TFC To Play Champions League Match At Rogers Centre
The unofficial word is out. And the official word is expected shortly.
Toronto FC will kick the Quarter Final stage of the CONCACAF Champions League on March 7th 2012 under the Dome of the Rogers Centre, and more importantly on the turf surface that the Blue Jays and Argonauts play on. Reports indiciate that there will be no imported grass brought in for this one off game.
In a real progressive development regarding this game the Front Office have listened well to their critics on pricing and they have come up with a real aggressive pricing scheme with prices ranging in reports for as little as $10-$15 for upper bowl seats to an as yet indeterminate price for lower bowl seats. And there will be a dedicated supporters section behind the south goal at the Rogers Centre with a flat $19 charge for supporters to get in there and make themselves felt and heard.
There is every possibility that once the official pricing comes out there might not be a single seat that is going to be priced more than $25. If these reports are indeed correct then there needs to be some real praise heaped upon the Front Office for not playing to the perception of Greedy ML$E not being sensible on pricing. In this space I wrote months ago that I would be in favour of the Rogers Centre as the way to go if they got the pricing right. It is real sweet to be right!
A source close to the club told me recently that perhaps the biggest issue for the club was not the pitch at BMO Field or any particular expense in holding the match there that early, the primary factor that swung the decision towards the Rogers Centre was fan safety. BMO Field is bare bones to say the least and the washroom facilities for example would probably still be frozen solid in the first week onf March no matter what remediation they could do to prepare as they are essentially open to the outside air all the time. The metal stands might be slippery and treacherous as well that early and I am sure that the possibility of slip and fall lawsuits likely factored into this decision.
What I for one am less than enthused about is playing the match on that crappy surface at the Rogers Centre. Eighty one baseball and a dozen odd gridiron matches in the past season, let alone a MMA card and a ton of non sports events held there are going to likely add up to a relatively worn down surface that heaven forbid could lead to player injury or a less than riveting spectacle with dump and chase tactics on a greasy surface. At least the Reds might have a few days extra to prepare and train on the surface more than the opponents will end up getting.
Promote the hell out of this TFC and you can get 40,000 + into the Rogers Centre. And to you dear readers who follow this team as closely and as passionately as I do commit to doing what I intend to do, namely buying as many extra tickets as you can afford and evangelize! This game is a huge chance to help get this club more established within the sporting mainstream of this city, but that is only going to happen if we get more newcomers out to see for themselves what it is we have been prattling on about for the past five + years.
And with Beckham likely heading to Paris, Landycakes running the risk of injury back at Everton, Juninho likely heading back to Brazil believe it or not TFC might be heading into this game with more of a chance to get something out of it than any of us could have imagined a couple of months ago!
With the holidays upon us I guess the tickets will be going on sale early next month. More to follow I am sure.