To end this debate. I was at the MLS championship game Saturday. I got 2 free tickets from my work.
And without holding any biases. I would suggest people to just look at the clear facts of the current state of the Argos and TFC. Whom both franchises are behind the Maple Leafs for relevancy in the Toronto Sporting Market. However 1 franchise gets greater support than the other. Which one is it? read on.
Friday ------ There was zero talk about the MLS Cup. Nothing on radio. Nothing on television. If you were a TFC fan you would have to be disappointed. Argos in the Grey Cup/Argos in the East Final had layers of more coverage.
Saturday ------- game day. Zero mention on FM and AM Sports Hamilton/Toronto they had junior hockey program and had ESPN programming on. No MLS talk. CTV, CBC, Global. Nope. No MLS talk. Did they know the MLS Cup was downtown Toronto? For the East Final in Toronto they were buzzing on local news. They had their broadcasts even 1 day prior to the east final on locations. Not even close, the Argos get more coverage.
Publicity in and around Toronto EDGE - Heavy Argos
FACT - Argos in the GC had more coverage than the Leafs. GC Saturday and GC Sunday.
FACT#2 - Maple Leafs had more coverage than TFC Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Atmoshpere around BMO Field on game day
EDGE - Slight Edge TFC
TFC had about 400-500 chanting fans. Other areas of the stadium prior to the game. It was very quiet. Just a normal pre-game atmosphere. Argos tailgating has a greater buzz. TFC would win for fan enthusiasm at the gates. Argos would win for pre-game entertainment. Inside the stadium the atmosphere was a tie. But i won't be biased as I find the chanting immature and they copy other sport traditions. The Argos lack game day tradition.
Post Game Celebrations
EDGE - TIE
For the East Final and TFC Championship there really wasn't much excitement outside the stadium. Inside the stadium both fans were loud and proud.
Post Game Publicity
EDGE - Argos
This is where TFC gets burned. Argos were on radio/tv locally and nationally about 5x more than TFC. All the local news had heavy wall to wall coverage. Outsiders wouldn't realize this but it seems local outfits would sent their C team to talk MLS Cup. There is absolutely no comparison between the local coverage of the Argos vs TFC.
EDGE - Argos
EDGE - Heavy Argos
The Argos attracted over 35,000 in 2012. MLS attracted approximately 7,000. These are numbers provided by both Toronto Sun, Steve Simmons, and the Globe and Mail. Also you can clearly see the Argos attracted more for the parade. TFC has zero star power around the city. The Argos have had Flutie, Pinball, John Candy, Rocket, Theisman and quite possibly Pinball being one of the most popular residents in Toronto (if polls were conducted fairly) People want to see the Grey Cup. Nobody knows what the MLS Cup even looks like.
TFC Parade was horrible. They had nobody at times on the route and even bypasses 2 intersections cause there were only 50-70 people standing. Argos parade had 5 rows deep for 5 blocks. TFC fans followed the team down the route.
EDGE - Slight edge to TFC
Compared to 2012, using the statistics provided TFC had 1,000 more. Compared to 2017, 1,500 approx more. Those are the numbers and so a slight edge goes to TFC for the rally.
TFC is the prototypical MLS franchise. Extremely hyped. Extremely subjective. Extremely private. And it's a tell for what our society is like today. A picture, social media, video can go a long way to convince people otherwise. Based on experiences and actual facts of witnessing the provided evidence. TFC would be comparable to the Toronto Marlies for popularity. Only difference is TFC plays soccer which caters to craved hungry soccer fans. I would suspect majority of TFC fans are english folks who wish they were still living in England during soccer season. Small numbers, but passionate. Nothing wrong that.
Argos are 2 stories. You have the sport. And you have the business. The business side has been a terrible mess and the fans, whom are no different than any other sport fan in any market, had enough. They were treated poorly and it will take time to provide the fans reason to return to the stadium. No difference than any other professional team in any market in North America. Fans have stayed away from going to facilities. Granted, they watch on television, follow them on radio/print/t.v
TFC is at a personal high. In due time, TFC fans or hates will be able to challenge the true identity of their franchise when it begins to falter. It's only a matter of time. The good news for TFC is they have a solid rotating 1,500 fans approx that will bleed the sport and team name. They will always have the appearance they are bigger than they really are.
To decide how involved a franchise is in their community you can easily provide the evidence of structure. FANS, MEDIA, CORPORATE, TEAM PARTNERSHIPS, Where is the $$$$$ coming from. Who is growing up and taking the next man up mentality in Toronto's greater core. And there is absolutely nobody in Toronto that is providing Soccer or TFC with anything to brag. The lack of coverage at times is embarrassing. TFC truly is treated like an amateur team. But as we know in Toronto, where there is a party, these residents will show up.
To truly know the importance of a sporting franchise. The proof is in the pudding. TFC is way down the chain in the Toronto landscape, and presently slightly behind the Argos. In the future, I expect TFC to even slide further.
There is zero evidence to the contrary!