BMO Field

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BMO Field
BMOFieldLogo.png
Toronto FC Anthems BMO.jpg
Location170 Princes Boulevard
Toronto, Ontario M6K 3C3
Coordinates43°37′58″N 79°25′07″W / 43.63278°N 79.41861°W / 43.63278; -79.41861Coordinates: 43°37′58″N 79°25′07″W / 43.63278°N 79.41861°W / 43.63278; -79.41861
Broke groundMarch 29, 2006[1]
OpenedApril 28, 2007
Expanded2010
OwnerCity of Toronto
OperatorMLSE Ltd.
SurfaceFieldTurf 2006 to 2009
Grass 2010 to present
Construction costCAD$62.9 million
($69.4 million in 2014 dollars[2])
ArchitectBrisbin Brooks Beynon Architects (BBB Architects)
Project managerPMX, Inc.[3]
Structural engineerHalcrow Yolles[4]
Services engineerThe Mitchell Partnership Inc.[5]
General contractorPCL Constructors Canada Inc.[6]
Capacity21,859 (soccer)[7]
28,000 (concerts)
Field dimensions105 × 68 metres
Tenants
Canada men's national soccer team (2007–present)
Toronto FC (MLS) (2007–present)
Toronto Nationals (MLL) (2008)
Canada national rugby union team (2011–present)
 
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BMO Field
BMOFieldLogo.png
Toronto FC Anthems BMO.jpg
Location170 Princes Boulevard
Toronto, Ontario M6K 3C3
Coordinates43°37′58″N 79°25′07″W / 43.63278°N 79.41861°W / 43.63278; -79.41861Coordinates: 43°37′58″N 79°25′07″W / 43.63278°N 79.41861°W / 43.63278; -79.41861
Broke groundMarch 29, 2006[1]
OpenedApril 28, 2007
Expanded2010
OwnerCity of Toronto
OperatorMLSE Ltd.
SurfaceFieldTurf 2006 to 2009
Grass 2010 to present
Construction costCAD$62.9 million
($69.4 million in 2014 dollars[2])
ArchitectBrisbin Brooks Beynon Architects (BBB Architects)
Project managerPMX, Inc.[3]
Structural engineerHalcrow Yolles[4]
Services engineerThe Mitchell Partnership Inc.[5]
General contractorPCL Constructors Canada Inc.[6]
Capacity21,859 (soccer)[7]
28,000 (concerts)
Field dimensions105 × 68 metres
Tenants
Canada men's national soccer team (2007–present)
Toronto FC (MLS) (2007–present)
Toronto Nationals (MLL) (2008)
Canada national rugby union team (2011–present)

BMO Field /ˈbm/ is a Canadian soccer stadium located in Exhibition Place in the city of Toronto. The open-air structure can seat up to 21,140 [8] spectators, depending on seating configurations. It is owned by the City of Toronto, and managed by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. It opened on April 28, 2007 with a 1–0 loss by home side Toronto FC against the Kansas City Wizards.

The stadium hosted the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, at which time it was known as the National Soccer Stadium. It also hosted the MLS Cup 2010 on November 21, 2010.

History[edit]

BMO Field is the fifth stadium to be built at its exact location at Exhibition Place. The most recent was Exhibition Stadium, former home of the Toronto Argonauts and Toronto Blue Jays, which lost its permanent tenants with the opening of SkyDome (Rogers Centre since 2005) in 1989. Exhibition Stadium was demolished in 1999.

When the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) applied to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the governments of Canada and Ontario agreed to provide a combined $35 million to fund a new stadium in Toronto for the games if the bid was successful.[9] At the time, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) was looking for a stadium for their new MLS team to play in, as were the Toronto Argos. The three groups originally agreed to partner on building a new 25,000-seat, $80 million Varsity Stadium at the University of Toronto.[9][10][11] Aside from the government funding, $15 million was to come from the UofT, which would own the stadium, and a $30 million loan would be taken out by the University with the annual $2.1 million financing charges paid by the Argos.[9] However, MLSE backed out of the stadium due to a lack of financial return, and the deal ultimately fell through in 2004 when the University's new President withdrew his support after its cost rose over $100 million.[10][11][12]

