Should the Argos revisit York U?

So there’s rumblings that j*erk-off TFC soccer supporters may get their wish after all:

EDU TRANSFER FEE COULD MEAN NEW FIELD; TFC RELEASE ROBERT
THE CANADIAN PRESS
8/19/2008 6:10:42 PM

http://www.tsn.ca/soccer/story/?id=246908

[i]TORONTO - Maurice Edu is headed for greener pastures with Glasgow Rangers. But the U.S. international midfielder could leave a green legacy of his own in Toronto.

Mo Johnston, director of football for Toronto FC, said Tuesday he may try to use his club's share of Edu's US$5-million transfer fee to replace the FieldTurf at BMO Field with natural grass.

"We'll make a proposal to the (MLS) board in terms of can we put it towards a practice facility. Maybe a grass field, which I think is vital and important in moving forward. Then obviously the academy," Johnston told reporters.

If the club was to replace the stadium turf, it would need to build a nearby practice facility with turf to meet commitments to the city of Toronto, which provided the stadium land in exchange in part for a year-round facility that could be used by local residents. In winter, a bubble is put over the field to allow that.

The FieldTurf at BMO Field was state of the art when installed. But many players don't like playing on turf and it has turned off some from coming to Toronto.[/i]

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So if the Argos can’t get into BMO field, and are clearly miserable at Skydome, I asks ya…

… is it time to think of York again?

I mean why not? There have been some positive developments since the last plan failed. First, the Argos are in a lot better shape than they were in 2004. They’re averaging 28k+ per game, even after closing the 500 level and the subsequent rise in ticket prices. A not-so-shakey financial picture means more justification for long term investment.

I’m not all that familiar with the previous York project, but I bet the stadium became more expensive when it was decided that they would share with TFC and the CSA. With them happily ensconced in BMO, could York and the Argos save a toonie or two by building a Canadian Football Only facility (maybe with some soccer lines for York’s soccer team, but no big deal).

And finally, and most importantly, York won’t be inaccessible out in the sticks anymore. There’s a subway extension planned for the Spadina line, connecting York to the rest of the system:

[url=http://www3.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Projects_and_initiatives/Spadina_extension/index.jsp]http://www3.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Projec ... /index.jsp[/url]

This would mean thousands of fans would be able to attend games without driving, helping out the traffic, parking, and drinking situations! Plus, with the big infrastructure investment that would come with a successful Pan Am bid, could that mean even more linkages?

Furthermore, the Argos have an aggressive development system coming into place with the Junior Argonauts:

http://www.juniorargonauts.ca/ [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Junior_Football_League]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_J ... all_League[/url]

That means a new stadium wouldn’t only be used by the Argos, but by an up-and-coming CIS program and an expansion CJFL team. Furthermore, given the location fairly close to the intersection of the major highways in southern Ontario, the stadium could become a shrine to playoff Canadian football, at the Peewee level through highschool, OFC, and OUA.

Finally, if BMO gets grass, it’s doubtful that the stadium will ever again be a concert venue. I understand that it hasn’t fulfilled that role very well so far (was Genesis the only group that played there?) but the fact remains that there would be no competition between the venues for musical acts.

So how ‘bout it?

This is Bull S…MLSE cannot use public money to build a stadium and then hijack the whole thing…If MLSE wants to give the taxpayers back their 70 mil then fine…otherwise the city has an obligation to tell them to go screw themselves.
I believe the Canadian taxpayers federation will agree…
Everyone is afraid of the TFC backers club… Come on… not even 100K people follow MLS in Canada… EPL has a much bigger following in this country.

Well, lets examine the BMO option:

  1. Argos would be stuck with a good chunk of any expansion bill. Since seats would have to be movable, and the largest expansion would be a second tier on one section, the costs are likely to be pretty high. All that money to play in a red-seated stadium off the subway line, one that could never be used for a Grey Cup.

  2. With TFC, MNT, exhibitions, etc using BMO, the facility is starting to get a little crowded. I can't help but think the Argos in BMO would again be the second class citizens they currently are in Skydome.

  3. Stadium revenue and concessions have already been divided up between the city, MLSE, and CSA. If the Argos were to receive any revenue, it's said that it'd have to come out of the city's share. How much is the city willing to give up?

I'm in favour of the more intimate BMO atmosphere for Argo games, but the above points seriously make me question whether there are enough benefits to justify the cost.

