MLSE wants an NFL team and public money with which to renovate BMO field. The National Football League doesn’t want to kill the Argos, and the various tiers of government might be more inclined to kick in money with another tenant in the building — particularly one with deep roots, cultural significance, and an inability to secure stadium funding on their own.
Solution: Starfrit! Assuming, y’know, that in some language “Starfrit” means that MLSE or Larry Tanenbaum buys the Argos.
Talks between David Braley and MLSE have heated up in recent months to the point that the MLSE board, which includes Tanenbaum as well as representatives from Bell and Rogers, was asked to vote during December on acquiring the CFL team.
While the board could not agree on the matter, there remains the possibility that MLSE could revisit buying the team or that Tanenbaum himself may purchase it.
Naylor quotes former MLSE head Richard Peddie as claiming that “everything I’m hearing is that that the NFL is telling them that if you want an NFL team, you better make sure the Argos are okay. I don’t think it’s out of the realm that he may do it.”
Here’s the thing that I wonder, though — and that I know from previous discussions about the subject other commenters wonder about, too. Obviously getting the Argos out of the Rogers Centre is a tremendous thing for the Jays and their plans to eventually join the nineteenth century and play on an actual grass surface. But if the aim is in part to land an NFL team, where exactly is that team going to be housed?
I mean, obviously eventually they’d need a new stadium. The Rogers Centre is comically bad for football. It would be among the smallest, and oldest stadiums in the NFL, and according to a Globe and Mail piece from late November, there is already a design for an NFL-friendly venue at Downsview Park. But… uh… are they going to start building before they have a franchise in place?
Obviously I have no idea what any sort of plan might be and am just spitballing. If the aim is to move the Buffalo Bills here — and, really, maybe it would have to be, given the existing relationship, and the fact that it might be tough to teams in both markets to coexist — it’s very possibly a non-issue, as that team could simply be dickishly moved from Orchard Park once the stadium at Downsview is built. But on days like this — especially when reminded, as I was after writing about the grass issue yesterday, that rumblings from two years back, while not officially from the Jays themselves, suggested that playing surface changes could be coming to the Rogers Centre much sooner than the 2018 timeline Paul Beeston now calls “realistic” — it’s easy for the mind to get spinning about the possibility of an NFL team being temporarily housed at Rogers Centre until a new facility is built.
This is all very theoretical, of course. But right now MLSE has the Rogers Centre as an NFL option in their back pocket. Once they start tearing up the floor in order to go baseball-only, doesn’t it disappear?
Are the Argos, then, even the real obstacle that the Jays face with regard to this vital issue for their franchise? Getting them out of the building at least starts the process, by the cynic in me — or maybe it’s just the downtrodden Jays fan — just can’t quite start jumping for joy as though a fast-moving Argos-to-BMO thing alone will “expedite,” as Beeston says, the installation of the Jays’ desperately needed grass surface the way that, right now, it would be oh so easy to hope. There’s a fun thought, huh?