Later that year, the Argos announced plans to build a 25,000-seat, $70 million stadium at York University, which would contribute the land and $15 million, with the Argos adding $20 million to the government funding,[10][13] though MLSE not involved in the project.[14] However, the Argos pulled out of the stadium after signing a new 15 year lease at Rogers Centre with significantly reduced rent.[15]

The eventual site was moved to the location of demolished Exhibition Stadium and then-existing Sports Hall of Fame building. When City of Toronto approved funding BMO Field, the proposal was for a stadium that was "capable of a conversion to a football format."[16][17] The Argos wanted to join Toronto FC at BMO Field, but MLSE, citing budget and time limitations, constructed the stadium such that it was incompatible with CFL football[18] without demolition and reconstruction of the endzone stands.[16]

On May 11, 2006, Major League Soccer announced that Toronto FC would join the league as its thirteenth (and first Canada-based) team in 2007. The league considers soccer-specific stadiums to be a critical part of its strategy; MLS commissioner Don Garber has been adamant that expansion teams must have plans for a soccer-specific stadium in place to be granted a franchise. These facilities are thought to improve overall crowd atmosphere (because they are smaller than stadiums built primarily for NFL football or CFL football), and may allow teams to control most revenues generated by their facilities.

On August 31, 2006, the Toronto Star reported that BMO Financial Group purchased the naming rights to the stadium, known then as the National Soccer Stadium.[19] BMO is the stock ticker symbol of the Bank of Montreal, whose operational headquarters are in Toronto, despite its Montreal name (though the bank still has its legal corporate headquarters in the namesake city). The symbol is often pronounced "BEE-moe", as are references to the bank itself. On September 20, 2006, stadium webcam viewers watched as a banner was raised on the West Grandstand renaming the stadium "BMO Field". The name was later announced on the team's official website. It was referred to under the National Soccer Stadium name in official references to the FIFA U-20 World Cup, as non-FIFA-supporting sponsors were not permitted references.

BMO Field has become a home venue for Canada's national Rugby Union team. The team has played two matches at the venue to date, including one against the United States in 2011 and another against Italy in 2012. Canada's has three home games planned in 2013: Ireland for a mid-June test,[20] the USA for an August Rugby World Cup qualifying match[21] and the New Zealand Maori for a Fall test match.[22]

Since its opening[edit]

The grand opening celebration took place on May 12, 2007.[23]

The only music concert thus far at BMO Field was performed by progressive rock group Genesis on September 7, 2007.

The 2008 MLS All Star game was held at BMO Field on July 24, 2008 versus West Ham United F.C. of the English Premier League.

In 2009, the Toronto Nationals of Major League Lacrosse began playing their home games at BMO Field. The team moved over to Lamport Stadium for 2010 and have since moved to Hamilton in 2011.

On July 18, 2009, BMO Field had its first alcohol suspension, due to an incident that occurred on May 21, 2008, regarding alcohol consumption by a minor.[24]

In November 2009, it became public that the owners of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League were in discussions with the City of Toronto over the possibility of moving from the Rogers Centre to BMO Field, potentially as early as the 2010 CFL season.[25] The CFL agreed to study the feasibility of the Argos playing at BMO Field, which was built too short to fit a full length CFL field.[26] According the MLSE chief operating officer Tom Anselmi, without significant renovations BMO Field could only fit a 100-yard field with 15-yard endzones or a 110-yard field with 10-yard endzones, which is 20-yards short of the standard 110-yard field and 20-yard endzones.[27] On December 16, 2009, the Argonauts officially abandoned the idea following receipt of the CFL study, which stated that "Canadian football could not be played there in its current state."[28] As of 2010, Toronto FC are contemplating the possibility of expanding the facility. BMO Field could accommodate an additional 8000 spectators without making fundamental changes to the existing facility, increasing the ground's total capacity upwards of 30,000.[29]

The BMO Field became the first venue outside of the United States to host the MLS Cup in 2010 featuring the Colorado Rapids defeating FC Dallas 2–1.

