Argos want what TFC has (Article)

Great article here from Steve Simmons(Argos Season ticket holder)

SOME SNIPPETS

During a week in which they play a game with first place on the line, how do you get anyone interested in something they’ve lost interest in over time?

This is the continuing challenge for the Argos, with a wonderful new stadium, a progressive new coach, a new general manager, a deep history, and progressive ownership. This is a challenge of monumental proportions in a sporting city that has always been about ‘the cool place to be’

The CFL is to football what MLS is to soccer. It’s not the big time but it’s the biggest time we have around here. It’s not the NFL or the Premier League. It’s closer to Off-Broadway than on, with absolute differences.
TFC is a hot ticket in Toronto, a front page story, a great day out, a memorable crowd, an average attendance of more than 27,000 per game: And a team this close to winning the first championship for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, their rich conglomerate owner.

The Argos are an easy ticket — you want one, you want five, no problem. One side of BMO Field is close to full for Argo home games, the other close to empty. And this is the same stadium that vibrates and shakes during TFC games, the Argos in need of good vibrations.
The average regular-season crowd for Argos games this season was less than 14,000, or just over half the TFC audience.
And this is where life gets even more confusing.

The Argos want to build what TFC already has — an enthused fan base, an atmosphere inside the stadium and out, a star-based, engaged audience: This is what sport is supposed to feel like.
And TFC wants to build what the Argos already have — a television audience they would kill for on TSN. TFC averaged 94,000 a game on TV across Canada for its regular-season matches this season. No doubt that number will climb for the playoffs — and it is already up from the 59,000 numbers of a year ago. So TV numbers are up more than 60%. That’s good.

The Argos are doing about 473,000 a game on TV. That is the rub here. They draw less than half what TFC does in the same stadium and yet they do almost five times the television audience. In Southern Ontario alone, the Argos have 60% more viewers than TFC. People who won’t go to Argos games will watch them on television. People will go to TFC games, but won’t watch them on TV — until playoff time.

The Argos want to build what TFC already has — an enthused fan base, an atmosphere inside the stadium and out, a star-based, engaged audience: This is what sport is supposed to feel like.
And TFC wants to build what the Argos already have — a television audience they would kill for on TSN. TFC averaged 94,000 a game on TV across Canada for its regular-season matches this season. No doubt that number will climb for the playoffs — and it is already up from the 59,000 numbers of a year ago. So TV numbers are up more than 60%. That’s good.

The Argos are doing about 473,000 a game on TV. That is the rub here. They draw less than half what TFC does in the same stadium and yet they do almost five times the television audience. In Southern Ontario alone, the Argos have 60% more viewers than TFC. People who won’t go to Argos games will watch them on television. People will go to TFC games, but won’t watch them on TV — until playoff time.

MUCH MORE HERE

Good and balanced article in my view.

As I mentioned on the Argofans forum, both teams are poised to hopefully long playoff runs. But unfortunately for the Argos, the comparisons between the two teams will over shadow any on field success.

Hopefully with the overlap in ownership, the Argo brand can learn and apply some things that work for TFC but I think we have a thread or two for that already.

Overall, the Argos early days in BMO are coinciding with what appears to be a golden era with TFC. Similar to the Argos early days in SkyDome occurring during the Jays glory years. So hopefully the team can just focus on making their organization better and not be concerned about anything they can't control.

I don't agree with the decision to move this post to the Other Leagues and Sports forum. it's clearly at least as much about the Argos as it is about TFC.

Unfortunately, it's largely about TFC too. And threads comparing MLS, MLB, NFL, etc to CFL tend to spiral into trolling when in the CFL Talk section. Here, all sports are fair game and discussion thus tends to stay more on topic.

TFC may be popular inside the GTA, but not so popular outside of it... that is why the Argos get the TV audience, because more Canadians will watch CFL over MLS... TSN & Sportsnet make that look deceptive because of the coverage TFC receives on those networks, but you don't hear much about Vancouver or Montreal. The "Center of the Universe" dynamic is at play here, lots of fans are sick of hearing about Toronto's MLS team, and to a degree the Raptors as well. The Argos have that "underdog" appeal across Canada, and many CFL fans feel for the Argos, that they don't get the attendance they truly deserve

Can't disagree with you one bit Sambo. BTW, how are you old buddy ?.....Of the 30-40 close friends that I grew up with in Toronto and all of those who used to follow the CFL, only ONE was still living in the GTA and he died last August. All the rest of us eventually moved away so it was very hard to get to games. I'm 75 miles away, that makes for a long round trip to see the Argos. In fact, it's easier to get to Hamilton for a Cat game a hundred miles away. I knew of at least 15 guys who were devote followers of the CFL. All live 70-130 miles away from Tor now. Do we all watch games on TV ? You betcha ya. The guys who go to TFC games most likely live within a TTC ride away. The exodus of Argo fans started a while ago.... I'm a Bomber fan BTW but I used to have STs to EX stadium and Skydump just to support the CFL. Can't do that now. Congestion is a major factor getting to a game.

Good thread Grover, no matter where it is !

It's funny that the article will be interpreted as how bad the Argos are doing, but not how much TFC viewership sucks on TV. I think it will be easier to fix the Argos problem rather than TFC's issue. The Argos has proven this year people will go if the tickets are priced correctly. The crowd was really really big, but above average when they had a family deal. People are shocked when they hear my season tickets are $100 a ticket. I don't even pay that for the premium game in Hamilton.
Cut ticket prices in half and you'll get another 5000-7000 per game.

TFC is great right now and there is a novelty to their winning. Let's wait until the bloom comes off the rose and we'll see how much enthusiasm there is.

You may be right but I can only interpret the Argo side because until a little while ago I did not know TFC was a regular TV item. Never watch it, never will.

