Rob Ford wants to make Toronto “world class” by bringing NFL to the city
We woke this morning to the news that Rob Ford and his brother and colleague on council Doug Ford have their eyes on a new prize: bringing an NFL team to Toronto. Sure, such business giants as Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey and the late Ted Rogers tried to bring the NFL to Toronto for years, even decades—but those guys were just quitters! The Fords are totally sure they can do it, and they make it sound so, so easy.
Or so says the Toronto Sun.
“Just imagine the boost to the economy and tourism — because the NFL has to, it’s not even an option — they would have to give us the Super Bowl within the first four years,” [Doug] said. “To get a Super Bowl, it would be worldwide publicity for Toronto and the tourism would be phenomenal.”
The football-mad Ford brothers feel securing one of the pricey properties, the 32 existing franchises in the U.S. dominate the list of most lucrative North American sports teams and an expansion berth, if ever offered, would likely carry a $1 billion price tag, would be a powerful job creation plan all by itself.
Bringing an NFL team would also mean building a new stadium, but the Fords say they’ll guarantee no public money would be spent. Except, maybe not: the Sun also quotes Ford as saying, “The feds would be onside in a heartbeat”—meaning what, exactly? That Ottawa is going to open the purse for Toronto right around when it buys Quebec City a new hockey arena? The Sun can’t bring itself to take this seriously, making sure people also see Steve Simmons’ cold shower of a column on the front page, next to the two brothers Ford, titled “Ain’t gonna happen.”
The NFL hasn’t been shy about telling cities quite clearly that if they want a franchise, they need to pay for the stadiums. At the very least, the city needs to issue debt to finance the infrastructure upgrades for things like this. Los Angeles is looking at doing just that right now. So how do our new Forderlords square “cutting the debt” and “no public funds” with “NFL in Toronto”?
Doug Ford explains the most important question: why? “To be a world-class city, at least a North American world-class city, we need an NFL team.” Los Angeles can cry itself to sleep knowing the Ford brothers have passed judgment and found it wanting. Meanwhile, if Toronto really tries hard, we could someday be as “North American world class” as Kansas City, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Cleveland.