Toronto Argonauts and MLSE Partnership

With all the news surrounding the Toronto Argonauts and the new deal for a practice facility in Downsview near BMO Field, we are left to wonder what will happen with the team. The Argos are looking for a new home as the current lease with the Rogers Center is set to expire at the end of the 2017 season. The MLSE board, involving Rogers and Bell as well as Larry Tanenbaum, have expressed interest in acquiring the franchise.

The Argos are getting a new and desperately needed practice facility, after spending 18 seasons practicing on a dated university field. But more importantly, it also shows that both sides now have a working relationship.

The rumors surrounding Bon Jovi and company of purchasing the Buffalo Bills franchise indicate that there is a strong possibility of Toronto having a NFL franchise in the future. Which in turn would spell bad news for an already shaky CFL market in Canada’s biggest city.

And then there’s the Argos’ recent front office shakeup. One key change was the dismissal of long time Argonaut staffer Beth Waldman, who was with the team as it emerged from bankruptcy in 2003 and had been serving as Vice-President of Marketing and Communications.

Did the Argos need this change? Maybe – the franchise’s attendance is a major issue right now. Or was this about a new possible purchase, clearing the decks for some new MLSE brass? We can only speculate, but that points strongly where this team will be in the future.

So the team will be paying rent to MLSE to use the new practice facility in Downsview. A working partnership with a successful group like MLSE may be what this franchise needs to become as successful on the books as they have been on the field recently.

Remember the hype around Toronto for the Raptors earlier this year in the NBA playoffs? If MLSE acquire the Argos, we would see the same effort to make the Boatmen once again a very relevant franchise in the CFL’s biggest market.

This could be the best thing for the Argos, the CFL and both respective ownership groups. It would also mean that in the future the Argos would not be sharing the Rogers Centre with the Blue Jays which is a good thing as well: the dome was built for baseball, not football, and most CFL fans would agree that it’s not the best place to enjoy a game of pigskin.

Sure, this is all speculation. But there’s a lot of smoke, so naturally we’re looking for fires. As developments proceed in the coming weeks, let’s just hope for good deal that will help make this franchise the best it can be – on the field, in the ledger, and most importantly, for the fans.


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