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Massive cricket stadium coming to the GTA

Posted by Derek Flack / July 8, 2014

Cricket stadium torontoA 35,000 seat cricket stadium looks to be in the cards for the Greater Toronto Area, as the Canadian Premier League T20 has worked out financing for the project with Avcom Investments Inc. While the location has yet to be decided on, with a funding plan in place, the eventual site is going to be home to one spectacular looking facility, especially compared to current pitches around the city. The cost of the stadium has been pegged at $700 million.

"With this financing we can now move to the next phase of selecting a site and securing further investors for this ambitious project," said league chairman Roy Singh. The plan is to have the stadium built in "four to five" years, but based on the early rendering, it looks like it'll be worth the wait. The stadium will feature a natural grass field and a fixed roof that allows sunlight to reach the pitch.

The league is set to launch its inaugural season late next summer in a temporary stadium just outside the city (exact location also TBD). There's still a chance that the league will start in another city should it not secure a temporary location, but a final decision on where it will touchdown should come as soon as this August. That's big news for local cricket fans.



Al / July 8, 2014 at 11:41 am
How did the Canadian Premier Cricket League get its hands on $700 million?
OffshoreOnshore / July 8, 2014 at 11:56 am
More and more foreign money in Toronto
SteveM / July 8, 2014 at 12:08 pm
"Gravy train" shout the Ford bros., trying their hardest not to add anything racist.

But seriously, if this is privately financed then why the hell not. Great design (that will inevitably be cheapened down), and a great south Asian population. Put it on available land in Brampton and it's a win.
Bramladesh / July 8, 2014 at 12:23 pm
It's about time they built a cricket stadium! I can't wait! This place will seat more than the Air Canada Center.
canuckone replying to a comment from Al / July 8, 2014 at 12:23 pm
"We at Avcom Investments Inc are excited to work on behalf of Roy Singh to facilitate the syndicated funds for his state of the art Stadium that will be a landmark for Toronto's cricket fan base," said Avcom Investments Inc's Mark Edwards.

Read more:
s / July 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm
Wait, so they got 700M in private funding for a league that doesn't exist yet? If so, I'm immensely impressed. If there's a lot of public funding, though...
JP / July 8, 2014 at 01:03 pm
That 700 million figure has got to be off. That's more than the Skydome cost and not far off an NFL stadium price tag.

I don't doubt there's cricket fans here, but raising that kind of money for a fringe sport (locally) seems impossible and insane.
mike in parkdale / July 8, 2014 at 01:18 pm
I've never been to a cricket match, but I would love to see one in that spectacular looking building.
Stinger replying to a comment from JP / July 8, 2014 at 01:29 pm
JP, 700million sounds about right for the sort of stadium they are proposing. Cricket fields are bigger than baseball fields (the field at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is over twice as big as the blue jays field, for example), and the proposed design (full dome) is relatively unheard of. The Skydome was built 25 years ago when it was a lot cheaper to build stadia so it's not really the best comparison to make. The backers would see this as an investment and will expect to recoup plenty. But in any case, I would be surprised if this is built at the $700 million mark if it does eventually happen.
Gen replying to a comment from JP / July 8, 2014 at 01:39 pm
Its only a "fringe" sport in your view as North Americans tend to focus on Hockey, Football, Soccer. There is a major audience here for this sport.

This is great, all of this talk about another hockey arena or NFL stadium in the GTA is not needed for teams that don't even exist here.
cheKoz / July 8, 2014 at 01:44 pm
No League + Limited fanbase + exhorbitant costs = doomed to fail and require Public bailout! Otherwise it becomes what is the norther version of the stadium in Manaus, Brazil: an expensive soon-to-be-skeleton
DiegoSuah / July 8, 2014 at 01:45 pm
Wait, What?

Never seen Cricket before, not even on TV. But might getting into it now, I'm curious.
EL / July 8, 2014 at 01:46 pm
isn't Brampton the most obvious choice for this?
wgGr@ce / July 8, 2014 at 01:54 pm
Bring on the white elephants!
Al replying to a comment from canuckone / July 8, 2014 at 02:01 pm
That answers the 'who' not the 'how'.
DL / July 8, 2014 at 02:06 pm
I see no possible way this could go wrong. Nope, none at all.
Stinger / July 8, 2014 at 02:13 pm
Really, though, this makes a lot of sense. I imagine the other stadia in the league will be much more modest affairs- a nice big oval, a boundary and a pavilion at one end. This big stadium will be the shining beacon for test matches etc. and will make for better television as it will look a lot less provincial, which in turn will help promote the league.

