To say that the launch of the Toronto Wolfpack in Liberty Village has been a success is just the tip of the iceberg. Throughout the rugby club’s first season, seemingly with every game, the crowd at Lamport Stadium grew and grew. By the end of the playing year, they proved to be a runaway hit.
That makes the current situation at Lamport Stadium all the more difficult to hear. Despite season tickets already having gone on sale for the Toronto Wolfpack’s second season, it is not yet clear whether the ongoing renovations at Lamport Stadium will be completed in time for the club’s first home game. This, understandably, has many fans frustrated. It is not clear purchasing season tickets what the home schedule is going to be at this point.
The first home game for the Toronto Wolfpack is set to happen on February 4TH. There are currently 11 home games with an expected 3-4 playoff games expected to follow in the months following. The Wolfpack are hoping to successfully negotiate an earlier conclusion to renovations on Lamport Stadium however the City of Toronto has not necessarily confirmed anything thus far. The major renovation planned is a replacement of the artificial turf. If the stadium is not ready in time for the rugby club’s first home page, they will likely relocate to another venue for the time being. Evidently, this is not great news for Liberty Village who have really taken to the team since they first began their play earlier this year.
The City of Toronto has the artificial turf replacement planned to occur from April to June. This would mean the first 7 home games for the Wolfpack being disrupted.
Amidst discussions on when and how this turf replacement will occur, Toronto is also in the midst of negotiating the contract for this turf replacement. This contract is expected to be finalized sometime in December, outlining the details on how this turf replacement will meet existing league standards. The set budget for the artificial turf replacement is approximately $810,000. This will set the beginning of year two into the City’s three-year deal to host the Wolfpack at Lamport Stadium. Last year, the City collected $28,252.51 in permit revenues for all of the club’s home games.
For those interested in purchasing season tickets for the Toronto Wolfpack, the price has actually gone up from last year’s $199.00 to this year’s $249.99. The club is committed to a minimum of ten home matches per adult season ticket. There are also season tickets available for the under-16 audience priced at $124.99 and season tickets for those aged 16 to 21 for $187.50.
Without a season ticket, those purchasing per game will also notice a slight rise in pricing. Last year’s tickets stood around $21 per game which made it very affordable for anyone in Liberty Village to attend. This year’s prices have increased to as high as $30 which is somewhat a considerable increase though demand is expected to be higher for games this season as well.
Last season’s Wolfpack went from being virtually unknown in the City to becoming local heroes in Toronto’s west end. The Wolfpack never lost a single game at Lamport Stadium and throughout their winning streak drew in crowds sized 6,000 per game. The last home game this past season drew a record 8,546 attendance.
Part of the popularity of the Wolfpack’s tenure at Lamport Stadium thus far has been attributed to the friendly Liberty Village atmosphere with a mix of bars and restaurants close by to enjoy after a game. The fan-friendly atmosphere that was adopted by the neighborhood contributed a lot to welcoming the club in and in building that audience.
If the Wolfpack have to leave Lamport Stadium for the majority of their second season, it will no doubt be a big loss to Liberty Village. Though they are a Toronto team, they feel in some ways like a Liberty Village success. Toronto’s west end does not have very much sports competition to hang its hat on. The Toronto Wolfpack provided a spirit that had never really been in Liberty Village before. Here’s to hoping that we see a Wolfpack return sooner rather than later!