New BMO Field renovation plan excludes Argos as tenant

Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment is prepared to move on a BMO Field renovation for Toronto FC without any plans to include the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts as a tenant.

The issue: when the Toronto City Council approved $10 million in spending for MLSE to renovate BMO Field, a condition was that the soccer stadium also hosted Argos football, as the CFL team is being booted from Rogers Centre by the Toronto Blue Jays. The expectation was that the Argos could play there as soon as this year, but the Argos can stay at Rogers Centre through 2017.

But with a sale of the team stalled and deadlines approaching to prepare for the upcoming Pan-Am Games, plans for the BMO Field renovation have shifted to a two-stage renovation plan, with $10 million going toward immediate upgrades for the games and another $100 million down the road for a more significant BMO Field renovation that could include the Argos. From TSN:

MLSE will take a plan to city council next month to spend $80 million upgrading amenities in the stadium, asking for permission to spend the $10 million of city dollars on that project that was granted for the larger vision in April.

MLSE’s plan had been to expand BMO Field to accommodate CFL football as well as such things as larger soccer events and an NHL outdoor hockey game. However, all of those things are now dependent on another phase of stadium reconstruction, beyond the one expected to take place over the next year.

In terms of political power, the Argos can’t match MLSE. But with plans shifting and public sentiment with the Argos, some sort of deal that includes the CFL team is likely.

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August Publications