Argos - A Perfect Storm

I've been closely following the saga of the Argos and their sad sack off field existence for the past few decades. Listening to PTS tonight (more later) the idea came to me, are the Argos finally in a perfect storm of events finally going their way, the original Argo bounce as it were.

All evidence points to the right building, the right ownership, the right management (off field and on) and the right team. Is this the year that the Argos (like Ottawa) re-establish themselves as something to see, a place to be and not continue the apathetic existence they've had for the last decade or so.

Listening to PTS and hearing the discussion about the Jays' management and what looks like back peddling on removing the artificial turf for natural turf, the conversation amazingly took an anti-Rogers spin. McCown actually got in a good shot at Arash Madani telling him "I can understand you trying to defend the company you work for" while they were also trashing the new Jays management and praising former GM Alex Anthopolous.

It doesn't look like the Jays will make the same splash next year as they did this year monopolizing the Toronto media scene.

Conditions are ripe for Copeland and Moore to do what Ottawa did, and make the Argos relevant again.

Agree. The Argos are in an all or nothing situation. If they can't make it work this time, they will never make it work.

I wouldn't go that far because people were saying the same thing about the Renegades and that football would never come back in Ottawa if they failed. What I am saying is that this is the first time they are in an "all" excluding the or nothing situation.

The Argos can find their niche, like TFC, and they don't have to convert millions of people in the GTA, just 25k and if the buzz is to be believed they are well on their way. People are starting to believe again and the management is very cognizant of the things Ottawa did to rebuild their fanbase and add new younger fans.

Its not the same Ottawa had been out of the league for years and they got a new stadium etc the issue with Toronto is first of all the mind set we hate the Cfl but the bigger issue is many Toronto fc fans are having fits so while maybe it will be good for the Argos we could see a huge decrease in soccer attendance.

The Toronto Fans are fickle to say the least.
People say that Toronto is a hockey crazy City, well it is NOT a hockey crazy City,
It is a LEAFS crazy City, any other hockey in Toronto couldn't draw flies, nobody cared about the Jays until they won some games and they won't care again, the same for the Raptors and
TFC isn't even worth mentioning!
The NFL was a JOKE and disaster and actually did more damage than good.
The Toronto sports fans don't care about anything except the LEAFS!!!
The Argonauts will have a huge task ahead of them to get their brand accepted again,
A new covered venue will certainly help, tailgating also and the Corporate boxes will certainly help financially.
All the ducks are in order for success except selling it to the fans long term, that will be
the monumental task to overcome. I hope they can, it is crucial to the League


What could make things even worse for Toronto is if the Ontario Liberals get rid of the tax breaks company's get many have said it likely would not impact the Leafs but every other team would be impacted big time.

....Seems that they have a better venue to play in that's for sure...Management and coaching are stable AND so far this off season they and Wpg. seem to be the only clubs not embroiled in any controversy or coaching dilemmas ...Good start for the Argos and Bombers for the upcoming season. :wink:


There is a ton of controversy with the Argos first they were told we need you to leave so we can out grass in now that does not seem to be the case then you have the soccer community that is not one bit happy.

Add Hamilton and Calgary to that list.

Toronto didn’t get a new stadium? That’s news to me. Aside from some TFC followers who have to be distinguished from other soccer supporters, Torontonians don’t hate the CFL, they are apathetic to it, same as Ottawa was. Big difference between hate and apathy.

To those TFC fans who hate the CFL, who cares, they were never going to be fans anyway, while there are likely many more fans of both soccer and the CFL as evidenced by many Voyageurs (followers of the CMNT)

Again, who cares about the small number of the soccer community that are bitching about the Argos going to BMO, that’s not where the Argos fanbase will come from.

And why does it matter what the Jays are doing now, leaving the RC was the best thing that could have happened to the Argos.

....The Steinauer situation in Ham. wasn't exactly what the team wanted and I think there may be fall out from that yet....Calgary has lost Murphy to the Riders and Dickensen replaced Huff..don't know how you can say their situation as remaining status quo.. :roll:...As far as Argos grass situation I don't think that's a team management controversy...unless they're smoking it... :lol:

What happened with steinhauer?
If we're counting every minor coaching change, then Toronto changed DCs, and Winnipeg changed OCs.

I would say that is very little turn over and pretty much stability
Same goes for Hamilton and Calgary.

…Calgary was minor? …losing a top gun in Murphy sounds like a major move to me…So let’s look at other coaching situations…B.C./ major change…Edmonton/major change…Calgary/major change Sask./major change…Ottawa/major change… Montreal/ big coaching controversy… Ham…granted no moves but Steinauers situation/friction from what I heard with heated conversations being reported…T.O. …Stubler brought in after his contract expired…no friction there…Wpg…Lapolices hiring from tsn…certainly no friction there…After all that I’ll stick with my first statement… :wink:

Uhh, the topic is the likelihood of the Argos having a major turnaround not coaching changes around the league, back on topic please or post that topic in the appropriate thread.

