Argos ownership down to two

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:26 PM ET

A couple of days after Wiarton Willie emerged from his hole to predict six more weeks of winter, David Cynamon popped up on the radio on Thursday morning to guarantee there will not be six more weeks of frustration for Toronto Argonauts fans.

Cynamon, who otherwise has refused interview requests this winter and politely declined when asked on Thursday by the Toronto Sun, told the Fan 590 the Argos’ ownership issue is close to being resolved.

Keep the team?

Either David Braley will buy the club — though if Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski have valued the team at $10 million and possibly as much as $15 million, as reported by Sportsnet, Braley might be wise to decline — or Cynamon and Sokolowski, the co-owners, will keep the team for at least another year.

The idea that they turn the team over to the Canadian Football League apparently did not, thankfully, cross their minds.

Whether Braley decides to buy the team or walk away, an announcement is not expected until Monday, once attention has shifted from the Super Bowl.

Cynamon and Sokolowski, who rescued the Argos from bankruptcy in 2003 with a financial assist from Braley, don’t want to sell.

But Cynamon acknowledged it was “a failure” on the part of him and Sokolowski to move the Argos out of the Rogers Centre and into a smaller stadium. U of T, York University, and more recently BMO Field, were explored as options, but neither bore fruit.

“From Day 1... it was about a new venue, not only being an intimate, smaller venue, but a venue which we could drive our own revenue,” Cynamon said. “We failed...

“It might be a very long time, or never, that a great venue or location could be built for us. (That’s when) we started to look for alternatives.”

Those alternatives, sources have said, included TSN and Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz. But Cynamon and Sokolowski could not find a partner, and no one locally has stepped up.

One major factor that would interest Braley? His B.C. Lions will play host to the Grey Cup in 2011, and Toronto likely will get the game in 2012, marking the Cup’s 100th anniversary. The back-to-back Cups could net Braley as much as $10 million to $12 million.

Cynamon and Sokolowski went to the league’s board of governors in an attempt to spark revenue sharing, but were rebuffed.

“We tried to impress that a balance for the Toronto situation might need to be looked at,” Cynamon said. “When we could not get the new venue, we thought that was the solution the Argos needed for us. It may not be that way for someone else ... it’s not about the money. We would continue to support this team if we couldn’t find a viable owner.”

In the midst of the sale talk comes a report out of St. Louis that one of three potential buyers for the St. Louis Rams has “strong ties” to Toronto.

Whether that means the Rams eventually move to Toronto probably is a long shot, but why not add to the speculation in this circus atmosphere?

For the Argos, there remains no head coach, and general manager Adam Rita is unsure of his future.

“Howard and I never expected any transition of any kind to take this long, so we feel really bad and really apologize to our fans for being into February with this,” Cynamon said.

“Potentially selling the team to David Braley, yes, it possibly could happen in the next few days. In the next few days, Howard and I, which is our real wish, could still own this team. One thing we’re committed to is, make sure that one way or another, it’s finalized this week so that the fans, the league, the decision-making, anything that is being affected by the timing can now get back into place and try to reverse any damage that is done.”


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