Argos approve, but still on move

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:18 AM ET

The Argos will benefit from changes to their existing stadium, but not enough at this point to stop plans to build their own facility.

With the announcement yesterday by Rogers Communications that the stadium formerly known as the SkyDome and now re-named Rogers Centre will be significantly enhanced with various scoreboard changes and a new turf, it will change the viewing experience for Argos games.

But barring something dramatic to the physical structure of the stadium, the Argos will go ahead with plans to build a 25,000-seat stadium on the main campus of York University in time for the 2007 season.

"Scoreboards and stuff are very nice, but the fan experience is still not to the level we want it," Argos co-owner David Cynamon said. "There's no doubt if you could eliminate the 500 level or the appearance of it, it would be good for them, too, and the 500 level is actually the best level as far as steepness and fan experience is concerned. If you could move the 100 level and change the angle -- things I doubt they have in their plans -- there's no doubt we would never have thought about leaving the Dome.

"Based on what we know today we're still going ahead with York. Absolutely. If something dramatically changed, we'd reconsider it, but there's no sign of that."

HAPPY FOR ROGERS

If the Argos are to have their new stadium ready for 2007, they have to begin construction soon. While Jays president Paul Godfrey said the team plans to work with architects on changing the physical structure of the stadium, he did not indicate the timetable.

"It's all good news," Cynamon added. "There's no negative or damaging news throughout this. I'm happy for the Rogers guys. I think they're going to make a real go of it and make that place better for baseball. I really do. It just wouldn't be enough of an improvement for football for us."

Cynamon acknowledged that independent of the changes, the Argos face scheduling and revenue issues when they are tenants in a building they do not own.

The addition of a new playing surface, FieldTurf, potentially could benefit the Argos because it can be reconfigured for football usage, likely more rapidly than the surface used by the Argos last year.

The Canadian Football League has yet to formally announce its 2005 schedule, mainly to allow for last-minute changes, principally those associated with the Argos.

"If we knew today definitively that that field is ready for our first game, we could probably take a day or a day and a half off our schedule changes and move some weekday games to weekends," Cynamon said.

"It's just a matter of getting the Jays' info quick enough and then getting the schedule change."


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