Over the next two years, BMO Field will be getting a major upgrade that not only offers Toronto FC and its fans one of the top stadiums in Major League Soccer (MLS), but also gives the seven-year old facility the ability to host additional events outside of soccer. The renovation project began at the end of September and was marked with a ceremonial groundbreaking event featuring MLSE ownership and management, City of Toronto officials and players from Toronto FC.
Larry Tanebaum, MLSE Chairman, said:
Renovating BMO Field to provide a world-class stadium experience for Toronto FC and its fans has been a top priority for MLSE over the past year and we’re very happy to see it officially underway. We’re very grateful to our many partners, including the City of Toronto and other levels of government for their support as we look to build on our city’s standing as one of the top sports and entertainment markets in the world. This new BMO Field will provide us with a stadium that can host other major sporting events, including the Pan Am Games in 2015, as well as help us to attract other top events in the future.
The BMO Field renovations will be implemented in phases over the next two years. The first phase, beginning now and finishing in May 2015, will see the stadium expanded to a seating capacity of 30,000 with 8,400 new seats in the East grandstands, additional washrooms and concession stands. It will also include new suites, private clubs and the expansion of the Rogers Club, as well as a new concourse on the second level connecting the stadium.
The first phase of renovations will also feature a new larger HD video board to replace the existing video board in the North end. Plans for the renovated BMO Field will also include temporary seating for a total capacity of 40,000.
The second phase of renovations, taking place from September 2015 to May 2016, will see the addition of a full-size canopy covering all seats with the exception of the North grandstand and a new sound and lighting system.
A potential third phase has been factored in, with completion for May 2017, that would enable BMO Field to accommodate a CFL field if required.
Toronto’s Deputy Mayor, Norm Kelly, commented:
The BMO Field renovation project is a great example of what can be accomplished when we work together with a strong community partner like MLSE. The improved stadium will become an incredible sport destination that will be enjoyed by fans from across Toronto and beyond.
Originally opened in April 2007, BMO Field is home to Toronto FC and in 2008 hosted the MLS All Star Game. In 2010, the stadium became the first venue outside of the United States to host the MLS Cup, where the Colorado Rapids defeated FC Dallas 2-1. BMO Field is also ‘home’ to Canada Men’s national soccer team.
Councillor Mark Grimes, Chair of the Exhibition Place Board of Governors, added:
An expanded and improved BMO Field will be of great benefit to Exhibition Place and all of Toronto. This is a project that will generate millions of dollars in economic impact over the years with increased business and tourism in the area. We’re thankful for all of those who worked together to make it a reality.
ICON Venue Group was selected to oversee the design and construction of the stadium renovations. ICON has served as project manager/owner’s representative for ten of the thirteen MLS Stadiums that have been constructed or renovated in the last eleven years. Gensler* has been selected as Architect of Record and will design the stadium renovations. The stadium construction will be run by Toronto-based PCL Construction.
*Gensler’s Director of Sports & Entertainment, Ron Turner, was one of the industry-elite speakers that took part in the Closing Keynote Debate on “Major Sporting Events: Challenges, Lessons Learnt and Considerations for upcoming Sporting Event Organisers” during last month’s Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2014 event, which is basically a ‘live’ version of PanStadia & Arena Management.
Further information is available on Toronto FC’s website at: http://www.torontofc.ca/news/2014/09/bmo-field-renovation-officially-underway