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BMO Field to be Home for Toronto FC and Canada's National Soccer Teams

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and BMO Financial Group announced Wednesday that BMO has acquired the naming rights to the new National Soccer Stadium on the grounds of Exhibition Place in Toronto for the next 10 years.

Known as BMO Field, the stadium will be home to Major League Soccer's Toronto FC and Canada's national soccer teams. BMO Field will open in Spring, 2007.

“Soccer is hugely popular, particularly among many of Canada's cultural communities, and nowhere more so than in Toronto,” said Tony Comper, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group.  “You didn't even have to walk down College Street or St. Clair Avenue during the World Cup to feel the passion and excitement.  We're thrilled that BMO Field, the first soccer-specific stadium in the country will become the centrepiece for the sport in Canada.”

“This is a terrific fit for us,” said Mr. Comper.  “Soccer represents a great opportunity for us to deepen our relationships with customers and communities in Toronto and indeed right across Canada.”

Comper noted that soccer in Canada is expected to grow in participation and fan base by 44 per cent over the next 10 years. “BMO is going to be a part of the excitement of the world's most popular sport at Canada's newest sports venue,” he said.

“BMO Field is a great community asset and an excellent example of a private-public partnership that not only supports sports and the associated ancillary benefits such as health, wellness and fitness, but also drives Toronto's economic growth and development for the long-term,” said Richard Peddie, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “Having a dedicated soccer facility will be pivotal in further shaping and developing soccer in Canada. BMO Field will not only serve as the home of professional soccer in Canada, but also serves the community with local programming for children, youth and adult soccer leagues.”

“We already have an excellent partnership with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment through our sponsorship of the Maple Leafs and Raptors and we are pleased to expand it with this new sponsorship of Toronto FC and its new home, BMO Field,” said Susan Payne, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Marketing, BMO Financial Group. 

Payne indicated that the value that BMO will realize from this initiative will extend beyond simple name recognition. Soccer aligns itself to a culturally diverse target group that will give BMO a foothold in this very important growing market,” said Payne. We will benefit from a number of potential opportunities linked with our association to BMO Field, Toronto FC, and related initiatives in communities across Canada.  We are going to use the expertise we have in growing interest in sport at all levels to expose more and more people to Toronto FC and grow soccer across the country.”   

BMO Field's winter bubble will make the 20,000 seat stadium accessible for use year-round.

“We're excited to extend our marketing partnership with BMO Financial Group to our soccer business. BMO is a great Canadian brand that is known for its support of sports and their sponsorship of soccer will help promote the game to new audiences nationally,” said Tom Anselmi, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.

The extensive partnership between BMO Financial Group and MLSE includes title sponsorship of the National Soccer Stadium, sponsorship of Toronto FC, a corporate suite and sponsorship of Play Soccer, a grassroots soccer program developed by the Ontario Soccer Association that will further grow the sport among youth.

Anselmi added, "Our interest in soccer does not start and stop with our professional team. We're committed to enhancing the present state of the game in Canada by growing the local fanbase and ensuring we're developing programs that get more youth playing soccer, thereby sustaining the future of the world's sport in Canada."

Toronto FC joined Major League Soccer on May 11 as its 13th team and the first outside the United States. Toronto FC will begin play next spring.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization.  With total assets of more than $311 billion as at July 31, 2006, and more than 35,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.  BMO Financial Group serves clients across Canada through its Canadian retail arm, BMO Bank of Montreal and through its wealth management firms BMO Nesbitt Burns, BMO InvestorLine and BMO Harris Private Banking. BMO Capital Markets, our North American investment and corporate banking division, provides a full suite of financial products and services to our North American and international clients. In the United States, BMO serves clients through Chicago-based Harris, an integrated financial services organization that provides more than one million personal and business clients with banking, lending, investing, financial planning, trust administration, portfolio management, family office and wealth transfer services.

About Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) is a privately held corporation that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Toronto Marlies Hockey Club of the American Hockey League (AHL), Toronto FC of Major League Soccer, Air Canada Centre and two digital channels - Leafs TV and Raptors NBA TV.

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BMO Financial Group and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment announced BMO Field as the new name for Canada's only soccer-specific stadium today. BMO CEO Tony Comper (r), MLSE Chairman Larry Tanenbaum (l) and Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston (c) view construction progress. BMO Field will be the home of the new Major League Soccer franchise, Toronto FC, and of Canada's national soccer teams. Toronto, September 20, 2006