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Toronto FC’s Bill Manning to be Argos president

He’ll stay on in his role with TFC though, apparently.

Toronto FC holds the  President's Breakfast at Real Sports Bar where they unveiled the new primary jersey for 2017 season. Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment dropped a bombshell this morning, announcing a major piece of the puzzle in their acquisition of the Toronto Argonauts. They revealed that current Toronto FC president Bill Manning has also been made president of the Argos, meaning he’ll have two MLSE franchises under his watch from now on.

Manning was hired for TFC in October 2015, leaving Real Salt Lake after eight years as president there. Since his arrival, the Reds have moved forwards in leaps and bounds, signing players like Victor Vazquez and Chris Mavinga to complete the picture for their dominant 2017 season.

With the Argos playing at BMO Field, the two teams do share some interests (namely field condition and stadium facilities). As well, having the two teams under one president may help with communication between them. That said, running one franchise has been a huge task for Manning, and TFC fans may worry that adding the Argos to his workload may take away from his ability to grow Toronto FC.

The Argos, 2017 Grey Cup champions, will be hoping Manning can help with their attendance struggles and difficult growing their fanbase in recent years. Manning may also attempt to mend the Argos’ image in the eyes of TFC fans, many of whom have spoken out angrily about the CFL team’s move to BMO Field.

Manning doesn’t seem to have any previous experience with the CFL, but he certainly has experience running teams that play second-fiddle to larger sports teams in their cities. He has also worked in American football before, acting as VP Sales for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles from 2004 to 2008.

With this announcement, the CFL added that they’ve officially approved MLSE’s purchase of the Argonauts. As such, the Toronto sports empire brings a fifth franchise under its umbrella, to join TFC, the Maple Leafs, the Raptors, and the Marlies.