It's going to be up to football fans to come out and buy tickets in the off season. Ottawa had sold 17k season tickets/packages before their inaugural season.
Let's hope that it's not going to be just them 5k season ticket holders and the other 9k or so ticket buyers re-locating to BMO. It might not look as bad with 14k in a 25k stadium. They are going to have to triple the number of season ticket holders, the question is will Argo fans that didn't turn up at the Rogers Centre now turn up at BMO?

Rumours are out there that they're sold 10k $50 non refundable season ticket deposits before corporate sales and people knowing where they might sit.

I have read a few times about STH doubling/tripling the season tickets they are buying, although I've no proof that this has translated into reality but the vibes out there seem positive.

Reposting some older articles appropriate to this thread

Q&A with Michael Copeland: Argonauts will ‘create magic’
New Argo president hungry to put game plan in place at BMO Field next season.
Curtis Rush Nov 20 2015

Michael Copeland, 46, is the new president and CEO of the Toronto Argonauts under the new ownership of Bell Canada and the Kilmer Group, which officially assumes control from David Braley at the end of the year and moves to BMO Field, home of Toronto FC, for the 2016 season. “We’re going to create some magic around football in this city,? vows Copeland, who was previously in charge of the CFL’s business operations. “He has incredible knowledge of the league and I think he’ll bring some bright, fresh ideas,? Argos GM Jim Barker said of Copeland, who replaces Chris Rudge. Here is an edited version of our interview with Copeland:

What’s your vision for next season?

We can’t just rely on the stadium itself. This is about changing what it means to be an Argonauts fan. This isn’t going to be a great experience. This is going to be a spectacular experience.

Tell me about your vision for tailgating?

We’re going to create an authentic tailgating experience and we’re going to have that differentiated for families with kids, for young millennials. So you can imagine a traditional tailgate in one area. You can imagine a separate area that’s a family fun zone where kids can throw the football and run around, and parents are in a good environment with their kids. You can think of another high-end corporate hosting area where the corporate community can bring clients. There can also be an experience for the core fan, which will translate right into the stadium.

What’s the model that would best explain your plan?

It’s going to be an Argos experience, but the benchmark that I use is the U.S. college experience. That has a real sense of community.

You’ve been there?

My brother and I have, for the last 20 years, gone down to Ann Arbor and tailgated at the Michigan Wolverines games. You see seniors there with their scarves and their magnets on their Cadillacs. You see little kids there. You see college kids there. You see hardcore football fans there. We think this is a real opportunity to speak to all the people we want to speak to.

How do you compete in a crowded entertainment field?

You’ve got the Leafs and Raptors, but they are sort of more high-end entertainment. You’ve got FC, which is sort of that rough-and-ready young kind of sports fan. You’ve got the Jays, which is more of a relaxed kind of summer experience. This is going to be more of an event, that festival type of event.

You are also challenging old football assumptions such as the need for a coin toss?

Absolutely. I’ve got to be careful with all the coin-toss purists out there, but I think you have to step back and look at everything.

The convert was moved back to 32 yards, something you advocated years ago.

That’s a great example. I remember there was a debate at the board of governors meeting. I was . . . saying, ‘Guys, let’s challenge this. Why does this have to be this way? It’s a bit of a dead point in the game and we can do better.’ It was my first board meeting. Most others were opposed, but over time we realized that this was a great opportunity and I think it proved out.

Is the goal to sell out every game?


What’s going to be capacity?

(It’s) 27,600 for seating with the potential for some standing room on top of that. That’s a great size for us.

The CFL fan represents an older demographic, so how will you address that?

We definitely skew older. We’ve got a great core fan base, but we need to replace that with new fans. There’s going to be an aggressive push to get younger. It’s the 20- to 30-year-olds and developing the next 20- to 30-year-olds that we want.

The CFL has an image problem with some fans considering it minor league, so how will you address that?

The NFL is a great league, and I believe there’s lots of room for every sports fan in Toronto for a wide variety of sports. I believe the answer is in creating an unbelievable experience for our fans.

You say that Toronto FC is a great example.

They’ve done a great job of creating a great fan experience. The focus is less on the fact that a lot of the players also aren’t playing at the highest level of soccer in the world. The fan focus is more on what they’re getting out of being there.

Is it important to make peace with Toronto FC fans?

It absolutely is. I’ve said publicly I’m a TFC fan. I think they deserve to have integrity of their field, integrity of their home stadium. And beyond that, it is good business for me that they’re happy with sharing their home with us.

What’s the latest on ticket prices and seating for next year?

We’re working on developing the final seating map for the football configuration. We hope to have it done in the next few weeks. Once we get that done, we can finalize the ticket pricing. Then people can select their seats for next year. In the interim, we’ve given people the opportunity to put a deposit down ($50) on season tickets at When the season charts and the pricing are finished, we’re going to contact season-ticket holders in order of seniority and they can pick their seats.

