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SBD/January 29, 2014/Franchises
MLSE Reportedly Eyes Purchase Of CFL Argonauts; Leiweke Dropping Hints?
Published January 29, 2014
TIM TALKS: In Toronto, Zoe McKnight noted MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke last night "may have hinted at a future deal" between MLSE and the Argos during a “candid speech.” Leiweke has previously said that MLSE is “interested in paying for an expansion of city-owned BMO Field, and soon, to include a partial roof and more seats.” He said last night that he would be “willing to share the refurbished field with a CFL team.” Leiweke: “We’re going to spend $120 million to build an English Premier (League)-style stadium, with a roof that covers the seats. ... 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.” He added, “I think giving fans an opportunity to go see an Argos game outdoors in a stadium with a roof that covers the seat, in a 30,000-seat environment, with real grass, is awesome, and it will help turn that franchise around. So we’re going to start with that. There’s no way the NFL comes here without the CFL being unbelievably successful first.” McKnight noted MLSE and the CFL declined to comment further. Argos Chair & CEO Chris Rudge said that while he “couldn’t comment on any deal between the team’s owner and MLSE, he’d be happy to play at BMO Field” (THESTAR.com, 1/28).