Historic goals[edit]

The first goal at BMO Field was scored by Eddie Johnson for Kansas City Wizards in a 1–0 Major League Soccer win over home side Toronto FC in the stadium opener on April 28, 2007. The first ever Toronto FC goal at the stadium was Danny Dichio's first-half strike against Chicago Fire on May 12, 2007 (also his club's first ever MLS goal).

The first goal at BMO Field scored by a Canadian came at the official opening on May 11, 2007, in a U-20 friendly between Canada and Argentina. David Edgar scored a penalty in a 2–1 defeat for Canada, just four minutes after Alejandro Gomez had scored the first ever international goal at the stadium.

Costa Rica's Víctor Núñez scored the first ever senior international goal in a 1–1 friendly draw with hosts Canada on September 12, 2007, shortly before Dwayne De Rosario scored Canada's first senior goal at the stadium.

The first Toronto FC goal scored by a Canadian at BMO Field was in a June 25, 2007 friendly against Aston Villa of the English Premier League. Andrea Lombardo scored an equalizer at BMO Field's south end to make it 2–2 before Aston Villa ran out 4–2 winners. The first league goal at BMO Field scored by a Canadian came when Miguel Cañizalez scored for Toronto FC in the second minute of their 2–1 defeat to Columbus Crew on September 22, 2007, snapping an 824-minute MLS goalless streak.

On May 19, 2007, Bolivian forward Jaime Moreno scored his 108th MLS goal on a penalty kick for D.C. United in their 2–1 win over Toronto FC at BMO Field, tying him for the all-time league lead with Jason Kreis. Moreno has since taken sole ownership of the record.

In lacrosse, the first MLL goal at BMO Field was scored by Merrick Thomson of the Toronto Nationals in a 15-11 win in their home opener on May 22, 2009.

Management, ownership and funding[edit]

With a total costs of $62.9 million (all figures are in Canadian dollars) to build the stadium[30] ($72.8 million including the land), financial contributions came from multiple sources.[31] The Canadian Federal Government contributed $27 million, the Government of Ontario's added an additional $8 million, and the City of Toronto paid $9.8 million and contributed the land for the project (valued at $10 million),[32] while retaining ownership of the stadium.[32] Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), owners of the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple Leafs and the National Basketball Association's Toronto Raptors, contributed $8 million towards construction costs and was responsible for any cost overruns.[32] In return, they got the management rights for the stadium.[33] MLSE committed to purchase a MLS soccer team to play in the stadium. The remaining funds came from MLSE, which paid $10 million for the naming rights of the stadium for the duration of the 20 year management agreement, which they later resold to the Bank of Montreal for $27 million over the first 10 years.[32][34][35]

Prior to the 2010 season, MLSE spent $3.5 million to convert the stadium from Field Turf to natural grass,[36] and a further $2 million to expand the north end by 1,400 seats.[37][38] As part of the deal to convert the field to natural grass, MLSE spent $1.2 million adding a winter bubble to Lamport Stadium and $800,000 building a new artificial turf field to replace the community use hours lost at BMO.[39]

Tom Anselmi, former executive vice-president and chief operating officer with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, has indicated that a second level could be added to the east side stands and extra rows added to the south side stands which would add an additional 8,000 seats for approximately $15 million.[40] As of 2014, MLSE is considering a $120 million renovation of the stadium, half of which would cover the cost of a partial roof over the spectators, and possibly making the stadium CFL compatible as a home for the Argonauts.[41][42][43] The upgraded stadium would seat 30,000, temporarily expandable to 40,000 for big events[43][44] such as rugby sevens at the 2015 Pan-Am games, a Winter Classic or Grey Cup.[43][45] Under a two-phase construction process, the capacity of the stadium would be increased before the 2015 Pan-Am games, with the roof added by 2016.[41][43] Tim Leiweke, the new president of MLSE, has promised that natural grass will remain the playing surface of the stadium after any renovation, and has suggested that retractable stands will be utilized to ensure that fans aren't farther from the playing surface during soccer configuration due to the larger CFL field.[44] In early January 2014, Leiweke said that next six months would be spent consulting with experts to determine the feasibility of the project.[44] MLSE is seeking government assistance for funding the renovations.[43] Mark Grimes, Chairman of Exhibition Place's board, has been negotiating with MLSE on the project and has said "I think I have Mr. Leiweke’s ear in that I am a big CFL fan and that we need to get the Argos on stable ground."[46]

