It was confirmed at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon that that largest soccer-specific stadium in Canada and the United States would no longer be just for soccer. After months of speculation and rumours, it was officially announced that the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts will be playing their home matches at BMO Field.
Needless to say, the decision to have Toronto FC share their soccer stadium with a football team has not gone over well with the city’s hardcore soccer fans. They have been promised that the state of the pitch will not be affected by CFL games and that soccer fans wouldn’t even know a football team plays there when they are at the stadium watching Major League Soccer. However, that seems an impossible promise to keep.
The stadium recently underwent a massive renovation and expansion that saw over 8,000 seats added. Next season, canopies will be added to cover 3 of the stadium’s 4 grandstands.
The Toronto Blue Jays essentially kicked out the Argonauts from the Rogers Centre as the Major League Baseball team is looking to install real grass. For many of the same reasons that TFC fans don’t want the Argos playing at BMO Field, the Blue Jays do not want the CFL team playing at the stadium when real grass is put in.
Outgoing MLSE President & CEO, Tim Leiweke, wrote the following letter to fans of Toronto FC promising that everything will be fine in 2016 when the Argos are scheduled to start playing at BMO Field, but only time will tell if MLSE will actually be able to keep their word.
Throughout the past year, in our many conversations with Toronto FC fans about a potential move of the Argos to BMO Field, we have reiterated the fact that MLSE’s commitment to delivering the best soccer experience for TFC and its fans is unmatched. Because BMO Field is owned by the City of Toronto, we worked closely with different levels of government, including the Province and Federal Government, over the past year to help facilitate a solution while ensuring that TFC’s interests were a top priority.
You are already well aware of the significant steps MLSE has taken to deliver on our vision for TFC. MLSE’s ownership group has committed more than $100 million to the BMO Field renovation project, $100 million in roster moves for world-class players like Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, and more than $3 million specifically on technology to ensure BMO Field has one of the best pitches in Major League Soccer. We have reinforced that BMO Field will always be, first and foremost, a soccer facility and that TFC will be the first priority when it comes to scheduling. Our focus for Toronto FC is rewarding our fans with a team that is capable of competing for a championship year in and year out and creating one of the best soccer experiences in the league for our fans. That will never change.
The Argos, and the Canadian Football League, are not only an iconic part of Toronto’s sports landscape, but they are also a Canadian cultural institution and the team’s move to BMO Field will play an important role in the rejuvenation of one of the oldest sports franchises in North America.
For TFC and Argos fans, we can look forward to bringing together Toronto’s newest team with its oldest team under one, brand new roof at BMO Field in 2016!
Please feel free to contact your personal season seat holder representative if you should have any further questions.
Tim Leiweke President and CEO