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Toronto gets grass pitch, more seats next?

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on Sep. 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm with 9 Comments »
September 30, 2009 5:24 pm

mlstorThe expected has now become the official, and Toronto FC soon with have a natural-grass pitch at BMO Field.

Here’s a report from the Toronto Sun.

And with that taken care of, look for MLS’ other great expansion attendance success story to set its sites on getting more seats at their home stadium.

Here’s what Toronto senior director of business operations Paul Beirne told me when we were talking about BMO in advance of TFC’s visit to Seattle last month: “I’m confident in saying that we will expand in the future. If there’s one thing we would do differently from our first year, we play on FieldTurf, but we have found that to be very challenging. We claim to be authentic, but yet we are playing on an artificial turf. And no amount of research is going to convince a fan or a player that FieldTurf is as good as or better or pretty close to grass. At the end of the day grass is grass and that’s what they want. That’s our top priority: Finding a way to change the surface in our building.”

Now that that’s accomplished, increased seating capacity moves up on the list.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. Field turf in the only flaw in an otherwise exemplary Sounders MLS franchise. What’s most frustrating is the fact that as long as the Sounders are playing in Qwest Field, they will most likely never get grass. The Hawks come first, and the Hawks say field turf. Sad indeed.

  2. ciscokid says:

    “We claim to be authentic, but yet we are playing on an artificial turf. And no amount of research is going to convince a fan or a player that FieldTurf is as good as or better or pretty close to grass. At the end of the day grass is grass and that’s what they want. That’s our top priority: Finding a way to change the surface in our building.”

    Adrian can tap dance all he wants, this is what he should have said because it is the truth. It’s not a marginal issue.

  3. jimkingjr says:

    You can’t grow and maintain a grass field in Qwest. Get over it.

  4. Don Ruiz says:

    I have heard conflicting reports about the Seahawks wishes, and I have increasingly heard that there are sunshine-related issues figuring in as well. But either way, the bottom line does seem to be no plans for grass anytime soon.

  5. WendellGee says:

    The big issue is when the quality of Qwest’s turf deteriorates to a level that is still exceptable for the NFL, but not good for soccer. I would not expect any favors from the Seahawks then.

  6. jimkingjr says:

    I have more faith in the Seahawks. Paul Allen has made a commitment to soccer, and he is keeping that commitment. I believe there is an understanding that the lack of grass is a “negative”, and thus it is an absolute necessity to maintain the artificial turf to the highest degree possible.

    The 100% absolutely best situation- no. A more than acceptable reality- yes.

  7. derekyoung says:

    Remember when you vote for GM. Derek Young promises real grass. Adrian, not so much.

    Vote Derek GM!

    :)

  8. Grass is technologically possible in Qwest, the question is, how much money do the Sounders/Seahawks want to spend to have grass. In the UK, where the stadiums have a lot of the sun issues that Seattle has, most stadiums use motorizes “carts” that have sunlamps on trusses that slowly drive up and down the field giving the grass all the light they need. I’d imagine the system is a bit on the expensive side (not only in the up front cost, but the energy costs as well), but it would clearly work here if it works in the UK.

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/85/255891037_b58409580e.jpg

  9. WendellGee says:

    The Seahawks may be committed, but I worry about their perceptions, as a non-soccer organization. They may simply regard poor quality turf as no big deal for soccer, and simply not want to act on it. I’m sure every MLS team that has shared turf with football teams (whether they are/were partner organizations like New England or tenants like numerous others) has had a certain degree of disconnect with their football counterpart. And by “disconnect” I don’t mean a lack of sincereity of commitment to soccer on the part of the football organization. I mean a very difficult to bridge gap in basic communication. The Seahawks aren’t going to shell out for new turf if they don’t beleive it’s truly necessary for soccer, and/or think it’s just some silly fetish of 0.01% of Sounder fans.

    The belief that “It’s good enough for football, so it’s good enough for soccer” is one that can creep in regardless of commitment to the MLS team in question.

    I don’t know how it will play out, and (especially as a Seahawks fan) I hope that the Seahawks will be open to replacing the turf regularly. We’ll see.

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