Good article but same theme sort of thing. All I know for myself is I can't watch soccer on TV for more than a couple of minutes regardless of who is playing, doesn't work for me.

CFL, NFL, CIS, NCAA even high school gridiron football works for me, really enjoy watching this form of football.

I know the young people and people that get soccer as entertainment love going to soccer games to get into that soccer friendly fan culture with holding arms and swaying and all that and singing, good for them and I'm glad for them to have their fun. Not my thing. I know, I've said that a million times on this board. :wink:

I think this part of the article makes a key point too - which in some ways fits what Dan was saying.

A Toronto FC crowd looks like the city. It’s white and black and brown and Asian and young and old and diverse and not just a male audience. They’re all dressed up in scarves and colours and it’s part game, part event, part celebration — and that’s when sport is seemingly at its best. An Argos crowd doesn’t look much like a subway ride in Toronto. The diversity comes more from the players than it does from the crowd.
One of the comments following the story picks up on that point. - but the Argos are going to have to try to make BMO Field work somehow because I can't see a stadium being built elsewhere anytime soon.
Downtown Toronto just isn't the CFL's demographic. No matter how badly they wish it was, it likely never will be. Instead of creating buzz and building their fanbase, as they naively hoped, moving to BMO has just put a spotlight on the Argos' problems.

The Argos should embrace their fanbase and demographic and build an appropriate sized stadium in a suburb/borough of Toronto, rather than desparately trying to fit in downtown where they simply do not.


If TFC's popularity continues to grow and as part of the 2026 World Cup bid plans are made to add permanent seating to the north end of BMO Field - similar to the temporary seats they added for the Leafs game there New Years Day - that may spur a new stadium for the Argos?

Agreed. This conversation is essential and SO relevant to the CFL and particularly the Argos situation.

Thats a 'wait until they suck like us' approach. Brutal.

The TFC and MLS in Canada is going to grow and grow because soccer fans are passionate about soccer. The CFL dwindles in Toronto because Toronto keeps fantasizing that they are an American city. Plus with the marketing bombardment of the NFL it is easier and cheaper to appear to be a football fan - than actually participating in the CFL we have here.

Re : "The TFC and MLS in Canada is going to grow and grow because soccer fans are passionate about soccer."

Even TFC fans have said that not too long ago the seats were empty so we'll see.

[b]Iconic SR wrote:[/b] The TFC and MLS in Canada is going to grow and grow because soccer fans are passionate about soccer. The CFL dwindles in Toronto because Toronto keeps fantasizing that they are an American city. Plus with the marketing bombardment of the NFL it is easier and cheaper to appear to be a football fan - than actually participating in the CFL we have here.
Well, soccer will grow but the MLS in terms of adding more teams in Canada with the pricepoint now of expansion MLS teams? I doubt that. Sure the 3 existing teams will pick up fans especially if one of them wins the MLS championship but just 3 teams in just 3 cities anyway you cut it.

Agree, to be an NFL fan is cheap where you can buy a jersey and be in "with the majors" and go meet your buddies in the bars to watch NFL football, often cheaper beers and wing deals etc. That culture is big time in Canada no question. A lot of people will do this rather than spend money on a CFL ticket and I don't think this is strictly a Toronto thing. And of course with Buffalo so close to Toronto and Vancouver so close to Seattle, a lot of the football fans are going to Buffalo and Vancouver, again as I say to with and see "the majors", the NFL. But watching NFL football in bars is or really has become part of the Canadian NFL/football culture, it's big stuff and I bet one of the reasons some bars actually are able to stay in business.

It will be tough for the Argos no question, in terms of putting bums in the seats and they have a real nice football specific stadium so no need for them to have a stadium. That would be nutso of anyone to think about building. The Argos though are part of the advertising for the CFL with TSN and that money, as Ted Rogers alluded to about the Blue Jays way back (I've posted this MacLeans article a few times) when the Blue Jays were a big money loser for Rogers, is just part of doing business for Bell who is a major owner of the Argos. And yes, with Bell owning the Argos, the NFL likes that, Bell airs a lot of NFL games, a major telecaster of the NFL, so at some point if there is an opening for an NFL team in Toronto, Bell is now the frontrunner for that team. Make no mistake, Bell, the NFL/CFL, the Argos are closely linked as a Toronto thingy.

TFC and MLS is basically has only a niche following in each city, with the people attending being the extent of the following.
Since the TV numbers are so abysmal, I say they have no growth potential.
Unlike the Argos who have quite a TV following in the league which has Canada wide following.
There is no comparison between the two, so why don't we just ignore it.
Simmons is a troll when it comes to the Argos and CFL, as it is all virtually negative reporting.

I think it'd be silly to ignore that TFC has developed what the Argos want to develop at BMO. Similarly, it would be foolish for TFC to ignore what the Argos have on TV.

Maybe the Argos bottom line is fine with 13,000 fans at the games (but probably not). Even so, wouldn't it be better (and actually totally awesome), to have 26,000 loud fans at each game?

Perhaps TFC has no growth potential, but that's beside the point in regards to what the Argos could and should be learning from their live draw.

That's fair.

Absolutely the Argos would love to have the in stadium support TFC has. Hopefully eventually they will get there or at least close to it with crowds in the 20,000+ range routinely..

As for growth potential for TFC - it would be hard to argue that they don't have more growth potential especially in that very multicultural city.

When you consider in the very short history of the team they've expanded the stadium twice and are now selling out many games in a stadium that is 50% larger than what they started out in just 10 years ago - there is no reason to think they've peaked.

The last couple of seasons drawing more per game than not only the Argos but more than the CFL's overall average. (27,647 vs. 24,643). And that is with about twice as many home games to sell tickets for too.