No one's afraid of the TFC supporters, and much of the media regarding their anti-Argos sentiments have been resoundingly negative. Our modest anti-Bills protest got much more and better press than their anti-Argos protest at their all star game.

A York U project would allow the Argos to run their own show. They'd likely have a funding partner in the university, and the city could take whatever funds they were thinking of using to expand BMO and invest in the new football stadium. I don't think they're interested in putting another dime into BMO unless its to move the Argos in.

The Argos were only interested in building a stadium in conjunction with Soccer Canada, which had pledged $27M of federal money, with a similar amount coming from Ontario. It is highly unlikely the Argos would foot the entire bill for a new stadium, especially when they pulled out of the BMO project despite all the gov't cash infusion.

They would also have to compete with BMO to attract the other events necessary for the stadium to avoid being a money-sinkhole. Not going to happen.

What I think is funny about the optics of all of this is that it appears the mighty MLSE, and they are mighty, are actually fearful and afraid of some loudmouthed soccer guys. Sure, TFC is their bread and butter in all of this but who would have thought Tanenbaum and Peddie and company would be scaredy cats from soccer boys? I sure didn't. Again, just one of the optics I see from this.

No wonder the Leafs can't come close to winning Lord Stanley's tropy. They have chicken shtt owners for pete sakes. :wink:

What everybody seems to forget is that the satdium was built for soccer.... for an international soccer tournament hosted by Canada. MLSE runs a soccer team and rents / manages the place. How is this hijacking? They are going to spend their own money upgrading the facility to better TFC and help the sport grow in Canada. I as a tax payer, who likes soccer, don't see the problem - my money as I see it is well spent.
The Argos already play in $700M stadium paid for by tax dollars... whats the difference?
The Argos had their chance to get in on the stadium deal with the CSA and backed out.... how many times do we have to says this?
They made their bed.... Love them but they have to put some effort into this if they want to move out of the Rogers Centre. MLSE did on the BMO deal and it's paying off.

I've flipped back and forth on this, BMO good for Argos, BMO bad for Argos, RC good for Argos, RC bad for Argos... blah, blah, blah

My latest is RC good for Argos and they should stay there, a much classier stadium than BMO which I've heard was made on the cheap anyways, rickety, rackety. Argos should stay at the RC at all costs unless it makes sense to build their own stadium near York. Don't get into bed with MLSE and I think the survey from their season ticket holders will say this as well, a minority will want to go to the much lower class BMO. It might be more intimate or whatever, but not of the class of the RC and serves the purpose quite fine as it will for any NFL games and better for CFL since the field is bigger anyways. Anyone know if the survey results are available yet?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Why the Argos are even entertaining this silly idea of moving to BMO is beyond me. I can just imagine how the Argo season ticket holder is going to feel about giving up his comfy seat in the Dome to sit on metal bleachers, but hey.

With all the politics - and costs! - involved with a move to BMO the Argos would be much better off long-term to resurrect the York project and/or build their own ballpark where they have much more control over naming rights, pouring rights, concessions, etc.

One thing for sure is that the Argos are clearly not happy with playing at Rogers Centre. They can say what they want, but you don't start "exploring" other options unless you want out. And, who can blame them...seeing as Uncle Ted is persuing the American Dream!

Another option for the Argos is Mississauga or Scarborough. I wouldn't be surprised at all if one of these burbs builds a 25-30K seat stadium to lure the Argos.

True bobby about you saying the Argos are not happy with playing at the RC. I didn't mention that or think of that but I think true for sure.

Actually BMO has seats on metal bleachers.... The main grandstand is concrete and steel.
You're right the stadium was built on the cheap - that was the point. They needed it to be built fast and cheap for the U20 tournament. The fact that MLSE came along for the ride was just timing. They really had no idea that they would sell the place out for soccer - even tonight's World Cup Qualifier vs Jamaica is sold out.... not sitting in my regular seats but on the east side in the premium seats this time. So I'll be able to comment on how they are compared to the premium seats at RC.

In hindsight they would have built the stadium at 35,000 and the Argos would have had no issues if they wanted in.

Honestly, I think a deal with York would work - if they are not too put off but the first dealings with the Argos. I like the idea of building a stadium in Scarboough - along one of the new LRT lines would be perfect. Take the $40 or so million it would cost to renovate BMO, get the Provincial government and City to provide funding or land and buils something of their own.

