Posted on 10/1/2009

YES!  It looks like it’s going to get done.  Toronto City Council approved Wednesday with a vote of 29-0 on the conversion of BMO Field from Field Turf to natural grass. MLSE is footing the entire bill of around 5.5 million dollars. 

Under the deal MLSE will spend $3.5 million to install natural grass at BMO Field by May 1.  They will also spend $1.2 million to move the winter bubble from BMO Field to Lamport Stadium, which would provide 5,616 hours of off-season playing time, from November to April. $800,000 is available for a new artificial turf field in south Etobicoke for community use in the summer. 

It’s something that has been in the works for a while.  It’s not like we’re the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick.  At the snap of a finger when Bilichick was unhappy with grass (can you believe that?) he ordered Field Turf to be installed overnight.  That is great when you own and operate your own facility.  That is not the case here. 

BMO Field was originally built for the 2007 FIFA Under 20 World Cup with funding from all three levels of government.  There was also the stipulation the facility be made available for community use.  Of course that meant Field Turf being installed and not grass.  Now MLSE has made sure under the conversion there will actually be more hours of soccer fields available for community use than before.  A definite win-win and I’m not just talking about the community getting a couple of great facilities provided by MLSE, I’m talking about Toronto FC being able to take that next step in building a winning franchise.

The Field Turf at BMO has served its purpose for three years, but the actual hours of people playing on it makes it really about seven years old.  It’s been a challenge not only to watch the bouncing ball at BMO, but imagine playing on it (actually I have and did in fact break my thumb at the 2008 MLS Media All-Star Game). 

Toronto FC has some very talented players, but having to take three or four touches on the ball before doing anything has been a huge disadvantage to what is supposed to be home field advantage and I think the results show that.  Teams without as much talent now have the time to close down Toronto FC and those talented one-v-one players are brought down to the visitors’ level. 

With grass, that talent and ball movement will shine at BMO.  Chris Cummins has been also worried about the toll Field Turf takes on players’ bodies and trying to limit their time on it.  It’s tough on joints and Field Turf’s own study shows that off the ball injuries compared to grass are off the charts.
The international teams BMO Field will be able to attract will improve dramatically. The Canadian National Team will play more matches at what is supposed to be their “national stadium,” and Mo Johnston will be able to attract higher profile players to the city.  It’s no secret a couple of years ago Darren Huckerby was very close to making Toronto home, but the veteran player did not want to play on what many European players call “the plastic pitch.”  Instead he signed with Frank Yallop’s San Jose Earthquakes. 

There is no doubt in my mind Julian de Guzman was well aware of the possibility of grass at BMO Field and if that was not on the horizon I wonder if he would have signed here.  The good news is he did and will be an integral part of this team moving forward and competing for the top spot in Major League Soccer.  The fans have been vocal, but they have also been patient and I think everyone can appreciate how slow government can move at times. But this time that was not the case.  CONGRATS to everyone involved.  Now it’s not the type of grass we can smoke so I will raise a pint and say “Cheers” to a job well done!


