Shoddy on-field product looks to be finally having an effect:
"Though the Ticats drew 28,198 to their home opener against Toronto last week, a crowd of between 22,000 and 24,000 is expected for Montreal this Saturday, which is several thousand below the norm since Young has owned the team.
Young built his organization to be bulletproof to the inevitability of a few down years in the standings. But the Ticats are testing the theory that a team can keep its fans loyal without winning."
The attendance drop off doesn't surprise me the least bit. My grandfather an I were talking about how we could very well see the attendance figures go back down to around 15,000. Although it is much more comfortable for myself (I am slightly clausterophobic), I would much rather see people packing the stadium to see a winning Ticat team. Regardless of play I will be there on Saturday, and every other home game, I schedule everything AROUND football.
Personally, the bandwagon type fans can stay home all they want, like Miller, I schedule everything around football and the TiCats home games, winning or losing team. And you know, going to Blue Jays games in the early '90's when the stadium was packed also didn't do that much for me knowing a large percentage were bandwagoners. When I went to a game a couple of years ago with about 18,000, I actually enjoyed the atmosphere more. Ok, I know management doesn't want to hear these things but from a true fans perspective, some of what I'm saying above as well as others saying this does make some sense really.
I completely agree Earl, the atmosphere in Ivor Wynne has changed so dramatically since the Bob Young era started. Don't get me wrong, without Bob we wouldn't have a team so I of course thank him, however the new fans don't bring emotion. My grandfather, my friend and myself were all screaming at the top of our lungs for the defence series in series out and the guy in front of us actually moved because he couldn't deal with the noise. I just wanted to point out that when one enters the pearly gates of Ivor Wynne one should expect to hear a lot of screaming from fans. Naw, really? Yelling fans in football? Fans cheering on their team in football? Why no silence? Many of times I have been looked at strangely since the Bob Young era for the amount of cheering I do (as well as my grandfather) however back in the years of low attendance nobody cared, they were all too busy screaming themselves.
Oh, one other thing, a lot of the new fans have no clue about CFL football or the rules...for the last time the Ticats won the championship question, a kid on his cell-phone texted in for the question.
It was "When was the last time the Tiger-Cats won the Grey Cup"
Number one, it was sad enough that they didn't know this.
Number two, his mother said it was A.
Number three, I actually turned around (not wanting this kid to waste 75 or so cents with the wrong answer) and told them it was 99...and they said "really?"
That's a shame Miller what you are saying about people not knowing this basic information. Of course if there was a sheet of ice and hockey puck involved, every last kid would know every tidbit Mr. Puckshinevoff or whoever from Ruskie and how many goals they got in midget hockey in the Siberian kids league.
Let's not be too snobbish about new fans coming into the building. The fact of there being nearly 30,000 people coming out to games means that there is going to be an element of churn.
Plus, it can be argued that the fact that many teens and 20-somethings don't know a great deal about the game is the fault of the CFL---not the fans. At least they're there. I think this is changing and the next crop of fans will be more educated.
And it's pretty hard to call any Cat fans 'bandwagon' fans---we haven't won anything in recent memory. That 10 year old who saw the Cats win the Grey Cup is on his way to university by now. Pretty sad in a 8-9 team league.
So, other than the Leafs, you'd be hard pressed to find a more enduring fan base--and/or better marketers.
Let's also not forget that a crowd of 24,000 in the pre-Bob era would have been called "Labour Day".
The "weakened" atmosphere can be attributed to a few things. First, and foremost, brutal football. Even the drunken fans in Buffalo settle down when their teams 3 touchdowns behind.
Secondly, a shift in brand positioning to be a bit more family friendly. Cleaning up the stadium has, unfortunately, quieted the crowd a tad. Arguably, it's helped eliminate some of the barriers for some people coming down to the game.
And, related to number two, the "newer" fans are likely younger and/or parents with kids. A little less likely to tear a strip off of a game official over a blown call (....however, this is Hamilton, and I figure if the game was in reach, Papa and junior would both be willing participators in a verbal assault of someone on-field.)
Regardless, I think all we need are a couple competitive games and even an iota of a chance at not finishing last and the passion will be back in the seats.