I don't know why everyone is so shocked that this stadium is being built- not everyone in Ontario is a 5th+ generation Canadian living off hockey and/or canadian football. Now those are niche sports in the global market, compared with cricket in any case, and are slipping in popularity in Ontario. Cricket on the other hand is growing and a stadium like this would be perfect.
Stinger / July 8, 2014 at 02:25 pm
Really, though, cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, only after football (soccer for you heathens). It's about time the GTA got a cricket stadium. The only conclusion I can draw from a shocked response to this news is that the person must be a racist.
Vipul Joshi / July 8, 2014 at 02:26 pm
One stadium One pitch. Just the test matches??
And I don't know about 700M, but that should not be a big ammount if you build a new stadium.
The question is which teams will come here to play for test matches. And I am not sure one days or 20-20 can be played or not.

O hell yeah a lot of money if any tournament happens.
Phildog / July 8, 2014 at 02:31 pm
As long as were not footing the bill for this I don't care.
hpo / July 8, 2014 at 02:33 pm
I'm a huge cricket fan, but I have to admit a 35, 000 seat cricket stadium in the GTA is really excessive. Cricket fans in the GTA aren't going to flock to watch D-list cricketers (who will most likely comprise the teams of this proposed league). They might converge for matches involving the major international teams, but with the way cricket schedules work these days, it's hard to fit in matches at neutral venues anymore. This project really needs to be scaled down.

I do admire that this is being privately financed, something teams of the Big 4 should aspire to emulate.
Nevets / July 8, 2014 at 02:46 pm
Looks beautiful. Wish there were more images to see interior and different exterior angle shots. Wonder if there could be a place for it in the old Onatrio Place - would look stunning on the waterfront!
Pawan / July 8, 2014 at 03:10 pm
someone please look into a fraudster by the name of Roy Ablacksingh before dreaming the cricket dream...this guy is stay away
JP / July 8, 2014 at 04:33 pm
@Stinger - That's fair that cricket grounds are bigger than baseball fields, but it's more the amenities and 35,000 seating that seem wildly unrealistic to me for cricket in Canada. Rogers Centre may be outdated, but modern baseball stadiums still are built in the $750 mil to a billion range. Point being - it would be insane to build this wild a stadium for what is a small sport in this part of the world.

@Gen - I've spent some time in England and actually really like cricket, but there absolutely isn't a major audience here for it. Look back through sports TV ratings:(
Cricket doesn't even rank. I'm not saying it's not a huge sport across the world, and I'm not saying there aren't those who love it here. There's just not an audience here that would in anyway justify this stadium.

I like cricket, and if private money is used, go for it. But it's an insane idea, that I can't imagine will happen. If someone was talking about building a Cricket stadium that had a reasonable price tag, and a more realistic capacity, I could see it.
Jim Smith replying to a comment from hpo / July 8, 2014 at 05:34 pm
@hpo - my thoughts exactly. Football/soccer is by far the most popular sport in the city - even more so than hockey. (folks may doubt this - but this was uncovered in MLSE's market research when deciding on whether or not to pursue an MLS team).

But allegiances are split across many different clubs that people support back home and that overall support has not translated into mass numbers for TFC support. It's not even just the quality factor - a lot of folks support lower league/quality teams back home. But for whatever reason they have not been captured by TFC.

I suspect cricket will suffer the same.
Grampa / July 8, 2014 at 06:13 pm
This is bullshit. And possibly some sort of scam.

Avcom is non-entity in the financial world. There is no way they have access to or could raise $700m to fund this stadium. This is just not possible.
wgDisgr@ce / July 8, 2014 at 06:19 pm
This is a bigger stadium than Lord's in London, Sabina Park in the West Indies, or Newlands in South Africa, all historically great cricket grounds with regular Test matches played there. Given the standard of play in this country, I don't think there will be 35K people paying the cost of admission on a regular basis.