What’s your goal for season-ticket sales?

We would like to be close to 20,000, and we think that’s achievable.

In year one?

We’ll see. I’m not going to limit how far we set our sights. If not in year one, then very shortly after that. We expect next year to sell out every game. We’re aiming high.

How many season tickets are there currently?

It’s considerably less than that, but we’re confident.

Good segment relating the once thought unlikely franchise comebacks in Hamilton and Ottawa, attracting new fans and the "lost generations" Also some discussion about whether Toronto can do the same and that sometimes it can be better if younger and newer fans don't have any preconceived notions.

Jeff Hunt talks about the new Toronto leadership (former CFL execs) and how cognizant they are of the steps Ottawa has taken to revive itself from the dead to the hotbed of the CFL.

TSN Drive with Dave Naylor: Hour 1
In hour one of TSN Drive with Dave Naylor and Bruce Arthur the guys are joined by Ottawa Redblacks owner, Jeff Hunt

‘We want every team in the league to hate our guts:’ Toronto Argonauts new boss lays out vision for team
Scott Stinson The National Post Nov. 23, 2015

TORONTO — Michael Copeland is talking enthusiastically about being hated.

The new president and chief executive of the Toronto Argonauts is sitting across a table on the 43rd floor of a Bay Street office tower, and he is describing, with some relish, the prospects of becoming something like the New York Yankees of the Canadian Football League. The big city, the deep pockets, the perennial playoff appearances.

“We want every team in the league to hate our guts,? Copeland says. “That’s good for the league.?

Copeland, who spent 10 years in the front office at the CFL, is well aware of the sinkhole that the Argos had become. While the league flourished in many markets, in large part because of a broadcast deal with TSN of which Copeland was a major part, the Argonauts have become an afterthought in Toronto, hitting a low point in 2015 as they wandered the country in search of a stadium to host games and as outgoing owner David Braley paid for a marketing campaign that appeared mostly confined to word of mouth.

Copeland says that while fixing the Argos was always a priority at the league, where he was most recently president and chief operating officer, he came to realize that change in Toronto couldn’t really be driven from the outside. It had to come from the team.

So, now he gets to try it himself. Copeland has the remarkable good fortune of having the Argos’ greatest problem — the need for a new stadium — solved before he even officially starts the job. The sale of the team to Bell Media and Larry Tanenbaum in the spring included a relocation from the cavernous Rogers Centre to BMO Field, the intimate waterfront stadium used primarily by Toronto FC. The new building, all involved insist, is the key reason for optimism that the Argonauts can be revived in this market where, even as they made the playoffs, they couldn’t crack 18,000 fans for a rare home date in November. Punted down the road to Hamilton while the Blue Jays went deep in the playoffs, the Argos couldn’t rouse 4,000 fans to make the hour-long drive amid a playoff push.

“The cards were stacked against you, operating in the Rogers Centre,? Copeland says, but he adds that moving to BMO Field only means that there is new opportunity for success: “Just opening the doors isn’t going to do it.?

And so, he says, the new owners and new management are going to do all they can to create a passion where one does not currently exist.

“We need to restore pride in the franchise, pride in the brand,? Copeland says. So, yes, there will be marketing, and lots of it. But he also says “the real key is redefining the game experience and what it means to go to an Argos game.? It is probably with some annoyance that CFL fans elsewhere in the country read that Torontonians need some other lure to bring them to see the Argos beyond the fact that a football game is taking place, but in truth people couldn’t be arsed (sic) to go to see the Buffalo Bills play at the Rogers Centre, either. If the Argos are to become a thing again, it is true that it will be the attraction of a full-on event that does it. Copeland says game days at BMO Field will have a major focus on what happens outside the stadium, where there will be something approximating a tailgating section even if it doesn’t include a boozy parking lot. He pictures a “village atmosphere,? he says, where there will be access to beer and food — affordable beer, even — and music and people throwing around footballs and hopefully not too many fights.

Copeland says the opportunity for a game-day party feel is there to attract fans in that large under-40 cohort (sic) who haven’t generally paid the Argonauts any attention.

That demographic does tend to include a lot of Toronto FC fans who, at present, resent the football team’s move to BMO Field because it threatens to chew up the playing surface. Copeland’s response to those worries: “Wait for the first TFC game that follows an Argo game to make any judgement. When you see that it is pristine as it’s always been, I think this issue will go away.?

He’s not worried, either, about questions that might arise about the fact that the Argos are now owned by the league’s official broadcaster, or that the CFL’s second-in-command became the guy running the team. Could you blame someone in the Prairies for wondering if the fix was in?

“If I’m in a position that people are saying the fix is in, then that likely means we’re winning, which means I don’t care,? Copeland says. “Having people across the country, outside the GTA, hate the Argonauts is probably a good thing for us.?

It would definitely beat indifference