Posted by Eduardo on
10/7/2009 4:23:24 PM
Hi all,\n\nI finally got an email from Goltv, I wanted to posted here but they are sensuring my comment.\n\nAnywaysa, I says how sorry they are bout the situation and thet they are working hard to bring SAP back. They dont know when but shoudl be anytime within 30 to 60 days.\n\nThe only thing that looks weird to me is that it came from a Yahoo email\nRegards\n\n\nHEy Martin, how did you get that job at goltv?
Posted by TomP on
10/7/2009 12:46:17 AM
Looks like martins looking forward to the hideous future of TFCTV!!!\n\n\npretty soon It's going to be TFC space 10 hours a day.\n\nMLSE out!!!!!!\n
Posted by Eduardo on
10/6/2009 8:45:19 PM
Hi all, \n\nHere is the latest on this issue. I got this from an email from "Viewer Relations []"\n\n\n\nHello Eduardo,\n \nSome good news on the Spanish SAP option front. We will be getting it back for you and other viewers who definitely want this option back. While it is very difficult to pinpoint an actual start (restart) date for it, we are in a 30-60 day window. We understand your frustration and appreciate your patience in this matter. Please know that we are working hard to reinstate the Spanish SAP option and it is a priority however it does require a certain amount of time to setup, install and reconfigure systems, especially with the new Master Control that was built this summer. Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding in this very important matter.\n \n
Posted by Houston Barker on
10/6/2009 6:40:35 PM
Martin I don't understand your reason for posting. Your gibberish is puzzling and useless to the topic at hand. If you don't have a problem sap and Goltv/MLSE in general why are you here? You feel an obligation to defend Goltv? Rather odd and in this particular case ridiculous. SAP has been unavailable for several months. GolTV has yet to appropriately address the situation regarding SAP. A random post on a blog after a few complaints and months later is not acceptable for a legitimate channel. If everything was on the up and up and SAP was truly being re-installed (how anyone could believe this now...) a message should be posted on the front page of this website. The message should apologize for the temporary loss of SAP and give a rough date as to when it is expected to return. That would be the appropriate way to handle the issue. Even if a decision was made by GolTV to simply drop the SAP option permanently that should also been written in a message on the front page to clear the issue. Not too much to ask, is it? Its sloppy and insulting to the viewers of this channel the way the matter has been handled...PERIOD.
Posted by Eduardo on
10/6/2009 5:04:48 PM
Martin,\nYou say it does not make a difference to watch football in English or Spanish, That’s because you don’t understand the passion, and the expression shown by the commentators when the game is in Spanish or Portuguese.\n\nEither way, I finally got news from gol TV and I want to share it :\n\n“Hello Eduardo,\n \nSome good news on the Spanish SAP option front. We will be getting it back for you and other viewers who definitely want this option back. While it is very difficult to pinpoint an actual start (restart) date for it, we are in a 30-60 day window. We understand your frustration and appreciate your patience in this matter. Please know that we are working hard to reinstate the Spanish SAP option and it is a priority however it does require a certain amount of time to setup, install and reconfigure systems, especially with the new Master Control that was built this summer. Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding in this very important matter.”\n \n \nGOL TV Viewer Relations\n
Posted by Martin on
10/6/2009 1:47:22 PM
Yes, the SAP answer is good enough for me because I really don't care about it. If I am listening in Spanish, I get a Spanish spaz, if I am listing in English, I get an English spaz in Ray Hudson. Neither is all that necessary for me to watch Lionel Messi and/or Cristiano Ronaldo do their talking on the pitch. "Goltv/MLSE" as you call it is in the business of retaining customers. You can see that with their packed arenas and stadiums. It seems to me when they say they are going to do something, they do it so if SAP was an issue for me, I'd trust that its in the works. They never wrote when they'd get it solved so why do you feel you can hold them to an arbitrary timeline that you made up? But again, not a single poster on here ever talks about football, just complains and insults the channel because obviously they are all engineers who knows how long it should take to bring SAP back. But that seems to be good enough for you. That's really intelligent.
Posted by Houston Barker on
10/5/2009 9:45:48 PM
And Martin how do you feel now that the statement issued by Goltv about SAP (which you deemed enough for us to shut up) was first seen back in mid July? Is that still acceptable to you? The message spewed almost three months ago is still the exact same message posted here by GolTV Admin weeks ago. That's good enough for you?
Posted by Houston Barker on
10/5/2009 9:39:39 PM
Martin if you have a problem with reading all these posts about sap then don't read them. Your problem is solved. However those of us with legitimate issues here with the channel have not been met with appropriate answers, thus the constant probing. Now the reason people post here is because Goltv doesn't respond to emails (and for a extended period of time did not have a working email). And the Colombian and Brasilian matches were not always shown on varying delays, get your facts straight. You can see the differences in the scheduling here and Goltv USA. Your EPL comparison is just stupid and irrelevant to the discussion. Goltv Canada/MLSE is free to do what they like just as the viewers are free to voice their displeasure.
