Maple Leaf Adds CFL's Toronto Argonauts to Sports Team Empire

The Toronto Argonauts

Photographer: Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. has reached an agreement to acquire the Toronto Argonauts Football Club from BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada and Larry Tanenbaum’s Kilmer Group.

The deal for the Canadian Football League team, which won the Grey Cup last month, is expected to close in January, the companies said in a statement on Wednesday. No financial terms were disclosed.

“Under its current ownership, a transformed Argonauts football club enhanced its presence and fan base in Canada’s largest sports market and ultimately marched to the CFL championship,” said Michael Friisdahl, chief executive officer of the Toronto-based MSLE. 

"We look forward to building on the Argos’ strong momentum as we welcome the team to the leading provider of sports and entertainment experiences in Canada," he added.

Joining MLSE brings numerous advantages to the Argonauts, including financial scale and promotional, ticketing and other operational synergies, the company said. The Argos play at BMO Field at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, which is operated by MLSE and also serves as home to MLSE’s Toronto FC of Major League Soccer. MLSE also owns the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League and the Raptors of the National Basketball Association.

Founded in 1873, the Toronto Argonauts are North America’s oldest continuously operated professional football club and the oldest pro sports team of any kind on the continent that still operates with its original name, according to the statement. The team, which has won the CFL championship 17 times, was founded by the Argonaut Rowing Club, which owned the club for its first 83 years.

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