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Loss of the National Football Stadium


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I'm not against having CFL discussion Marc, I have participated numerous times in different threads. I am labeled by some as 'Pro CFL' despite not attending a game since 2008 and spending a lot of money on the Caps and MNT. My comment was directed at a single individual who hasn't made an appearance yet but no doubt will.

Oops! Sorry, didn't get that

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Well if BMO field becomes a shared ground which I think will a big negative in terms of game day experience, it will leave Montreal as the only MLS team that plays in a soccer first stadium. Moreover, I will be very jealous of Montreal in terms of sporting facility structures, they will have a separate stadium for soccer and CFL football, nice to have an owner like Saputo who clearly loves soccer and put a lot of their own money into the sport. In terms of BMO field if the Argos move in you know it will be a matter of time before TFC becomes the secondary tenant in this stadium. Furthermore, in time the plastic field will return, the football lines will make an appearance for some games when there will not be enough time to remove them before a TFC game. The interior of the stadium will change with more Argo blue on the walls of the stadium, with Argo logos all over the stadium inside and out, with Argo pictures dominating the walls everywhere, the only way you will know your at a TFC game is by looking on the field but even then it will take you a few minutes to figure out it's a TFC game because of the football lines dominating the field, but hey no problem bring on the Argos this is Canada and who really cares about soccer.

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I would also add, that Outside of North America,

No-one truly takes teams that play on plastic pitches seriously.

Semi-synthetic yes, but full field turf?

You may get FIFA sanctioned Qualifiers played on it, but lucrative friendlies will become a thing of the past.

By the way who knew that the Grey cup was actually offered into the Canadian Sporting life as an award for RUGBY?

Or that the John A Macdonald actually declared CRICKET as Canada's national sport in 1867.

Lets stick a drop in cricket pitch as well!

(and yes, I am been somewhat trolly)

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Well if BMO field becomes a shared ground which I think will a big negative in terms of game day experience, In terms of BMO field if the Argos move in you know it will be a matter of time before TFC becomes the secondary tenant in this stadium. Furthermore, in time the plastic field will return, the football lines will make an appearance for some games when there will not be enough time to remove them before a TFC game. The interior of the stadium will change with more Argo blue on the walls of the stadium, with Argo logos all over the stadium inside and out, with Argo pictures dominating the walls everywhere, the only way you will know your at a TFC game is by looking on the field but even then it will take you a few minutes to figure out it's a TFC game because of the football lines dominating the field, but hey no problem bring on the Argos this is Canada and who really cares about soccer.
How could the Argos take over, when according to a few here, soccer is way more popular and football is dead/dying. Doesn't make sense.
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The only thing with soccer in this country that me as a hard core soccer fan can boast about is the fact that in terms of registration soccer is close to hockey in terms of the amount of kids and adults that play it in organized leagues, especially at the the youth level. The amount of kids playing football is not even close to the numbers that play soccer, so if you look at it with these numbers in mind it seems like soccer is way more popular than football, but we know that is not really the case when it comes to TV ratings, where the CFL does great numbers compared to MLS soccer and even Canadian national team games. However, for the big international tournaments like the World Cup, Euros, even Olympic soccer when it comes to the women the soccer numbers are pretty good and sometimes very good. So I guess if TV ratings are how we measure the soccer football popularity debate then yes football wins especially the CFL variety in Canada. In Toronto even though the Argos attendance is pretty crappy I mean when you only play like 9 or 10 home games and your lucky to get 18000 to a game, the media the Argos get is very good compared to TFC who play almost double the home games as the Argos and still average about the same as them and have been crap since day one, TFC media coverage compared to Argo coverage is nothing, the Argos get much more media play in Toronto even though in the stands it's about even. However, I guess the fact the Argos do good TV numbers is probably part of the reason which makes sense, and the fact the Argos have been around for ever. So yes if the Argos move to BMO the media will be all over it and give the Argos even more media attention than they get now, which I believe is very good compared to what TFC gets. TFC which already is an after thought in the Toronto media will be even more of one once the Argos move in.

