Adding a team in Toronto for the new Canadian Premier League isn’t a good idea. The team would struggle to compete with Toronto FC. The team wouldn’t be able to get the popularity to fill a stadium, and doesn’t even have a site to build a stadium. In an article written by Oliver Pratt, the Toronto FC president, Bill Manning said the league should look to expand in other cities in Canada and Toronto should put their second team in the league.
Toronto FC is one of the biggest markets in the city, the growth and success of the franchise throughout the last couple of years has been great. The signings of superstars like USA captain Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco has turned the franchise into a mega club in the MLS. Everyone in the GTA has been focused on the city’s MLS club that not many people would be interested to see another Toronto team in a smaller league. MLSE wants in on the league, but doesn’t want competition within the city. Bill Manning after speaking to Kurtis Larson of the Toronto Sun, said for a team to come into Toronto and compete with TFC would not be a good idea, Manning wants his clubs second team to join the CPL. With their USL (MLS second division) calibre squad and lots of young Canadian players, it seems like a very attractive idea.
Another problem would be filling their stadium, so many people already spend enough money on the Blue Jays and TFC throughout the summer that the last thing they would do is spend more money to go to another event. Also there is no site for a stadium to be built in Toronto. The only open site there was, TFC took and built BMO Field, and downtown Toronto is completely packed with nowhere near enough space for a stadium. Now that is where the discussion of a team in Hamilton comes into the picture.
Hamilton has a stadium which hosts the CFL team Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Bill Manning also said to Kurtis Larson of the Toronto Sun that after speaking to Scott Mitchell who is the Hamilton Tiger-Cats chief executive that the MLSE is very protective over Toronto and that this is their market. A team in Hamilton would benefit young players in the GTA, but it wouldn’t benefit a franchise.
Young Canadians in the GTA are begging for a brand new franchise in the region, it opens up a whole new door for players. The thing is with sports these days is that they’re all about money. Just because there are good young Canadians in the GTA, doesn’t mean a team will be made and Hamilton’s franchise would not have enough popularity, it would live in the shadow of Toronto FC. With TFC wanting to put their second team in the league, it doesn’t really brandish any new opportunities for young Canadian soccer players in the region, they would have to travel around the country to showcase themselves. According to the Hamilton Spectator, other cities looking to join the league are Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Winnipeg. All those cities also host a franchise in the CFL.
The best thing that could happen for the league is the player pool widens and improves which could also help the MLS grow along with the Canadian National Team and a partnership could be made between Canadian Premier League teams and MLS’ Canadian teams.
The worst thing that could happen is a wealthy investor comes into Toronto and attempts to compete with TFC, which would be a very hard thing to do. Not only would they be competing with TFC, they would be competing with all the other Toronto franchises.
A team in the GTA wouldn’t compete with TFC, there is nowhere for a stadium and there is already a professional soccer team in the city. There are pros and cons about the topic. But when you look at the bigger picture, it just really wouldn’t make sense to put a team in Toronto for the Canadian Premier League.