SBD/September 12, 2013/Franchises

Former Mayor Gives Away MLS Toronto FC Tickets Due To Concern About Team's Direction

Miller's Facebook post expressed his frustration with Toronto FC's management
Former Toronto Mayor and "rabid Toronto FC supporter David Miller is giving away his season tickets" after he "expressed concerns about the future of the team and the possibility that the natural-grass field at BMO Stadium might be removed to accommodate" the CFL Argonauts, according to Tu Thanh Ha of the GLOBE & MAIL. Miller did so in an "impassioned public letter" posted yesterday on his Facebook account. He wrote, "I am so frustrated with the latest management missteps that I am returning the remainder of my season tickets to you: it is the only way I can emphasize how serious the situation is for those of us who support TFC. Please donate them to an appropriate cause. There once was magic at BMO Field. The latest reshuffle has made the possibility of that magic returning almost certainly disappear." The letter was released a week after MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke, whose company owns Toronto FC, said that renovation of BMO is "being considered to accommodate football." Miller: "You risk losing the most committed supporters of TFC if the venue is changed to accommodate Canadian football." Ha wrote Miller "played a key role in ushering professional soccer into the city" when he was mayor. The club responded to Miller on its official Twitter account, "Tx for the feedback Mr. Miller. We look forward to setting up a time for u to discuss w/Tim Leiweke in person" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/12). In Toronto, Ryan Wolstat notes, "Miller has long been the club’s highest-profile supporter and he stayed loyal through all of the stumbles, until he finally had enough." He "provided advice for Leiweke and whoever takes over as general manager, but didn’t seem all that confident that it would be heeded" (TORONTO SUN, 9/12).

LEIWEKE LAYING IT ON THE LINE: In Toronto, Dave Feschuk reports Leiweke yesterday "threw an employees-only celebration of his company’s future at the Air Canada Centre." He "promised he was done hastening big-named exits like the ones inflicted" on former Raptors President Bryan Colangelo and former MLSE COO Tom Anselmi. Leiweke also repeated the "vow he’s been spouting since he arrived in one of North America’s bleakest athletic landscapes: MLSE ... will make it a primary mission to build victorious clubs to match its vats of lucre." Leiweke said, "We want to stop the spin and the B.S. and just say, 'Let’s go win some things'" (TORONTO STAR, 9/12).
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