3) The novelty appears to be gone
The Toronto faithful will bristle at this, but the attendance for Tuesday night’s game was far from ideal.
As Steven Caldwell mentioned on the TSN broadcast, it seemed like no one was there. It is hard not to wonder if this is yet another reason that TFC’s home advantage in Champions League play is never as good as their opponents.
To be fair, all MLS teams are at a bit of a disadvantage in this regard. With the 2018 change in format to the Champions League, MLS teams don’t play a game in the tournament until February, when most of the United States and Canada is deep in winter. And yes, the -10 temperature at kickoff could not have helped.
Still, the fan reaction on Tuesday night felt different. When TFC catapulted its trio of Bradley-Altidore-Giovinco into the city’s mainstream, the average attendance increased each and every year, culminating in the 2017 MLS championship. That attendance dropped last year, as Toronto FC struggled out of the gate in their title defence.
It’s possible that in a sports market with a truly competitive hockey team, and a new-look Raptors squad, that fans don’t have enough financial excess to go around. TFC’s championship is still fresh in the minds of many, and with so many (seemingly) other title runs gearing up, the squad may become an afterthought.