Toronto Sports Teams Had a Great 2016

I've been blogging here for 14 years, and during that time there were some pretty low times in Toronto sports. Just four years ago I wrote this about the new bottom for Toronto sports teams. Things were very, very bad for the big five.

In 2016, things got a whole lot better. In fact, there's something great to report about every team in the big five not nicknamed the Argos. Although we didn't win a championship, we were close!

Toronto FC
Ten years after their birth, TFC hosted the MLS Cup final, losing a heartbreaker to Seattle. That second leg against Montreal in the semi-final was absolutely thrilling.

Toronto Blue Jays
For the second year in a row, the Blue Jays played in the ALCS. Unlike the hype train of 2015, this didn't seem likely in September as we sputtered into the playoffs, but an Edwin walk-off against Baltimore in the wildcard game and a sweep of the Rangers in the ALDS helped recapture the joy of the previous year.

Toronto Raptors
For the first time in franchise history, the Raptors won a best-of-seven playoff series. And we did it twice! We even took two games against Cleveland in the conference finals, making this far and away the best Raptors season, ever.

Toronto Maple Leafs
Last season, the Leafs were bad. Very, very bad. This is a good thing, as it helped us land Auston Matthews with the first overall pick in the draft. Now, with Matthews, Marner and Nylander, the future actually looks bright and the present is a lot of fun, too.

Toronto Argonauts
Let's not ruin this entry with an Argos update.

In addition to successful developments for the big four teams in this city, Toronto hosted the Grey Cup, World Cup of Hockey and World Juniors. 2016 was a very good year for Toronto sports. Let's hope for a championship in 2017.

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Comments (18 - click here to join in!)


Great Argos zinger!

December 31, 2016 @ 10:48 AM

Rob J

In no universe did Toronto have a "great" sports year.

December 31, 2016 @ 4:26 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rob J

Don't be a hater! This is progress!

No championships, but two franchises had their best years ever, another reached the semi-finals for the second year in a row and another drafted Auston Matthews. Pretty great, relatively speaking.

December 31, 2016 @ 4:30 PM

collingwood dave

Toronto Argonauts, Grey cup champs..1900..14, 21, 33, 37, 38,45, 46, 47, 50, 52,83, 91, 96, 97, 04, 012...The oldest franchise in pro sports deserves a little more than " lets not ruin this with an Argos update"

December 31, 2016 @ 5:21 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@collingwood dave

Why? They had a terrible season on the field and off. They're the outlier in this feel-good story.

It's nothing personal... four years ago I crapped all over the other teams, too.

December 31, 2016 @ 5:42 PM


Ha ha. If you want to avoid the angry-old-man wrath from those inexplicably annoyed because all them young whipper-snappers don't follow the Argos nowadays, I suggest you give the Argos all the attention they deserve, and completely ignore them like just about everyone else does, just as you would with lacrosse, junior hockey, elephant polo, etc.

BTW, earlier this year I saw an interesting article (search for headline "Vancouver Whitecaps refuse to release attendance numbers") pointed out describing how, because BC Place is a publicly owned facility, a Freedom Of Information request for the actual ("turnstile") attendance at events there had to be granted, revealing how much the Lions and Whitecaps lie when they announce inflated attendance numbers to make themselves look better for potential sponsors. Isn't Exhibition Place owned by the City of Toronto? It would be interesting to see how much the Argos, Marlies, and TFC similarly lie about their attendance. While I would guess the other Toronto teams (and I definitely would include the Jays in that although there may no way to find out the real numbers since the Rogers Centre is privately owned) inflate their announced attendance by something like 30%, the Argos in recent years have appeared to be multiplying the number of people in the building by four or five to get the number the claimed to be attending most Argo games other than maybe their home-openers.

January 1, 2017 @ 9:58 AM

collingwood dave

@ apologies for being old, and if you are waiting for an NFL team you too will be old...

January 1, 2017 @ 1:26 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

The way I look at it, the NFL is all about the big US TV contracts. Adding new markets in the USA makes sense. Adding a market outside the USA does not.

January 1, 2017 @ 6:05 PM


Read the post people.

Mike is only talking about how they did on the field on play. Not attendance, TV numbers or, how popular each team is.

2016 was a good year for the majority of the Toronto sports franchises on their field of play. That's all.

January 2, 2017 @ 12:46 AM

Rob J


So you agree with me that it was not a "great" year. Strength in numbers!

January 2, 2017 @ 10:49 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Let's put it this way...

Of the big five pro teams in this city, three either had their best season ever or matched their best season since '93.

And one of those two shitty teams has turned the corner.

January 2, 2017 @ 10:55 AM


@H.o.E. - how a team reports attendance is usually dictated by league policy.

January 2, 2017 @ 11:47 AM


@elvis - If there's anyone left in 2017 still incredibly gullible enough to believe the obviously fictional attendance numbers that get announced at sports events, I suggest they do a search for a couple of headlines for fascinating articles by Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune --
"If you believe the announced attendance figures at many pro and college sports events, you might as well believe in unicorns, too. The big picture: Guesstimation, fabrication are common formulas" ,
"Guess the attendance: At MLS games, announced figures often include large numbers of free tickets plus inflated totals".
Those are now over a decade old, but are among the best, and you can find many more recent and similar articles on the subject just by doing a search for something like "sports attendance lying". If anything the situation has become worse since then, when at the same time almost everyone has a camera and can easily take photos of mostly empty stadiums that show crowds sizes with no resemblance to what gets announced. Well, all right, maybe the old codgers still going to Argo games may be among the few who don't have them new-fangled phone-camera gizmo thingies.

January 3, 2017 @ 9:52 AM

Rob J

Who cares what the attendance is?! I loved it when no one attended Jays' games from lineups, sit wherever you want, easy parking, very few drunkards, etc etc. As long as you're there having a great time, why be concerned with whomever else is or isn't? And if you never attend games, you definitely have no real right to comment on those who or do or don't. Such a dumb topic (and yes, I see the irony of me weighing in on a dumb topic).

January 3, 2017 @ 11:01 AM


Posted this over at Toronto Sports Media and thought I'd post it here too:


Let's assume it is Jan 1, 2016 and we have absolutely no knowledge of the coming year and I told you that the Toronto sports scene would be the following:

– Host NBA All-Star game
– Deep Raptors playoff run
– Deep Blue Jays playoff run
– Deep Toronto FC playoff run
– Grey Cup
– World Junior Championship
– World Cup of Hockey

Then I asked: Which of these would struggle with attendance?

Nobody would say "the hockey ones" and the Grey Cup yet here we are.

January 4, 2017 @ 1:47 PM

Teena inToronto

Alas, the Toronto Rock (lacrosse) didn't have a great year :(

January 4, 2017 @ 9:57 PM


Yeah. My 2nd fave Toronto team. But they moved on this off season and the American infusion is looking good so far (I know, only 1 game in). I'm sure they'll be teed in 2017.

January 5, 2017 @ 12:19 AM


Yeah. My 2nd fave Toronto team. But they moved on this off season and the American infusion is looking good so far (I know, only 1 game in). I'm sure they'll be teed in 2017.

January 5, 2017 @ 12:19 AM

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