Why not York and city of Vaughn which is big into soccer, partner with them? Isn't the subway going to York eventually? More land there as well.

Excellent Idea Earl. Thing with Vaughan is that the area is pretty much developed. the stadium would be pushed much further north than where the subway will end. I was at Vaughan Mills two nights ago and was shocked that Canada's wonderland is surrounded by housing and big box sotres... urban sprawl at its worst. It's been a while since I've been out that way - back then it was the park and empty fields. Bad city planning all way round.

Ok. I guess I mean’t York University though. Good, bad there?

[quote="dmont"]So there’s rumblings that j*erk-off TFC soccer supporters may get their wish after all:

EDU TRANSFER FEE COULD MEAN NEW FIELD; TFC RELEASE ROBERT
THE CANADIAN PRESS
8/19/2008 6:10:42 PM

http://www.tsn.ca/soccer/story/?id=246908

[i]TORONTO - Maurice Edu is headed for greener pastures with Glasgow Rangers. But the U.S. international midfielder could leave a green legacy of his own in Toronto.

Mo Johnston, director of football for Toronto FC, said Tuesday he may try to use his club's share of Edu's US$5-million transfer fee to replace the FieldTurf at BMO Field with natural grass.

"We'll make a proposal to the (MLS) board in terms of can we put it towards a practice facility. Maybe a grass field, which I think is vital and important in moving forward. Then obviously the academy," Johnston told reporters.

If the club was to replace the stadium turf, it would need to build a nearby practice facility with turf to meet commitments to the city of Toronto, which provided the stadium land in exchange in part for a year-round facility that could be used by local residents. In winter, a bubble is put over the field to allow that.

The FieldTurf at BMO Field was state of the art when installed. But many players don't like playing on turf and it has turned off some from coming to Toronto.[/i]

….

….

….

So if the Argos can’t get into BMO field, and are clearly miserable at Skydome, I asks ya…

… is it time to think of York again?

I mean why not? There have been some positive developments since the last plan failed. First, the Argos are in a lot better shape than they were in 2004. They’re averaging 28k+ per game, even after closing the 500 level and the subsequent rise in ticket prices. A not-so-shakey financial picture means more justification for long term investment.

I’m not all that familiar with the previous York project, but I bet the stadium became more expensive when it was decided that they would share with TFC and the CSA. With them happily ensconced in BMO, could York and the Argos save a toonie or two by building a Canadian Football Only facility (maybe with some soccer lines for York’s soccer team, but no big deal).

And finally, and most importantly, York won’t be inaccessible out in the sticks anymore. There’s a subway extension planned for the Spadina line, connecting York to the rest of the system:

[url=http://www3.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Projects_and_initiatives/Spadina_extension/index.jsp]http://www3.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Projec ... /index.jsp[/url]

This would mean thousands of fans would be able to attend games without driving, helping out the traffic, parking, and drinking situations! Plus, with the big infrastructure investment that would come with a successful Pan Am bid, could that mean even more linkages?

Furthermore, the Argos have an aggressive development system coming into place with the Junior Argonauts:

http://www.juniorargonauts.ca/ [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Junior_Football_League]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_J ... all_League[/url]

That means a new stadium wouldn’t only be used by the Argos, but by an up-and-coming CIS program and an expansion CJFL team. Furthermore, given the location fairly close to the intersection of the major highways in southern Ontario, the stadium could become a shrine to playoff Canadian football, at the Peewee level through highschool, OFC, and OUA.

Finally, if BMO gets grass, it’s doubtful that the stadium will ever again be a concert venue. I understand that it hasn’t fulfilled that role very well so far (was Genesis the only group that played there?) but the fact remains that there would be no competition between the venues for musical acts.

So how ‘bout it?[/quote

That picture of the East York Argos brought back some memories of when they used to pulverize the Oshawa Hawkeyes.

Two guys went on to play with the Argos and quite well I might add. LB Pete Martin and DT Walt Balasiuk.

Some of the others who were in the Argo camp if I recall correctly WR Ian Monteith, DB Pete Warren, OG George Stringer, QB Gord McTaggert, OC Ed Hulse, DT Arnie Carefoote and LB Ted Aldridge. Some of these guys may have played some in the CFL as well.

But I know Pete Martin and Walt Balasiuk had good careers with the Argos.

We don't see that many players from the Junior ranks make the jump to the pros as much now as back then. IMO now if a player has talent they are steered into University ball if at all possible.