It’s been a busy two days for the Toronto Argonauts.
One day after reports suggested owners Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon may be interested in selling the franchise, the team announced they would be dropping ticket prices next season and one of their 2010 home games will be played in Moncton, NB.
“We are thrilled that the league has chosen the Argos to be the home team for the first-ever CFL regular season game in Atlantic Canada,” club president and CEO Bob Nicholson told reporters.
“When the Toronto Argonauts played in Halifax in 2005, we promised the citizens of Moncton that we would play there and are excited that we can finally deliver on that promise.”
The game will be played on the University of Moncton campus, where 20,000 fans are expected to take in the contest. The stadium will be expanded from its original 10,000 seats with temporary bleachers.
It will be a September contest versus a team from the west, to be named when the 2010 CFL schedule is released early next year.
Not only will this be the first CFL regular season match to be played at a neutral location, it will also be the first time any major professional league has taken its regular season action to the Atlantic Canada region.
Tickets prices dropping
Back at the Argos actual home, ticket prices will go down on a per-game basis in all sections of the Rogers Centre. Reports suggest that savings could add up to as much as 46 per cent depending on which package fans choose to buy.
The Moncton game and ticket price cuts come on the heels of the club’s ownership coming into question.
Sokolowski and Cynamon, owners of the team since 2003, said in a statement they are “weighing” their options, including selling the team outright or taking on new partners in their investment.
“We want to make it clear we remain the dedicated owners of the Toronto Argonauts, committed to the franchise’s success both on and off the field, and particularly in the community,” Sokolowski and Cynamon said in a statement.
“However, we do explore different opportunities and are weighing what is in the best interests of ourselves, our families, and the future of the Toronto Argonauts.”
There have been media suggestions that B.C. Lions owner David Braley may step up and purchase the Argos, a club he once bailed out of bankruptcy before in 2003.
Braley, however, denies any involvement in selling the Lions in favour of the Argos.
“Recent news reports have referred to rumours regarding my ownership of the British Columbia Lions. I want to stress that the team is not for sale,” Braley said in his own statement.
Other possible suitors for the Argos franchise could include Rogers Communications, owners of the Rogers Centre where the team plays, and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, a group that already as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Marlies and Toronto FC under its umbrella.