It is being reported that Toronto FC President, Bill Manning, has ruled out the possibility of mid-season friendlies this coming season. Chris Schuler, a representative of the supporters group Inebriatti, said that Manning confirmed the news in a meeting with the group on Wednesday evening.
Hey, good news TFC fans: Bill Manning confirmed no more mid-season friendlies. #TFClive— Chris Schuler (@Yagbod) January 28, 2016
The effects of not having mid-season friendlies means that Toronto FC can avoid fixture congestion when playing meaningful matches in the league and Voyageurs Cup (Amway Canadian Championship). It also means that the threat of injury in a match, which does not count for anything, is diminished.
For many supporters of Toronto FC, this will come as good news as they have often been shut-out and made to pay inflated prices to see TFC take on a European club. It is also not clear how much money the club actually makes from these friendlies. Attendance is usually skewed depending on the caliber of opposition.
Perhaps the only negative connotation that comes from not having mid-season friendlies is the ability for the club to build its brand with the casual fan. Many casual followers and non-season ticket holders attend these matches and see Toronto FC perform against clubs they watch on television every weekend. These friendlies give a chance for the club to reach out and make those fans into ticket buyers for more Toronto FC games. The friendlies also allow people to see the mega-stars of the beautiful game, here at home.
In hindsight, not having a mid-season friendly(s) is good for the club if it hopes to challenge for silverware and not suffer from fixture congestion. It also allows the club to reduce the threat of injury. This will come as welcome news to supporters who come to BMO field to see TFC play every week as they will no longer be subject to being priced out of a match. Toronto FC can better build its brand by achieving on the pitch and giving supporters something to celebrate about.
Waking the Red will update this situation should more details emerge.