I would investigate the backgrounds of the people who are trying to put together this deal - smells like a con.
Kiwi Cricketer / July 8, 2014 at 06:23 pm
More garbage around Cricket in Canada. It won't happen, there aren't even school leagues to foster the growth of the game.
Mark / July 8, 2014 at 07:37 pm
Ha! Anyone believing this joke deserves to be swindled out of their money. I just can't tell if they are early or late for April Fools Day.
Steven / July 8, 2014 at 08:01 pm
Hey, why not? Bet all league levels will use the stadium 24/7. With that many seats, bet other countries will look forward competing there too.
Mikeb / July 8, 2014 at 08:20 pm
Bring on the Aussie Reles!
ISkyscraper / July 8, 2014 at 09:29 pm
Not to be taken seriously.
Smell the bullshit / July 8, 2014 at 09:32 pm
Take this from a cricket aficionado who has studied and played cricket around the world for decades and understands the mess of North American cricket - this is absolute bullsh*t.

Firstly, there is no way you would get more than 11,000 paying spectators for a one-off cricket event in TO now given the limited ethnic fan base, the income of that fan base, and with international cricket now widely available on cable or online. Any subsequent events would be empty.

Secondly, the International Cricket Council has just cut off North America - no full member board will ever sanction sending players here, and no player would even come given the last shambles at the Rogers Centre when players were never paid (flights, hotels and all!), hence, awful cricket - no one, but no one, will pay to attend that. Canadian cricket matches are lucky if they attract 200 people on a Saturday.

Thirdly, the international cricket calendar for quality players is full, while the cricket calendar for Canada is empty - because no one wants to play here - not even the bankrupt US - and there is no money to host it or even travel here.

All this before you mention there is no site and no league for this. You would be better off taking 699,999,999$ and setting it alight. And I love cricket.
Azzu / July 8, 2014 at 11:22 pm
This has got to be a joke. Reminds me of some of the crazier pitches on Dragons Den. Here are some of the reasons:

- quality of domestic cricket and cricketer is pathetic. Domestic teams in minor cricket markets such as Nepal, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland, etc can take down the national side.
- $700m has got to be a typo. Avcom sounds like a shell company. I doubt they have that kinda cash lying around or have the ability to raise that in private markets.
- No international cricketer of any repute will ever come down to play here. Similar leagues in places like Bangladesh and SL are having issues filling their int'l slots. Besides, leagues with lot bigger cricket markets have payment issues.
- Finally, have you seen the official website for this CPL? Enough said.
john / July 8, 2014 at 11:40 pm
To the person that stated that MLSE's TFC has not attracted a fan base please be informed before you make comments. TFC has been a great success off the field since they started in 2007, most games are sold out or close to being sold out ever since 2007,they averaged over 20000 a game down at BMO field ever since they started. this season 22500 has been the norm so far down at BMO.
Jason replying to a comment from hpo / July 9, 2014 at 02:49 am
I agree .
tommy replying to a comment from john / July 9, 2014 at 10:15 am
Ticket sales aren't the only way sports teams make money. It's great that they're selling out the field, but if they don't have lucrative TV and advertising in place, it's possible they could go into the red.
bobo / July 9, 2014 at 10:50 am
This is probably some sort of scam press release. There is no way this ever happens. $700M is an outrageous cost for a 35K seat stadium.
TDotRome / July 9, 2014 at 10:52 am
Ummm, Argos………you need to make a phone call.
as usual / July 9, 2014 at 11:37 am
People clutching at straws, and scrambling for ways to bitch about this.
Ron Moran / July 9, 2014 at 11:51 am
Cricket stadium? I can already hear the chirping.
Tim / July 9, 2014 at 01:41 pm
What about downtown Mississauga, on or near Hurontario, for the cricket stadium? It is close to Brampton, will have the LRT that connects to 3 GO stations, the 403 on/off ramps, could piggyback on the Square One parking lots and there are several undeveloped city blocks there. Being in the new city core will open up additional uses such as for concerts, special events or as an alternate home game venue for Toronto teams.
Jim Smith replying to a comment from john / July 9, 2014 at 02:13 pm

Perhaps you missed the last two or three years when BMO was half empty most games. Oh, they still announced high attendances - around 17 or 18k - but that is because MLS policy is to announce tickets sold and given out, not tickets actually used at the event. So every below cost ticket sitting on the secondary market that didn't get used was counted in the attendance figures. The blocks of tickets TFC gave out for free that mostly were not used were counted in official attendance.

It became a running joke amongst people attending the games (like myself) when the stadium was visably no more than half full for a game and the attendance was announced as a near sellout.

The signing of the DP's have helped improve things this year though.

But that is all beside the point. There are huge swaths of first and second generation football supporters in this city that won't give TFC the time of day.
Honest John / July 16, 2014 at 01:28 pm
Singh or Ablacksingh is a big time fraudster. Go here to see his sentencing report:
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