Argonauts Draw Team's Largest Crowd To BMO Field For East Division Final
The Toronto Argonauts drew 24,929 fans to BMO Field yesterday for its CFL East Division Final win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders, marking the "biggest crowd they have drawn to their new home" after moving there prior to the '16 season, according to Sean Fitz-Gerald of THE ATHLETIC. Temporary stands in the north end zone were "built for the Toronto FC playoff run," and the Argonauts "figured they would have about 26,000 tickets available to sell" for yesterday's game. The Argos averaged a CFL-low 13,919 fans per game during the regular season, and it was "never suggested publicly that the team would sell all available tickets," though it "came close" (THEATHLETIC.com, 11/19). The GLOBE & MAIL's Rachel Brady notes the team "had special permission to open the tailgate party" at 9:00am ET. The Argos will play in their first Grey Cup in five years when they take on the Calgary Stampeders next Sunday at TD Place in Ottawa (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/20). The NATIONAL POST's Scott Stinson notes the stands were "mostly full" at the start of the game, a "most unusual site" for Argos games at BMO Field. It was a "convincingly Argo crowd, but there's little doubt the announced attendance ... would have been smaller without Saskatchewan participating in the affair." There were "large chunks of fans wearing Roughrider colours" (NATIONAL POST, 11/20).
TURNING THE CORNER? SPORTSNET.ca's Donnovan Bennett wrote the "entire atmosphere around the game was remarkably different than any other football game played at BMO Field over the last 24 months." This was "different than the first ever Argos game at BMO Field," as it was "more about communion than curiosity." Despite the Raptors playing at home yesterday, the "vibe across the downtown core was decidedly blue." There also were "considerable lines to get into BMO an hour before kickoff" (SPORTSNET.ca, 11/19).