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However, I guess the fact the Argos do good TV numbers is probably part of the reason which makes sense, and the fact the Argos have been around for ever. So yes if the Argos move to BMO the media will be all over it and give the Argos even more media attention than they get now, which I believe is very good compared to what TFC gets. TFC which already is an after thought in the Toronto media will be even more of one once the Argos move in.
So I guess football in Toronto isn't dead/dying?
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Based on TV CFL ratings football in Toronto is still alive and ok, based on attendance at Argo games not good at all, media coverage is ok especially in the Toronto Sun where during the season at least one or sometime two pages of coverage everyday on the Argos and CFL in general. At the grassroots in terms of youth football like I mentioned the numbers don't come close to soccer, hockey and basketball but high school football still has a presence in many schools but not like it use to say back in the 70's and 80's when almost every Toronto school had a high school team. The funny thing is about the CFL even though they seem to do better tv numbers even in Toronto than the NFL no one seems to be talking CFL at the work place or on the street. In my work place which is a big place the only football talk is NFL never CFL and when I visit other companies which I do in my line of work the same, the only football talk is NFL. However, the TV numbers even in Toronto show the CFL getting better ratings than the NFL, so I don't know I can't explain it.

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What about Scandinavia and Russia? Or do they fall into this implied "if it's not western Europe it's crap" mindset?

In essence yes, although they do attempt to coordinate their leagues into the UEFA winter time frame. (well they have to if they're going to make the champions league work for them. Honestly who wants to travel to Uzbekistan in October...really?

I would note not that many major Off season touring Parties from the top four European leagues go there.

North America plays its Leagues in the Summer so their is no real excuse to play on Plastic. It's falls into the "' We have to do something new and inventive (that we can make a $ from) because Traditional is crap" North American mindset.

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The only thing with soccer in this country that me as a hard core soccer fan can boast about is the fact that in terms of registration soccer is close to hockey in terms of the amount of kids and adults that play it in organized leagues, especially at the the youth level. The amount of kids playing football is not even close to the numbers that play soccer...

I didn't know that you could sign you kids up for Canadian football when the are 6.

Actually I think there may be more registered for soccer than hockey.

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What about Scandinavia and Russia? Or do they fall into this implied "if it's not western Europe it's crap" mindset?

What about Russia? I don't know of one team in the first two divisions playing on an artificial surface. Yes there is Luzhniki stadium but no professional team is currently playing there although some have in the past. Indeed there are three Moscow teams currently without stadiums because they are building new stadiums, Dynamo, CSKA and Spartak and they all chose to play in other stadiums of rival teams in locations far from downtown or even central Moscow (Luzhniki is not downtown but it is on the 2nd ring which is still central Moscow). Indeed CSKA and Dynamo are technically not even playing in Moscow but in a separate city on the outskirts of Moscow. I think the pitch surface was a major factor in choosing the other stadiums especially since all 3 teams have experience playing in Luzhniki.

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What about Russia? I don't know of one team in the first two divisions playing on an artificial surface. Yes there is Luzhniki stadium but no professional team is currently playing there although some have in the past. Indeed there are three Moscow teams currently without stadiums because they are building new stadiums, Dynamo, CSKA and Spartak and they all chose to play in other stadiums of rival teams in locations far from downtown or even central Moscow (Luzhniki is not downtown but it is on the 2nd ring which is still central Moscow). Indeed CSKA and Dynamo are technically not even playing in Moscow but in a separate city on the outskirts of Moscow. I think the pitch surface was a major factor in choosing the other stadiums especially since all 3 teams have experience playing in Luzhniki.

I beg your pardon, I was mistaken.

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I can't explain it that's the problem. And when people do try to explain it or give reasons why they think it happens, people from Toronto feel they are being insulted.

