February 7, 2007 Toronto FC announce schedule (from Toronto Star)
Beckham in T.O. Aug. 5
Peddie confident game will sell out well in advance
Feb 07, 2007 04:30 AM
The countdown to David Beckham's arrival in Toronto has begun.
In 179 days – Sunday Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. – the English soccer superstar with the $250 million (U.S.) contract will take the field against Toronto FC at BMO Field, in a match that just might mark his MLS regular season debut.
"It's going to be quite an event," said Richard Peddie, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. "There'll be a lot of people who aren't interested in soccer who will want to go."
But anyone who wants to see the newest member of the L.A. Galaxy play in person had better act quickly.
Peddie said Toronto FC was already on pace to sell out every home game before MLS released the schedule. Now that fans know when to expect Beckham, Peddie thinks the game will sell out long before the season starts.
Peddie said the team has already sold about 11,500 season tickets in a stadium that holds roughly 20,000.
"Even before Beckham we were selling seats," Peddie said yesterday. "But there's no doubt he's helped. He has given us a bounce.''
Right now Toronto FC is only selling season tickets, and hasn't yet decided when single game seats will go on sale.
Peddie said he had received no guarantees from the league that Beckham would play.
"He will play pending health," Peddie said. "You can never guarantee that a player shows."
Beckham won't join the Galaxy until his contract with Real Madrid expires in June. The Galaxy host Kansas City on July 7 before beginning a month-long all-star break.
If Beckham arrives as expected in mid-July, his first three games with his new team will be in the Superliga, a Champions League-type tournament that pits four MLS teams against four teams from Mexico's first division. L.A.'s late July schedule includes matches against Mexican squads Pachuca and Guadalajara and FC Dallas of the MLS.
The Galaxy's MLS schedule resumes in August with the match in Toronto, a game made even bigger because it takes place on the same holiday weekend as the annual Caribana festival.
Yesterday, the MLS acknowledged that Beckham's arrival caused them to tweak the league's schedule.
"Adjustments were made to maximize David Beckham joining Galaxy in mid-July,'' said Dan Courtemanche, MLS' senior vice- president of communications and marketing. "There was no major upheaval to ensure every team will have the Galaxy at home after mid-July."
Toronto FC opens the regular season on April 7 against the MLS' other L.A.-based team, Chivas USA. They open their home schedule on April 28 against Kansas City, and the last of their 15 home games is against the New England Revolution on Oct. 20.
WITH FILES FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS
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