As BMO Field gets ready for its second season of professional soccer, the City of Toronto, the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE) announced its business results for the year ending December 31, 2007.
BMO Field, home of Major League Soccer's Toronto FC and Canada's National Soccer teams, realized an operating profit of $900,000 during eight months of operations in 2007, resulting in the City of Toronto and MLSE each earning $450,000 in accordance with the operating agreement. The operating results will also contribute to a further investment of $300,000 on various projects to enhance BMO Field and the overall fan experience.
"BMO Field is a terrific example of an appropriate public interest partnership that is benefitting Torontonians in many ways," said Toronto Mayor David Miller. "Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has done a wonderful job in managing BMO Field for us and making it an incredible success story. I was pleased to be able to enjoy the stadium last year and I look forward to spending time there again this summer cheering on Toronto FC."
The facility welcomed close to 500,000 guests at 30 events during its inaugural season. Events such as Toronto FC's home games, the FIFA Under 20 World Cup tournament and the Genesis reunion concert all contributed the stadium's first year success.
BMO Field realized further success as a community facility accessible to local sports groups and teams. BMO Field's winter bubble was installed in November 2007. Since that time, more than 90,000 soccer enthusiasts have used BMO Field through 1,500 booked hourly sessions.
The majority of community hours were booked by amateur soccer groups. However sports and fitness enthusiasts have proven that the BMO Field's pitch can be used for more than just soccer. A flag football league, ultimate frisbee teams, and the Best Body Boot Camp are groups that took advantage of BMO Field's state-of-the-art indoor facilities.
Built in 468 days, on time and on a budget of $62.9 million, BMO Field is a successful example of a public-private partnership the three levels of government — the Federal Government, Province of Ontario, City of Toronto — and MLSE. All four parties financially contributed to the building of the stadium with the city retaining ownership.
Besides managing the initial construction, MLSE is also responsible for all aspects of BMO Field's event management and facility operations. MLSE is the owner of Toronto FC, which sold out all 15 of its home games in 2007 to crowds of 20,000 fans at each game.
"BMO Field is an excellent example of a private-public partnership that benefits the community and has a direct economic benefit for the city," said Bob Hunter, executive vice-president of venues and entertainment for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. "We’re excited that our results have exceeded our original business plans and that we’ve been able to deliver a financial benefit for the City of Toronto.”
Hunter added having a dedicated soccer stadium also supports growing, developing and shaping Canada's future in soccer on a national level.
“The Caledonia Games were held on the grounds in 1879 and we’ve had various organized and professional sports since then,” said Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, Chair, Board of Governors of Exhibition Place. “With Toronto FC and the Toronto Marlies, we are pleased to have MLSE as partners in bringing back various sporting events at Exhibition Place.”
Toronto FC’s second season at BMO Field begins Saturday, April 19 against Real Salt Lake. It's anticipated that the team's 15 regular season home games will once again generate enthusiastic sell out crowds.
Soccer fans can also look forward to BMO Field hosting the 2008 Pepsi MLS All-Star Game in July. This two-day event will benefit tourism and generate tens of thousands of dollars in economic activity for the city.