Tim Leiweke has revealed more details regarding the planned changes to BMO Field as well as the potential of the Toronto Argonauts eventually calling the venue home.
“We’re going to spend $120 million to build an English Premier (League)-style stadium, with a roof that covers the seats,” the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO said Tuesday at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Since news of MLSE’s plans to overhaul the home of Toronto FC broke last month, talk of the inclusion of the city’s CFL team in the renovation has become a hot topic. There have also been hints that the company is interested in purchasing the Argonauts. Leiweke did little squash those reports Tuesday.
“Yeah, there are rumours there may be a CFL solution, but we’ll do it in a way you’ll never know there’s a CFL team when you’re there for a soccer game, and you’ll never know there’s a soccer team when you’re there for a CFL game. It’s engineering and we can fix that.”
Leiweke said a change of scenery for the Argonauts – whose lease with the Rogers Centre runs out in 2017 – would be nothing but beneficial for the franchise, adding that a revamped Argos team is the key to eventually bringing an NFL team to Canada’s largest city.
“There’s no way the NFL comes here without the CFL being unbelievably successful first,” Leiweke said.
Tuesday’s developments follow a busy off-season for Toronto’s MLS team after MLSE reportedly spent close to $100 million luring England striker Jermain Defoe and American midfielder Michael Bradley to the club.