long term plans for any of our professional teams, are we? Does the passion really unite us all? (™)

    • When it comes to the Leafs cult, they could probably flood a field for ice in Downsview Park and get 100,000 people

  16. As a Jays and Argos fan, this needs to happen ASAP, for the sake of both franchises (don’t care about TFC, but our international soccer teams should always have a home at BMO). As a citizen of Toronto though, what concerns me is what kind of public money is going to be used for this.

  17. Jays deserve grass PERIOD. When it comes to the point that free agent players refuse to play in Toronto because of it, that’s worrisome. True or not, Toronto is the 1 of 2 teams that still use this type of playing field….who’s the other franchise? The Tampa Bay Rays…..their fan base doesn’t give a shit about them and if they weren’t competitive they would already be somewhere else..

    Move the Argo’s to Nova Scotia case closed. Obnoxious yes…. sensible? Definitely.

  18. The whole MLSE/Argos/NFL thing is pretty fascinating, really.

    Firstly you have the Leiweke hiring. He was such a big player in LA, that I recall Brunt being puzzled by the hiring, saying something like ‘you don’t bring a guy like this in unless you have plans to try to grow your business in a major way’. He speculated that perhaps MLSE had plans for the EPL or NFL at the time.

    Then you have the Argos, who are essentially owned by Braley to keep them from folding. According to McCown at least, they are a money loser with little upside – and there hasn’t really been anyone interested in putting up the money to buy the team, lose money each year, and try to get a stadium done.

    As you mentioned above, the theory for a while is that MLSE buys the Argos to keep them afloat, and avoid bad press when it comes time to attempt to bring the NFL here. Bruce Arthur gives a good summary of it all here:


    Pretty interesting. Who knows – maybe in 10 years you have the Leafs/Raps at the ACC, the Jays on natural grass in the dome, TFC/Argos in BMO, and an NFL team playing out of some 75,000 seat stadium in Downsview.

    Sounds ok to me. I like sports.

    • Or NFL playing out of skydome and Jays in a new outdoor stadium being built for a push for Olympic bid

      • Don’t think the NFL would ever let Toronto get a team if they intended it to play out of the Skydome.

        Where would all these new stadiums go?

        • I dont live in Toronto but isnt there some land down by Lakeshore or was that all gobbled up by residential development?

        • I can’t remember where I read it – but in one of the articles about the MLSE/Bon Jovi interest in the Bills – the speculation was that they had already looked at possible NFL stadium sites at Downsview (tons of space and a new subway stop coming), Woodbine or the Portlands.

  19. If all you do is base the success or not of the MLS only on TV ratings than you miss the boat. Major League Soccer here in North America is here to stay, it aint going anywhere. Most of the MLS teams now play in their own new spanking soccer specific stadiums, stadiums where the MLS teams make money from not only from when their MLS teams play in the stadium but they make money from any time other events our staged at these MLS stadiums. Therefore, with all the new soccer stadiums that have been built throughout the league and more to come this league is here for a very long time and each year is becoming more successful it may be growing slowly but it is growing and making money slowly, but making it.

    • I’d argue interest in TFC in Toronto has shrunk, and is maybe still shrinking. It can probably bounce back, but it will take a splash. I had season’s tickets in the supporters’ section the first three years. Year one people cold-called me to ask if I had spares. Year two I could always give them to a friend if I couldn’t go. Year three I literally couldn’t give them away. I gave them up, and now get monthly emails asking me if I want them back. Like I said, they aren’t dead, but the scariest sign for them is people don’t even make fun of them in the media any more — they are just almost never discussed at all. Like I said above, the size of the missed opportunity to capitalize on the momentum they had when TFC started is one of the biggest MLSE swing and misses I can remember.

      • Defoe and Bradley say Hello. MLSE is about to push TFC in a huge way about town.

        If you don’t get seasons by Jan 31. Expect to be back on the wait list.

  20. Rugby uses the whole field, whereas in football most of the action is between the hashmarks. Having the odd rugby game is not damaging at all, but a full slate of football games would be.

    • With the revenues and money involved in all this stuff combined with 2014 technology isn’t maintaining the field not so big of a deal?

      • I think the same thing. What Reyes makes in one year should justify kicking the Argos out and “paying” whatever ramifications that become of it. I also think that Rogers whoring out the stadium when the jays are not playing there is just as much as an impediment to natural grass as the Argos, maybe even more.

        • Not sure if they can / want to necessarily make it only for baseball. Rogers really rakes in the cash from the stadium and is a significant reason the team is valued so highly.

  21. 2 teams in MLS make money. The league is a joke. The CFL is real football, played by players who fit the CFL game. In both the NFL and CFL you have 2300 spots. The CFL requires a different type of player at most positions then the NFL, only in Toronto, would a city let a 100 year old sport team die, but that is a long way off. The Argos do very solid rating IN TORONTO, averaging a 1.6 share, which kills the Raptors and TFC is not even measurable they are so low.

  22. and most of the guys in the NFL, have off season jobs too. In the NFL you got 10 guys on each team making millions and the rest, making between 90,000 for P/S and 450,000 to 700,000. You don’t think a NFL player who makes 600,000 is not going to have a offseason job, when his playing career is less then 4 years on average, there is so much BS about the CFL on here, but then again it is Rogers

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