Good read slodrive and points well taken. I agree that a full stadium, any way you look at it, is better than a not full stadium. But it doesn't follow, necessarily, that a full stadium means more excitement all the time. I'm sure you agree with that.
I personally like the cleaner washrooms and that though, so please TiCats, keep the cleaning up, me likes, reminds me to do some house cleaning at home though.
But we can't keep losing by 25 or more points every game, no way, or else, well, who knows.
You make some good points slodrive. When the Ticats won that grey cup I was 8. I've been a die-hard my entire life, but I was raised that way. You're right about the younger crowds though. There is nothing to draw them into the CFL (Ricky Williams brought a hell of a lot of attention last year though). A lot of people think the NFL is the only professional football league in North America and that the CFL is the NFL's "Farm League". They don't recognize that the CFL is an individual league of exciting football. I'm a fan of football in general and it pains me to see people my age note that the CFL is not football. Something does have to be done, or else there will soon be no fans. Just educate the fans more, have a "CFL Basics & Introduction" presentation in each CFL city every year for new fans. It might help.
I'm pretty sure that they are human beings, some of them are my friends. I've never understood why everything has to be American either. I'm a proud Canadian who enjoys having America as what they are, our allies to the South, not our leaders.
The NFL is just more advertised and that's where all the drama is, most kids get hooked into that. I love CFL football and I don't understand why people don't love the game. I doubt they have watched more than one quarter and that one quarter probably included the Ticats. (Haha)
Miller, you have to understand that only the smartest and brightest people like the CFL as we are able to cut through all the big-time glitz of bigger-time leagues and appreciate the CFL for what it is. Most people out there from what I've noticed can't hold a candle to the intelligence that us CFL fans have. Agree?
Hey, I bet that Kobayoshi (sp ?) or that guy that beat him eating 66 hotdogs in 12 minutes, will get better ratings than, well, the Super Bowl I bet.
Tells you something about mankind, the not-so-good stuff about mankind that is.
The business bottom line is this, no matter what sport your talking (the only exception in Canada being the Maple Leafs in Toronto), a losing team eventually attracts a losing crowd. When the wins drop, so does the attendance. I'm not a die hard football fan; however believe in supporting your community and do try to make several of the ti-cats games throughout the season. When their winning and causing excitement throughout the city, I'll attend 5-6 games. Losing and making as much noise as the Link protestors, 1-2 games. P.S. the trade losing Flick really paid off.
I can't believe that anyone would bash newcomers to the stadium, or accept the inference that their cheering is somehow less desirable. This kind of talk seems to imply that there is only one way of being a fan -- a "true fan" -- and that is by having memorized CFL rule book revisions and team rosters from eternity (or at least the 1950s).
Often on this site people blame the organization, past and present, for losing fans. There is a lot of truth in the suggestion that TV blackouts and minimal investment in the team or league hurt, but surely the diehards have to question their own role. Who made the stadium unfriendly to kids? Who decided that the Hamilton way was to spit, throw batteries, and swear at visiting teams or officials? Who decided it was a good idea to drink to the point of incoherence, or that it was impossible to hit a urinal with roughly 4.5 feet of surface area?
If a new generation of fans is coming for the first time, and if you want them to keep supporting our team, then you need to welcome them. What are YOU doing to teach them the game in a way that they will be excited about it, rather than feeling excluded or embarrassed at their lack of knowledge? What are you doing to reveal the skill on all teams (not just the Ticats), so that even a loss can be appreciated if you have witnessed the greatness of a Stegall or Dickenson? I’ve brought over twenty different newcomers to games over the last three years; three are now season ticket holders. It was the inviting atmosphere in our part of section 7 that helped to make the game experience enjoyable as much as the product on the field. The team is never going to go undefeated. If season ticket holders can’t find a way to make a day in the park enjoyable, why would anyone new make that effort to join our ranks?
I agree with a couple of posters above – jets whizzing past, cheesy contests, hyped-up announcers, and more toppings for the hot dogs are utterly meaningless when the real reason we come to Ivor Wynne – the football team – is in a shambles.