So, once again, more loud whining about the Argos. The owner of the
Argos is an old, rich man. You don’t get old and rich if you’re
stupid. Mr. David Braley is hopefully talking up the possibility of a
solution to an issue that is entirely of his own making.
The Argos “play” in a “stadium” called the Rogers Centre. To those of
us who actually paid for the thing, it is Skydome. When I say paid, I
mean $600 million 1980s dollars of taxpayer money went into it. It was
expensive and awesome in 1989. It was awesome until about 1994. It
started getting handed down for pennies on the dollar to various local
corporate interests (remember “Sportsco”?), until Rogers
Communications got it in 2004 for $25 millon. Rogers was desperate to
not have the Argos leave the dome, which they were going to do, to the
new stadium being built (that would be BMO Field, although the
location had not been determined), and so they offered them free rent.
This deal was renewed under Braley.
So the notion that something needs to be “solved” it a bit more
complex than we are being led to believe here. Rogers now realizes
that extending free to the Argos was a mistake. Their actual content
producer Blue Jay baseball team, that fills the stadium and their TV
properties, wants the Argos out so they can put in a real grass field.
Very interesting. For the very reason that Rogers wants the Argos out,
we hear the reason TFC fans do not want the Argos in, at BMO Field.
Grass field is incompatible with Canadian Football.
TFC fans, and the people of Toronto, should be very wary of what is
going on. Rogers wants something. They can promote any point of view
they want, and freeze out dissent completely on their media
properties. Braley wants something that is basically consistent with
what Rogers wants. The large media companies in Toronto get what they
want. Rogers got a friendly write-up about the Argo situation on the CBC
website as well as the Star today. They get this because they pay
the Star and the CBC millions of dollars a year in advertising buys.
You will not hear any mainstream opposition to the Argo move to BMO
for this reason.
Essentially, no one wants the Argos in their facility, which should be
a giant red flag for everyone involved. It will be very interesting to
see Rogers and MLSE trying to deal with this. As TFC’s owners, MLSE
have little to gain and will assume much risk if they take them in. I
was left shaking my head when the Argos did not come to the soccer
stadium when they had the chance. They had their chance, and instead
took the free rent at the Dome. That is where they should stay. Rogers
offered it, and only a fool would help either of them out of their