Rogers Communications Not Ready To Build A New Toronto Ballpark

COVID-19 has temporarily halted plans for a new park.

There were some premature goodbyes issued in the past week to Toronto’s SkyDome, the home of Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays. The building is not going to close any time soon although there appears to be some vague plan to knock it down and replace it with a 21st century park with all the gadgets and gizmos or revenue generators that a modern facility can provide a team owner. Rogers Communications, the biggest cable TV name in Canada and Blue Jays and stadium owner, confirmed that it wants to eventually have a new place but now is not the time because of the COVID-19 pandemic which is having a major impact in both Toronto and adjacent Peel.

The SkyDome opened in 1989 with the kind of bells and whistles that would usher in a new day in stadiums. The ballpark came complete with a hotel, a fitness center, a retractable roof, a fast-food restaurant, a more upscale restaurant, the world’s largest scoreboard which was four stories and could play movie theater quality video and a café. All of the venues had windows facing the field. The stadium also had 161 luxury boxes which could be filled by Bay Street stock exchange workers as Toronto had become the financial capital of Canada by that point. Toronto is still the financial capital of Canada and Rogers is a big business player in Toronto. Rogers has a big piece of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, an enterprise that includes the NHL’s Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Raptors, an MLS team, some minor league teams along with the NHL/NBA arena and various other sports venues around Toronto. As of today, Rogers may not have a Toronto facility to host Blue Jays games in 2021. Canadian COVID-19 restrictions forced the team to play in Buffalo, New York in 2020.

Toronto Blue Jays Bo Bichette celebrates his three-run homer with teammates against Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Aaron Loup during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)