ST. JOHN’S, Canada— Toronto FC Supporters could be back in the BMO Field stands earlier than initially anticipated.
According to 680 News, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), TFC’s governing body, has made a key breakthrough for the return of fans in-stadium at Scotiabank Arena, home to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, with the building receiving a “WELL” Health-Safety Rating.
MLSE says Scotiabank Arena is one step closer to welcoming fans back inside its building for events.— 680 NEWS Toronto (@680NEWS) March 15, 2021
The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently playing in the City as the Raptors finish out their season in Tampa. https://t.co/IP1gnI8dEA
The Leafs and Raptors home venue is the first Canadian sports facility to receive the designation according to MLSE, which implies that the safety of its staff and visitors is being effectively prioritized.
“Working to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Scotiabank Arena is an important foundation for our ‘Back in Action’ plan so that our fans, employees, players, artists, and crews can be extremely confident that their health and safety is our top priority,” said MLSE Chief Venues and Operations Officer Nick Eaves.
“We know that there is still a lot of work to be done, and we will continue to work closely with all levels of government and public health officials to be ready to deliver the best, and safest, experience for everyone when it is safe to return to games, concerts and other events,” Eaves continued.
While the step is crucial in the process, MLSE’s plan to get patrons back inside their stadiums still remains in the preliminary stages. Even with the third-party “WELL” stamp of approval, TFC and the rest of MLSE teams will need government approval before once again selling tickets to live games.
But considering the larger seating capacity (~30,000 at BMO Field vs. ~20,000 inside Scotiabank Arena) and the open-air nature of the facility, the logistics for getting supporters back in the building at BMO should be as manageable as inside Scotiabank Arena, if not more so.
For now, the timeline suggests normal operations could be on the horizon in “the coming months.”
Toronto FC announced last month that the team would “begin” the MLS regular season—which kicks off April 17—down in Florida, but emphasized that the re-location is contingent upon health and safety regulations as borders re-open in Canada.
This morning’s announcement is, at the very least, a step in the right direction for TFC supporters that have their fingers crossed, hoping for a return to BMO field nights as soon as this summer.