Posted by Martin on
10/5/2009 8:05:18 PM
I didn't say complaining is what's keeping them from bringing SAP, I said that complaining won't make them get there any faster. Indeed, it hasn't. I am just fed up with reading these blogs and then seeing an entire thread of responses that have nothing to do with what's in the blog or even about football. It's just whining about the SAP button or how something you liked before isn't there now. Yes, customers deserve good service. But for $3/month I am watching Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich every week. That's not bad. The Colombia and Brazil games were on delays before too, let's not pretend those used to be live all the time. \n\nBy the way, EPL shows games on Mondays now while I am at work, so I don't get to see them. Does that mean every time there is an article on the EPL anywhere on the web, I should only complain about the Monday games and not talk about football itself? Change happens, people need to learn to deal with it.
Posted by Juan Carlos on
10/5/2009 7:45:37 PM
I guess is SOOOOO bad to ask for proper service eh? lets remember we are the customers... we ARE paying... and we \nare asking for a deadline or a timeframe on the SAP.. come on matin READ 'answers' that GolTv has given prior... \nand using terms as nasiz or insulting latin america is a sign of pure ignorace!
Posted by John on
10/5/2009 4:48:29 PM
Dear Martin, \n\nI'm glad you got my point. Calling Latin America poor is a nonsense in terms of football, casue you are right the poor football nations are the ones who call the great game "soccer".
Posted by Houston Barker on
10/5/2009 2:29:01 PM
And Martin how do you feel about Goltv Canada not picking up the full La Liga schedule anymore? Not picking up the Europa League coverage? Showing Brasil/Colombian matches on delays? How on earth you can even try to defend this station is beyond reason.
Posted by Houston Barker on
10/5/2009 2:22:49 PM
Martin are you an employee of Goltv? lol Their addressing the issue is total nonsense. The same statement they posted on this blog a few weeks ago was first seen in mid July. Re-posting the same statement months later is comical. You think this is good communication on the part of GolTV? You actually think it takes 3-4 months to re-install the sap option?\n\nAnd you think writing "insulting" comments will only prevent them from bringing back sap? Wow that would say a lot about MLSE wouldn't it? They would refuse to satisfy their customer base for the time being because they received a couple complaints and want to "stick it" to them? C'mon that is nonsense to even consider.
Posted by Martin on
10/4/2009 8:14:15 PM
John, two thing, first: it's called "football" in every country except the U.S., Australia and Canada. So whatever clever point you were trying to make actually doesn't work. Second, more important point is, if you follow the blogs on here, at least on two occasions once by someone calling themselves "GOLTV Admin" and another time by Lee Godfrey himself, the SAP question was answered. They are working on it, we've been told twice in the last month. But still the same people keep pestering. None of them are interested in talking about football either, John, they are just more interested in their own selfish needs. If these people were talking about football on here, I can see your argument. But none of their discussions are about football, it's all about making derogatory comments toward operational things they don't like. Writing stupid insults probably isn't going to get the SAP option on their screen any quicker either.
Posted by John on
10/4/2009 6:23:21 PM
Hey guys , lets keep this on Football and not on everithing else.\n\nMartin, the only poor thing here is the comunication and service provided by GolTv Canada whom never infromed the fans on the changes. Now That is poor service.\n\nAnd regarding to Football,Latin America is by far richer in football history than the countries whom name the sport "Soccer". \n\nJohn from Montreal
Posted by Eduardo on
10/4/2009 5:44:00 PM
DEar Martin,\n\nWy do you mention Latin America? we enjoy footbal from any league or country that plays footbal with the "foot " and not the hands.\n\nAnd if your channel is from a develloped country, they should adress the problem asa developped country and make it clear to the fans. I never saw, or got an anwser bback from them. So the only "Nazies" ( I dont know why you shose this word, you probably dont know the meaning) are the ones who impose their will to the majority with even warning like a proper costumer service should.\n\nRegards
Posted by Martin on
10/4/2009 7:10:19 AM
The only "BS" are the morons who are posting regularly about the same thing that was already answered several weeks ago. They don't have the SAP option available right now and they're working on it. How many times do they need to tell some of you brickheads about this? No wonder all the Latin American countries are poor as dirt and backward as hell. Some of you SAP Nazis just don't behave like human beings at least on this thing judging by your posts.
Posted by Eduardo on
10/4/2009 1:14:30 AM
This is just more BS not to adress the issue
Posted by Juan Carlos on
10/3/2009 3:13:35 PM
Thanks for answering some of our concerns Lee, but you forgot to address the issue about the removing of the SAP spanish option, can you please let us know about that as well.\n\nThanks,

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Lee Godfrey brings an extensive amount of soccer broadcast experience to GolTV where he is the host of the station’s original Canadian news program Extra Time.