And you're winning record theory is BS. True sports fans go watch their team through thick and thin. You just don't want to admit that the Argos have the same size fanbase as this mythical mass of soccer fans in Toronto. And the conundrum is also while Argos get the same (actually better) live attendance as TFC (in a facility ill suited to them), the Argos TV audience is 7 times higher.

The difference between us is that you think if they built a 50k stadium and TFC had a winning record they would fill it. Because of the marketplace and changing sports landscape, I doubt the Argos will ever go above 35k again (maybe even 30k) and I think even less of TFCs prospects. The honeymoon is over.

I don't think anyone has ever said that. TFC attendance 20-30 years from now will largely be determined by where MLS goes. If MLS becomes a top league in the future and TFC has a squad comparable to FC Porto/Valencia, Toronto's football club would average something like 45,000 to 50,000.

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The argument for and against grass isn't a matter of climate. As Grizzly explained so well, the Russian leagues play on grass. I remember last year when Liverpool played Zenit Saint Petersburg in the Europa League. In Saint Petersburg, in February, on grass. It can be done. And the last CFL team to use grass was also the one closest to the Arctic. And how many MLS teams currently play on plastic? Half? Grass versus plastic isn't the big focus -- MLS games can be played on both. The big focus should be on ground sharing. And I have a bad feeling about ground sharing and what it will do for the TFC match day experience.

The Argos might be "too big to fail" -- and they probably need a home, somewhere in the GTA. I think that a rational analysis would point to the proper home of the Argos being out in the burbs at York University. I thought it back in the day, and I think it now. But I guess that ship has sailed. But squeezing both the Argos and TFC into the same field might mean too many compromises in the design, and both teams seeing their fan bases withering in the long run.

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If MLS becomes a top league in the future and TFC has a squad comparable to FC Porto/Valencia, Toronto's football club would average something like 45,000 to 50,000.
I don't see it that way and I'm not just talking about soccer. I think you'll see all sports downsizing facilities and maximizing revenues on things such as partying in end zone patios, premium seating and private boxes. The TV viewing experience is so good and I think there are so many other options for people, that getting them to the stadium is going to become increasing difficult. Along with that, I can see more and more big games being on demand PPV to suck more money out of those who don't make it to the stadium or can't afford it.

That's why I see the much maligned Hamilton stadium being a wise build with its endzone patios. That is the trend.

Future NFL stadiums could feature less sitting, more standing

Mike Florio January 27, 2013

Our pal Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times has written an article that looks at the various challenges the NFL is facing. One of the biggest arises from persuading fans to choose to attend games over watching them at home.

Late in the item comes an intriguing prediction about the configuration of future NFL stadiums, courtesy of NFL executive V.P. of business operations Eric Grubman.

“What if a new stadium we built wasn’t 70,000, but it was 40,000 seats with 20,000 standing room?” Grubman said. “But the standing room was in a bar-type environment with three sides of screens, and one side where you see the field. Completely connected. And in those three sides of screens, you not only got every piece of NFL content, including replays, Red Zone [Channel], and analysis, but you got every other piece of news and sports content that you would like to have if you were at home.

“Now you have the game, the bar and social setting, and you have the content. What’s that ticket worth? What’s that environment feel like to a young person? Where do you want to be? Do you want to be in that seat, or do you want to be in that pavilion?”

Plenty of people would choose to be in the pavilion, if the price is right. (And if the beer isn’t priced quite so high.)

Grubman’s example, with a 70,000-seat stadium becoming a 60,000-person hybrid, reflects another inevitable reality for the NFL. To maintain the buzz of a full stadium, stadiums may need to get smaller.

“A restaurant isn’t as good if there’s only four people in there,” 49ers CEO Jed York said. “When a restaurant is hustling and bustling, it just feels better, the food tastes better because you see everybody else enjoying it. That’s the same thing for any live event. Great bands, if you don’t have a great crowd, then the band isn’t quite as good.”

