BMO FIELD, MLSE DELIVERS FINANCIAL RETURN TO CITY OF TORONTO

Strong financial results for four consecutive years at Canada's only soccer specific stadium benefits City of Toronto

TORONTO, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - As BMO Field prepares for its fifth anniversary season, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE) announced the stadium's business results for the year ending December 31, 2010.

BMO Field, home of Major League Soccer's Toronto FC and Canada's National Soccer teams, realized an operating profit of $641,000 in 2010, exceeding its initial profit estimates by $241,000. The operating profit will be shared between the City of Toronto and MLSE in accordance with their operating agreement. Since BMO Field opened, MLSE has returned more than $1.2 million of stadium profits back to the City of Toronto.

"Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has done a wonderful job in managing BMO Field for the City of Toronto," said Chair of the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place, Mark Grimes. "BMO Field is a great stadium and city attraction. It continues to be a leading edge model for public-private partnerships that other North American cities and municipalities look to very closely when considering similar stadium projects."

"BMO Field is a terrific example of how a private sector company like Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment can contribute to economic development and city building in a manner that supports sport development for all Torontonians," said Bob Hunter, MLSE's executive vice-president of venues and entertainment. "As we enter the stadium's fifth season, we are looking forward to the continued success of our venue."

Built in 468 days, on time and on budget ($62.9 million), BMO Field is a successful result of a public-private partnership with three levels of government — the Federal Government, Province of Ontario, City of Toronto — and MLSE. All four parties financially contributed to the cost of building the stadium.

BMO Field financial results announced

The facility has welcomed close to 1.7 million guests at 117 events since April 2007. The venue has hosted a number of events including Toronto FC and Canadian National home games, the FIFA Under 20 World Cup tournament, the Genesis reunion concert, the 2008 MLS All-Star Game and most recently the 2010 MLS Cup Championship.

"Having a dedicated soccer facility continues to be pivotal in shaping and developing soccer in Canada. Besides serving the needs of our professional and national teams, BMO Field has also served the community with local programming for children, youth and adult soccer leagues," said Richard Peddie, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. "MLSE looks forward to making future investments in soccer facilities and infrastructure that will further develop our sport."

In 2010, MLSE invested $5.5 million to replace the Field Turf at BMO Field with a natural grass field and upgrade Allan Lamport Stadium with a winter bubble, making it a year-round community facility. This investment resulted in additional revenue for the City and more than 2,500 hours available for community sport-use at BMO Field and Lamport Stadium.

Toronto FC begins its fifth anniversary season at BMO Field on Saturday, March 26 against Major League Soccer's newest expansion team the Portland Timbers. Kick off is at 2 p.m.

For further information:

Media Contacts:
Jamie Deans, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, (416) 815-5445
Rajani Kamath, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, (416) 815-5790