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Have the Toronto Argonauts Played Their Last Season in the CFL?—Are the Argos XFL-Bound?

The Toronto Argonauts were founded in 1873 and their history is deeply planted in the hearts and minds of the team’s many adoring fans, but with the CFL recording an all-time low in overall interest, has the team played its last season within the parameters known as the Canadian Football League?

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has astonishingly been losing a whopping $12 million a season on the Argos, and the Argonauts are the team that have been cited as the most plausible to be striking a deal with the XFL. Of course these developments were put on hold back in July in an official capacity, but the talks are still underway it would seem.

Attendance has obviously been an issue, the Covid-19 pandemic not only doing a number on the overall league in terms of halting their 2020 season quite evidently. Attendance has been reported at a mere 9,800 or less a game since they returned for this season!

The XFL is set to make its return in 2023 and under the guidance of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his more than capable team of execs; so a re-vamped version of the league is set to commence at that time, and many are excited to say the least (this writer included).

But can the Argos be a part of that list of teams that take the field as of the aforementioned time period?

Johnson of course, who is half Canadian himself on his father’s side, the legendary professional wrestler, Rocky Johnson, who historically, along with Tony Atlas, became the first-ever WWE tag team champions of a black ethnicity. Dwayne Johnson played for the Calgary Stampeders during his time in the CFL.

The rumor mill suggests that it is in fact quite likely as it stands right now that the Argos do make the move. As do other sources, specifically Damien Cox, freelance journalist who published a piece about this at thestar.com. It’s not definite, but it seems very possible at the moment, it would undoubtedly seem.

“attendance amidst pandemic restrictions has been horrific, less than 9,800 per game, and the rumour mill suggests MLSE might fold or sell the team after this season, or convert it into an XFL franchise when that league returns in the spring of 2023.”

The Argos are set to host the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the East Division final on Sunday December 5th at 12:30PM EST. The question being posed is the same one I asked above—in a sense—can it truly be the last time that a CFL game will be played in Toronto?

They defeated the Ti-Cats 31-12 the last time they played them on the 12th of November. Astonishingly, they only drew a reported 6,247 fans in attendance for that game. The Argos lost their last game on the 16th against the Elks. the Elks won 13-7.

via Toronto Argonauts / YouTube

If we look at the facts, it seems like that can very well just be the case in the end, dear readers, especially with the XFL potentially seriously interested in making that deal for a team that is at the top of their division, but astonishingly lacks attendance and overall interest.

But overall interest and attendance isn’t the only problem. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment own a plethora of teams which include the Toronto Maple Leafs in Hockey, The Toronto Raptors in basketball, and Toronto FC II in soccer, among others. These aforementioned teams take a lot of money, and so if the Argos are losing them money instead of earning, the likely response is what has been churning and churning in the rumor mill it would seem, which is the evident and potential sale of the Argos.

Whoever wins the East Division final will obviously be headed to the 108th Grey Cup and face the winner of the West Division final between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Roughriders.

Can the Argos possibly win the Grey Cup in their potentially last season in the CFL?

Right now, all we have are questions, but the outcomes are something that need to be discussed and perhaps thought about, and as we’ve stated here and as the aforementioned piece at the The Star points out: We should be ready for anything and everything, dear readers. A new beginning might be in store for the CFL, the XFL and the Toronto Argonauts before 2023 dawns bright with hope and promise.

“So, gather up your jackets, move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend
Closing time, every new beginning
Comes from some other beginning’s end…”

-Dan Wilson /Semisonic

NEXT: The Spring League Being Sued For $1.4M In Unpaid Bills

Domenic Marinelli is an author and freelance writer/journalist. His work has appeared in The Sportster, E-Wrestling News, Pro Wrestling News Hub, The Recipe, Babbletop, Guilty Eats, Daily DDT, Park Extension News, CFL News Hub, as well as other print and internet publications. He is the author of Generic V, Summer of the Great White Wolf, His Old Tapes (stories & poetry), and so many others. He lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Check out his YouTube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClFhln79utCCOWbuiP2EwWA

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Dude

    November 29, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    I think MLSE would want to find a buyer before going to the XFL. I get Toronto wants an NFL team, but this would spook the NFL with such bad attendance. This is bad for the fans, the CFL, and Toronto. As much as I hope the XFL and USFL thrive, I hate to see Toronto not be in the CFL. I don’t see how the XFL boosts Toronto much, more US players? Cold weather XFL games in the spring vs summer CFL games?

    Long term Toronto should have an NFL team, but that won’t happen unless London expansion happens so they can pair up. If fan attendance in Toronto drops with an NFL team, like it has for the Argos, the NFL will move them quickly and not come back. Toronto fans wanting an NFL team need to show up for the Argos. Major League Soccer followed that expansion path based on USL attendance in hot cities like Cincinnati, Nashville, and Sacramento…I’m sure the NFL thinks the same. Going to the XFL would be interesting but attendance and passion for Toronto football is the key either way.

