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Will the NFL ever build and fund a stadium in Toronto?

A league executive VP on Wednesday did not dismiss the idea, highlighting that the lack of an “NFL-quality stadium” is a “disincentive” for the Toronto NFL franchise.

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For years, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and prominent owners have said the league would like to have a franchise in Toronto.

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An Everest-sized obstacle is that Canada’s largest city doesn’t have an NFL-worthy stadium.

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Will the league help build this? Will it help fund it? The league’s executive vice president didn’t dismiss the idea Wednesday, responding to Postmedia questions during a conference call with a small group of reporters.

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Toronto’s conundrum in this regard is the same as Los Angeles’ conundrum from the mid-1990s to the mid-2010s — the certainty that the NFL will come if only a good stadium is built?

But if public and private interests were to join such a stadium, it could also serve as Canada’s glittering marquee home stadium for the much-needed international football game. Would you consider getting involved?

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Did it really discuss that eventuality?

In Wednesday’s conference call, ostensibly to promote the first NFL regular season game in Germany — which will take place between Seattle and Tampa Bay this Sunday — Postmedia announced that the NFL’s club business and league events We asked Executive VP Peter O’Reilly just that question.

The precise question is, “The NFL has discussed or considered partnering with the public (or a combination of public/private interests) to help fund and design an NFL-worthy stadium in Toronto.” Have you ever been there?”

After a short break, here’s O’Reilly’s carefully crafted answer.

“You’re right. We know better than anyone our passion for the game in Canada, the fans out there, and the Toronto market overall is a tremendous market.” As you said, your point that NFL-quality stadiums on the market are inhibitors is correct, and given all the other stars, what I explained earlier (potential in Mexico City about potential franchises).

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“So I think what you’ve described is a way to get a lot done, and it’s through a true public-private partnership, and that type of partnership.

“There’s certainly nothing imminent or on the forefront, but that type of model, that type of partnership, that’s what we’ve seen in a lot of markets across the country. We will continue to analyze and study.”

Well, it certainly wasn’t a “no”.

It may be too late, but over the last few years, I’ve learned that the participation of a leading broker who wants an NFL franchise in Toronto in partnership with a top soccer player is likely to be supported by public support (and three tiers of have proposed that it is the only way to obtain government support. Ability to design and build state-of-the-art stadiums where both American football and soccer can be played.

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Like London’s new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Munich’s Allianz Arena, one of Europe’s premier football clubs, FC Bayern Munich, will host Sunday’s Seahawks-Buccaneers match.

It’s a shame that Canada doesn’t have a soccer showcase stadium. Soccer is currently the #1 team sport in terms of youth participation in nearly every pocket of the country.

Perhaps this Toronto stadium could also be designed to remove the low-rise seating to accommodate the running track. This will allow the facility to serve as the main stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics and all athletics events. , as early as his next decade.

For decades there have been political and business movers and shakers devoted to the idea of ​​Toronto getting its own NFL team. As a best relocation destination when you reach a perfect 32.

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Canadian billionaires Edward Rogers and Larry Tanenbaum bid ($1.05 billion) for the Buffalo Bills in 2014 alongside rocker Bon Jon Bovey. American billionaire and fracking mogul Terry Pegula and his wife Kim are well above that trio ($1.4 billion), and the couple still owns the team to this day.

Usually when talk of Toronto getting its own NFL team goes viral, it’s speculated that the Bills can and will block such a move over a perceived territorial dib.

Not true.

As Postmedia first reported in 2015, Pegula not only doesn’t oppose an NFL franchise in Toronto, he can’t.

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“I think they asked me that question when I was approved as an owner,” Terry Pegula told the Postmedia at the 2015 league annual meeting. I said if Toronto had a franchise I would stand by it. “

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The next day, Commissioner Goodell confirmed the same from the NFL side.

“Terry is just right,” Goodell said at a press conference. He had an answer. He didn’t see it as a problem.

At a pre-Super Bowl press conference in January 2019, Goodell hailed Toronto as a potential NFL market, but said, “NFL-compliant stadiums will be a key factor that we must focus on. It’s not enough to just have a great city.”

A number of high-profile NFL owners have told Postmedia over the past decade that the league wants franchises in the huge Toronto market.

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Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in 2019, “If you have a stadium, you’ll be able to support the team that’s there.”

Longtime Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in 2014:

New York Giants co-owner John Mara said in 2015: A great city, but “certainly a long way to go”, given the lack of a proper stadium.

In 2015, Clark Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs and head of the owner’s international committee at the time, said that “perhaps in the long run” Canada should get an NFL team and “because of its size. Based on that, Toronto is clearly going to be the team.” A year later, Hunt said the Canadian market had become “a priority for the league.”

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In 2015, then-Houston Texans owner Robert McNair, who died three years later, said, “I know everybody[of owners]is interested in that market, the Toronto market. ‘ said.

Of course, the staggering cost of moving an NFL team to Toronto (transfer fee probably around $1.3 billion CDN), plus the construction of a showcase stadium for that team to play (at least $2 billion CDN) I find it too expensive for most people. The richest Canadians, if not all. He who owns a minimum of 30% of the shares requires a group ownership effort in which one individual acts as the principal owner.

Some form of public support is essential.

And if Toronto’s NFL dream is to come to fruition, a larger long-term loan from the NFL could be more significant than is typically offered to existing teams building new stadiums.

John Kryk publishes a weekly NFL newsletter. You can see his straight picks first each week here. Simply sign up for free at https://torontosun.com/newsletters/ to have our newsletter automatically dropped into your email inbox on Wednesdays.

JoKryk@postmedia.com

@Jonklik

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Will the NFL ever build and fund a stadium in Toronto?

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