Toronto mayor John Tory wants the National Football League to play games in his city in the future.
The NFL wants to play regular season games in Canada as soon as 2022. Commissioner Roger Goodell has called Canada ‘a very important market.’ His words were backed by ensuring that beginning next year, up to four neutral-site games could be scheduled outside the United States and Canada was the first country listed by the NFL.
“The Mayor along with his office have not been in touch with the NFL about hosting a game in Toronto. Right now, we’re focused on confronting the COVID-19 pandemic and rolling out the largest vaccination effort in Toronto’s history,” his office said in an exclusive statement to 3DownNation.
“Of course, the Mayor would be open to the idea of once again having an NFL game in Toronto when it is safe to do so. We know sports and entertainment will play a big role in the reopening of the city and its pandemic recovery and we look forward to when Toronto’s teams will be able to play in front of their fans again.”
“Mayor Tory looks forward to the resumption of Canadian Football League play later this year and will be cheering on our Toronto Argonauts.”
The former CFL commissioner wants to see the Argos back at BMO Field in 2021 and NFL football return to Rogers Centre. Toronto has played host to the only regular season games ever contested north of the border. The Buffalo Bills played one per year from 2008 to 2013.
Goodell has said in the past Toronto would be “a great city for an NFL team,” but there needs to be a state-of-the-art stadium for a franchise there. That statement wouldn’t necessarily hold true for a regular season game.
“We would love to play regular season games in Canada. Any market where we’re going to play an international series game, we need the fanbase, we need the support from the local governments and then we also need a stadium that meets our standards,” executive vice president, chief strategy and growth officer Christopher Halpin said.
The NFL knows Toronto has done it in the past and could do it again. If Tory brings the NFL to town once again, perhaps the allure draws excitement for a new facility to be built with the possibility of an NFL team in the future.