I've read with some interest all of the furor over the NFL/Bills/Toronto thing, but I've got to believe the panic is largely premature.
Leaving aside the whole "can the CFL survive with the NFL in Toronto" debate, I have some serious doubts as to whether an NFL team in Toronto is even a possibility in the next 5-8 years. Here's why:
- No stadium - Toronto does not have a stadium that meets NFL specs. The Rogers Centre is a multi-sport/multi-user facility, which the NFL loathes, and it's too small. The NFL minimum is now 65,000, which is about 15,000 more than what the RC holds.
Okay, so someone can build one, you say. In theory, yes. But almost no one builds stadiums without huge public money, including in the NFL, because the stadiums are not economically viable privately funded. Rogers is not gonna dump 100% of the cost of an NFL-ready stadium himself, and what do you think the hue and cry will be among the politicians if he begs for government money? There's no appetite in Canada now for publicly-funded stadiums, especially with the baggage that the NFL stadium request would bring with it.
- Location - The second-largest TV market in the US (Los Angeles) is without an NFL team. There is almost zero chance that the next NFL franchise won't be based there. Which means, at best, TO is 2nd on the list, meaning a SECOND NFL franchise would have to be sold/moved, or an expansion franchise would be granted, and the NFL isn't going to grant 1 franchise, as it screws up the numbers with an odd team, so then you're talking 2 (at least) and then you need to find ANOTHER location to put a team, another billionaire owner who wants a team, and a stadium and on and on and on.
I just don't see it.