    • GARY PRYCE

      November 30, 2021 at 9:57 am

      Toronto football fans have for years considered themselves too good for the CFL and want to be with the big boys in the NFL. It s not the quality of the game –the much more exciting CFL play versus the mind numbing drag out the NFL game –shades of baseball with it s so-called strategy . It s the fact that Torontonians want to be considered in the same league as New Yorkers and the US citys of Boston , Los Angeles etc. We all saw the response to previous NFL exhibition games in Toronto.Torontonians need to accept that they are the big fish in the small pond and stop yearning to be the small fish in the big pond.

  2. Steven Woolf

    November 29, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    The first of many long-term steps in Maple Leaf Sports’s quest to get the Argos into the NFC East. It’ll happen. Count on it.

  3. Clark

    November 30, 2021 at 1:49 am

    What a dumbass article. Could this team leave their league for one that plays by different rules because the owner of the other league is half-Canadian?? Attendance is down across the board because of COVID restrictions and some cities have clearly been hit harder than others. See what Argos’ attendance does next year – especially if they win the GC – and then see what they think about moving to a league that barely exists.

  4. Howard Moss

    November 30, 2021 at 5:16 am

    Your comments make little sense. CFL attendance in Toronto will have no bearing on potential of NFL in Toronto. If, and it will never happen, a Toronto NFL team ever existed, marketing of the team would bring record crowds to a stadium with the highest priced tkts of any sporting event north of the border. Article does not discuss that Bell thru MLSE owns the Argos and has given up on marketing the team. Bell owner of TSN is sponsor of CFL has to see if switch to XFL gets them more $. I believe a deal is in place. Bell
    & MLSE gets a Toronto team, Bell & TSN gets Cdn broadcast rights for XFL in Canada. No more CFL partners with small minded community teams Wpg, Sask, EDM. Potential for XFL to other Cdn cities in Vancouver, Montreal. They have new owners. Also no way for CFL to stop XFL. In 1970s Trudeau’s father introduced a Bill to stop WFL coming to Canada. Bassett and Toronto Northmen fled to Memphis taking Kiick, Csonka and Warfield. Justin will have little urge to do this. Afterall Prov of Saskatchewan didn’t give Liberals any ridings in last election.

  5. John Canada

    November 30, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    Go away USA! Get lost XFL. Your league has yet to complete a season and a half. The CFL still has much interest and fans in Canada, just not much in Toronto anymore. Your propaganda story is laughable. CFL XFL merging? I’ll never support it. XFL is like fake wrestling to me.

  6. Texas Pete

    November 30, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    If the CFL which has over 100 years of history cannot draw a crowd in Toronto what makes you think the XFL which has never finished a season will be able to ?

  7. Argofan

    November 30, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    What a piece of garbage click bait. This entire article is based soley on the ridiculous piece Cox wrote that is entirely speculative. There is NO ONE else in any way suggesting the Argos immanent demise it is dictionary written by Cox to create headlines nothing more

  8. Lloyd Loveday

    November 30, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    The NFL is NEVER coming to Toronto or Canada there are a dozen American cities with larger markets that will get one first. And a league can only be so big. Now the XFL is just dumb is Toronto fans won’t come to a CFL game why would they go to the lowly XFL. In the end it all goes to TV revenue and the CFL IS still top for football in Canada. The games last weekend out drew the NFL

  9. Jeffrey Hammond

    December 1, 2021 at 12:13 am

    This article writer is a bonehead! He has NO evidence & is just creating rumours & falsehoods! The Argonauts name is a copyright of the C.F.L. so the owners would not be able to use the Argonaut name. One thing is true: M.L.S.E. is doing a crappy job of running the Argonaut franchise. They need someone who is professional with lots of football experience to MARKET the team PROPERLY & turn the franchise around in the community!

  10. Paul Sinkewicz

    December 1, 2021 at 2:07 am

    Good Lord in heaven you are a bad writer.

  11. CFL Fan

    December 1, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Argos are a CFL franchise you can’t just take them and move them to another league. They can sell or start a new team in another league but it won’t be the “Argos” and it will fail as well. how do you loose 12 million when most of the teams lost about 7 million in a year where they never played a game. the mismanagement is astounding.

  12. Sinceday1

    December 1, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    Attendance issues, ya cause they are willing to keep their beloved hockey team with full capacity, and the Raptors. But the Argos an outdoor venue, have a fan cap for games lmao. Not many are willing to make the travel to find out you can’t get in. It’s unreal. MLSE needs to be boycotted

  13. Tim

    December 5, 2021 at 9:40 am

    Even before Covid the Argos were getting the same lousy attendance at BMO Field. They only play like what 9 or 10 home games and lucky if there were 9000 fans in the seats before Covid. The only team that was consistently getting close to 25000 and sometimes close to 30000 a game before Covid was the soccer team TFC of the MLS, and they play around 20 home games a season at BMO Field not the 9 or 10 the Argos play at BMO Field each season. However , moving the Argos to the XFL is not going to boost attendance at BMO for the Argos it’s not happening. Moreover, as long as there is a CFL there will always be the Argos bad attendance and all they are not going anywhere .

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