Hate those “gridiron” lines that still pop up across some Major League Soccer venues? Then rejoice in today’s news coming out of Toronto, because with Canada’s federal government at odds with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) on funding for BMO Field’s revamp, Toronto FC’s owners are ready to move on without making allowances for the city’s Canadian Football League team.
In an effort to get the Canadian government to help foot part of the renovation’s $120 million cost, MLSE was willing to make allowances that would make the new BMO Field suitable for the Toronto Argonauts. They were also willing to purchase the team. Without the federal help, however, MLSE’s project will move on without the Argos in mind, leaving one of the CFL’s most prominent teams, having been asked to leave Rogers Center, without a home after the 2017 season.
From Toronto’s Globe and Mail:
As part of that agreement, room would be made to accommodate the larger dimensions of the CFL playing surface, as well as a promise to buy the flagging football team.
However, long after public announcements were made, Ottawa has yet to sign off on its part of the expenditure. Their apparent problem – the optics of funding sports stadiums …
As Ottawa dithered, MLSE lost patience. They will now go ahead without the federal money and, as a direct result, without the Argos.
For the general Toronto sports fan, this is obviously bad news, though given how these negotiations go, this may be a tactic in a process that will spur a decision from Ottawa.
From a soccer fan’s perspective, however, sharing a venue with a football team is always a compromise. If TFC doesn’t have to strike that bargain, the soccer product may be better for it.