He’s right — and it’s wise for the league to continuously be thinking about ways to adapt the business model to ensure that business continues to thrive, not only on TV but inside each and every stadium.

Edited by Joe MacCarthy
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Further to that, this from Honey Boo Boo at ticats.ca

"I just spent the weekend at the UNC @ Pitt game at Heinz Field. The south end zone there is a 'plaza' similar to the new (much smaller) end zone party areas at THF. Gotta' say, great perspective on a game.

I do believe those new zones'll be a huge hit!

We had nosebleeds so we went to the plaza at the half. No separate pricing. Just an area to hang out! They had picnic tables and a BBQ pit. Very cool concept. Heck! I caught a ball off a UNC field goal!

These end zone plazas are the trend. Apparently they're doing one at Ralph Wilson as part of their renos; So it's nice to see we're ahead of the game!"

JM - I don't think you'll ever see regular crowds over 45k for any sport in Canada again. We don't have the history, aside from a brief flirtation with new CFL stadiums in the 70s/80s and people and lifestyles have changed. When you can be sitting on a bus, going somewhere watching an event on your personal video device, that is change. It will become more difficult to get people to the stadium. Where at one time it was regular folk going to games, in the future, well????

Edited by Joe MacCarthy
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Like LordBob I am not too crazy about the idea of one stadium being called the national soccer stadium and hosting the majority of MNT matches. However, from what I can remember of the process, it was the CSA that did the majority of work getting the government funding for the stadium and much of that funding was given on the basis of it being the national soccer stadium. MLSE got a sweet deal on the stadium so it would be a travesty if they were allowed to ignore the reason it received so much public funding and downgrade the quality of stadium as a soccer stadium.

I have no problem with the CFL and think both the CFL and the Argos are pretty healthy and will be around for a while. Partnering with the CFL makes sense at the NASL level, there is a main tenant, the CFL team and a secondary tenant the NASL team. In most of the prospective cities for soccer the choice is between a playing in a CFL stadium or not having a stadium at all. A 2nd division team has to accept that everything will be done in favour of the CFL team and they have to live with that. Players at that level also have to accept playing on artificial turf because at that level most of them are happy just being able to make a living playing soccer and keeping the dream alive. However, that does not mean we should be changing/downgrading any of the few good natural turf soccer specific stadiums especially when teams in the MLS are playing there, a league which is moving towards having as many if not all teams playing on grass in a soccer specific stadium. And this is something MLS needs to do if it wants to establish itself as a top league and attract top players.

The problem with MLS sharing with the CFL is you have 2 teams of relatively equal stature sharing a stadium and compromises are made so both can play and due to the size of the field and wear and tear of CFL on the pitch, most of the compromises end up to the detriment of the soccer game and stadium experience. There is no better example than the Caps who play in a stadium that in terms of facilities, build quality, modernity, etc is far ahead of BMO or Saputo. Yet in terms of the pitch and soccer fan experience it is far behind that of the other two stadiums. For all the bells and whistles of BC Place, I doubt any Impact or TFC fans would trade their stadium for BC Place.

Now if MLSE were to build something like the Sapporo dome that has interchangeable artificial and natural pitches and interchangeable seating arrangements then I would be fine with that. It would cost a lot of money, possibly more than building a separate stadium but there would be certain advantages from MLSE's point of view of having both teams play in the same stadium. But if our "national soccer stadium" is going to become BC Place 2.0 then I would be dead set against it. Here is a video showing Sapporo stadium changing its pitch and seating arrangement:

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I agree but I don't see the connection to the Cats. Yes they would lose a historic rival but with the new stadium they (Ti-Cats) have repositioned themselves to be profitable. I too think the league could survive without Toronto.

They could but that's foolish. It's their biggest market. It's like pro sports in the USA without a team in NY.

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