Toronto FC Unveils Plans For New Training Facility, Development Academy
Toronto FC yesterday unveiled plans for their new academy and training facility in Downsview Park, a 14-acre complex that will serve as the primary practice, training and development center for the MLS club and its academy teams. Team Owner MLSE will invest more than C$17.5M to build the facility, and pay an annual rent to Downsview for use of the government-owned property (THE DAILY). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Fred Dreier notes construction crews are "scheduled to break ground on the complex in early May, with the project slated to open in April 2012." MLSE Exec VP/Venues & Entertainment Bob Hunter said, "We hope to create the soccer epicenter of Canada." The project is "being funded entirely by MLSE, which signed a 20-year lease with the Canadian government to use the site." Hunter said MLSE has begun the search for a "significant title sponsor" for the facility. Dreier notes the complex will "become the permanent home of Toronto FC’s management offices, although business operations will remain at BMO Field." The facility includes four outdoor grass fields, one turf field, a "field house that houses team offices, workout facilities and training rooms, and five locker rooms" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/18 issue). MLSE President & COO Tom Anselmi said that the "idea is to give TFC the same type of training complex top overseas clubs use." Before finalizing plans for the facility, MLSE "consulted teams in England, Holland, and Mexico" (TORONTO STAR, 4/19). Anselmi said, "This will compare globally. We've looked at Ajax, we've looked at Chelsea, we've looked at Pachuca (in Mexico). ... We've looked at all the best and this will be right up there. It's going to be world-class, it's going to rival anything you'll see in Europe" (CP, 4/18).