2015 Pan American Games[edit]

During the 2015 Pan American Games, BMO Field is scheduled to host rugby sevens competition. Due to sponsorship rules with the Pan American Sports Organization, the facility will be known as the "National Soccer Stadium" (this despite the fact that no soccer is, at least under current plans as of 2012, slated to be played at the stadium; soccer is instead slated for the New Hamilton Stadium).[47]

Stadium specifics[edit]

A view of BMO Field's East Grandstand, looking eastward towards downtown Toronto

BMO Field originally used FieldTurf rather than a natural grass pitch, which had attracted some criticism.[48][49] However in 2009, Toronto City Council voted to approve installation of a permanent, natural grass surface beginning in 2010, after MLSE promised to cover all costs of installing and maintaining the surface.[50][51] Previously, a temporary grass turf was laid in August 2009 for an international friendly against Real Madrid, which was later donated to a local public school stadium.[52]

The seats are entirely red with the exception of a design on each of the main stands. On the east side, the design is a large maple leaf while on the lower west stand the design spells out "TORONTO", and has a portion of the Toronto FC logo. The south stand has "BMO" spelled out.[citation needed]

Field of play dimensions are 74 yards (68 m) wide × 115 yards (105 m) long,[53] meeting FIFA standards.

A variety of Kentucky Bluegrass was installed in the spring of 2010, along with a state of the art drainage system and heating system in the field. The first game on natural grass was Toronto FC's home debut on April 15, 2010 versus the expansion Philadelphia Union.

Attendance records[edit]

The largest attendance overall at the stadium was on November 3, 2013 for a rugby union game when Canada national rugby union team hosted the New Zealand Maori All Blacks in front of 22,566 fans.[54] The afternoon contest would break records as the largest crowd in not only history for BMO Field, but also Canadian and North American rugby history.

MLS[edit]

SeasonSeason AverageHighest gateLowest gate
200720,13020,52219,123
200820,12020,46119,657
200920,34420,90219,843
201020,45322,10818,394
201120,26722,45316,313
201218,68120,07114,623

