Milton: Argos game at THF not a done deal – yet

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It’s almost certain to happen, but the Toronto Argonauts have not yet formally committed to move their next home game to Tim Hortons Field, home of the arch-rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Argos are scheduled to play the Calgary Stampeders at Toronto’s Rogers Centre  at 4 p.m. on Saturday October 17, but the Toronto Blue Jays have that date booked for their baseball post-season games.

The baseball playoffs also shut the Argonauts out of the Rogers Centre for their scheduled home game Tuesday night against the Ottawa Redblacks but that game was shifted to Ottawa’s TD Place.
“Everybody is waiting for the Argos’ final decision,” Tiger-Cat CEO Scott Mitchell said Tuesday afternoon, who would not speak further on the matter until a contract has been signed with Toronto.
The Ticats, Argos and city officials met yesterday morning, but no agreement was signed.

Rob Gatto, manager of Tim Hortons Field, said that if the Argos do play in Hamilton, it will count as one of four annual “licensed events” that the Tiger-Cats are permitted through their stadium lease with the city.

Mitchell did indicate that, unlike Tuesday’s game in Ottawa, the Argos would rent the building and promote the game themselves. Tuesday’s game was purchased from the Argonauts by the Redblacks and the Ottawa team managed and promoted the game.

Assuming that the Oct. 17 does take place here, it would be the fifth different “home” field that the Argos have used this season.

The Ticats wouldn’t be worried that an Argo game in their park would in any way affect interest in their own team. They have a firm grip on the local market and have only one home game after this

Friday’s visit by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. That’s Nov. 1 against the Redblacks.

It will be very interesting, however, to see how many local football fans go to the Argo game here, and to see how they react toward the Double Blue.

While the Argos and Calgary are in Hamilton, the Ticats will be in Montreal, where they play the next day.

There is also a chance that if the Blue Jays keep winning, the Argos will need to rent Tim Hortons Field again on Friday Oct 23, for their game against Montreal.

Argos’ spokespeople did not return The Spectator’s calls on Tuesday, but a deal is expected to be announced this week.

“If it happens the arrangement will be financially beneficially to the city,” Mitchell said. “It’s a positive event for the city and the stadium,”