Toronto FC to host Liverpool FC at Rogers Centre in July
April 20, 2012
Winless in Major League Soccer play this season, Toronto FC has booked Liverpool FC for an international friendly July 21st at Rogers Centre, home of its recent CONCACAF Champions League win over the LA Galaxy.
Rogers Centre hosted more than 54,000 Toronto FC supporters when the home of the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball was used to host David Beckham and the Galaxy in the CONCACAF quarter-final. It hosted Liverpool FC in a 2004 exhibition match against FC Porto.
“They could use some regular season wins and a chance to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, but this kind of special event marketing is a smart way to introduce the MLS club to a broader base of fans,” said sport business commentator Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto (also heard on TEAM 1040 in Vancouver). “Liverpool has fallen on some hard times of its own but it is a global soccer brand and will bring a lot of interest to the city in July.”
As with many international friendlies, the Liverpool-Toronto match will be played on natural grass.
“We are thrilled to be hosting Toronto FC and Liverpool FC at Rogers Centre,” Rogers Centre spokesperson Silvio D’Addario said in a media release issued Tuesday. “This is going to be a great celebration of soccer and a chance to see one of the most storied franchises in the English Premier League battle against our home team — Toronto FC.”
After the buzz created by its run to the CONCACAF semifinals (where they lost to Santos Laguna of Mexico), Toronto FC has lost six straight regular season matches and is in last place in the eastern conference of MLS, five points behind the expansion Montreal Impact.
“We’re delighted to be opening our North American tour in Canada with a game against Toronto FC,” Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre said in the statement. “We played Porto at the same stadium back in 2004 in front of over 40,000 fans and it will be great to give our fans in the region another chance to see Liverpool play live.”
TheSportMarket.biz with files from Sean Fitz-Gerald of The National Post.