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Work Begins on Toronto Soccer Stadium". Guelph Mercury. March 9, 2006. 
  2. ^ Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada. "Consumer Price Index, historical summary". CANSIM, table (for fee) 326-0021 and Catalogue nos. 62-001-X, 62-010-X and 62-557-X. And Consumer Price Index, by province (monthly) (Canada) Last modified 2013-12-20. Retrieved January 8, 2014
  3. ^ "Projects - PMX Inc". Pmx.ca. February 26, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ "National Soccer Stadium at Exhibition Place". pcl.com. Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  5. ^ "BMO Field - The Mitchell Partnership" (PDF). Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ http://pressbox.mlssoccer.com/sites/mlsdigitalpr.drupalgardens.com/files/Toronto%20FC%202012%20Media%20Guide.pdf#overlay-context=content/club-media-guides
  8. ^ "Reds Sell 35,000 Seats For CCL | Toronto FC". Torontofc.ca. January 20, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "New stadium for Argos, Canadian soccer". CBC News. 2004-05-21. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  10. ^ a b c Lefko, Perry (2004-11-04). "Brick by brick". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
  11. ^ a b Lefko, Perry (2004-10-01). "Sun sets on Varsity". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  12. ^ "http://www.cbc.ca/sports/football/plan-for-toronto-football-stadium-crumbles-1.486858". CBC News. 2004-09-30. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  13. ^ "A new stadium for York". York University. 2004-10-19. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  14. ^ Byers, Jim (2004-10-14). "Ex feels jilted by Argos; City's phone calls to CFL team go unanswered Sources say club to announce York as its new home". Toronto Star. 
  15. ^ Koreen, Mike (2005-05-03). "Argos run a reverse". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  16. ^ a b Naylor, David (2008-08-13). "BMO built with football in mind". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  17. ^ "Soccer Stadium at Exhibition Place". City of Toronto. October 2005. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  18. ^ Peddie, Richard (2013). Dream Job. Harper Collins. 
  19. ^ "BMO buys stadium naming rights; Pays MLSE for soccer exposure Announcement is pending Sources". Toronto Star (thestar.com) (Toronto). [dead link]
  20. ^ "Events-Rugby Canada". Events.rugbycanada.ca. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Events-Rugby Canada". Events.rugbycanada.ca. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Canadian rugby team to face New Zealand Maori in Toronto". Tsn.ca. May 31, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  23. ^ [2][dead link]
  24. ^ "Argentine star Tevez moving his act across town to Manchester City". Toronto Star. July 14, 2009. Retrieved July 15, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Argos to leave Rogers Centre?". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). November 26, 2009. Archived from the original on November 30, 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  26. ^ "CFL to study new venue for Argos". CBC News. November 28, 2009. Archived from the original on December 2, 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Argos Not Banking On BMO Just Yet". Retrieved December 2, 2009. [dead link]
  28. ^ "Statement Regarding CFL Feasibility Study on BMO Field". Archived from the original on December 20, 2009. Retrieved December 16, 2009. 
  29. ^ Girard, Daniel (March 18, 2009). "MLSE Spies Big BMO Field Expansion". Toronto Star (Toronto). 
  30. ^ "BMO Field, MLSE delivers financial return to City of Toronto". Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Soccer Stadium at Exhibition Place". City of Toronto. October 2005. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  32. ^ a b c d "Toronto city council approves soccer stadium deal". CBC News. 2005-10-27. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  33. ^ Sandor, Steven (2009-06-03). "Grass at BMO remains a contentious issue". Toronto Sun. 
  34. ^ "BMO Field to be Home for Toronto FC and Canada’s National Soccer Teams". Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  35. ^ "Real Salt Lake negotiating deal for stadium name rights". Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  36. ^ "Grass Installation Underway". Toronto FC. 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  37. ^ "North End Expansion Of BMO Field". Toronto FC. 2010-03-18. Retrieved 2013-11-23. 
  38. ^ "Additional Seating at BMO Field at Exhibition Place". City of Toronto. 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2013-11-23. 
  39. ^ "Grass at BMO Field Attains Final Approval". Major League Soccer. 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  40. ^ Girard, Daniel (March 18, 2009). "MLSE spies big BMO Field expansion". Toronto Star. Retrieved March 18, 2009. 
  41. ^ a b Shoalts, David (2014-01-29). "MLSE outlines plans for stadium renovation, with eye on NFL team". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  42. ^ "MLSE looking at $100M roof for BMO Field". CBC News. 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  43. ^ a b c d e Dale, Daniel (2014-01-19). "MLSE's Leiweke: Taxpayers would be paid back for BMO Field expansion". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2014-01-. 
  44. ^ a b c Molinaro, John (2014-01-09). "Leiweke soothes TFC fan worries over BMO expansion". Sportsnet. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  45. ^ "Toronto could host Winter Classic in 2017". Sportsnet. 2013-12-31. Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  46. ^ Kenter, Peter (2014-02-06). "More steel in store for BMO Field if roof over seats built". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  47. ^ "Rugby Sevens". Toronto 2015. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  48. ^ "Don't use artificial grass in Toronto FC stadium: players". globeandmail.com. Retrieved February 12, 2007. [dead link]
  49. ^ "Council approves grass at BMO Field". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). [dead link]
  50. ^ "Beckham hopes to play against DC". BBC News. August 10, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2007. 
  51. ^ "Saputo Stadium to Host Canada's World Cup Qualifier". tsn.ca. Retrieved April 22, 2008. 
  52. ^ "Real Madrid too powerful for Toronto FC". CBC News. August 7, 2009. 
  53. ^ "BMO Field". Toronto FC. Archived from the original on May 30, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  54. ^ http://www.rugbycanada.ca/leagues/newsletter.cfm?clientID=3817&leagueID=0&page=74669

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
first stadium
Home of
Toronto FC

2007–present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
first stadium
Home of
Toronto Nationals

2009
Succeeded by
Lamport Stadium
Preceded by
Qwest Field
Host of the
MLS Cup

2010
Succeeded by
TBD
Preceded by
Gedebage Stadium
Grand Final stadiums of
Tuyul Rugby Sevens

2014
Succeeded by
Bogor Stadium