...the Ticats’ five-game losing streak and 3-7 record is no longer only a “sports? issue: It is the backdrop to an increasing growl of discontent from season-ticket holders, fans, and even taxpayers with little interest in the Canadian Football League or football.
The Tiger-Cats are the reason local taxpayers are putting $45 million into the construction of a new stadium. Much more is coming from all taxpayers’ pockets for the even larger provincial contribution. For that reason alone, every taxpayer has a vested interest in the fortunes of the team and, indeed, of the league.
Fan support is essential to the team’s survival in an era of unprecedented choice for sports fans and equally unprecedented competition for their disposable income. The last-place seasons of 2005, ’06, ’07 and ’08 were cumulatively disastrous and although fans have come back, there seems little doubt that maintaining all-important ticket sales in the long term depends on team success.
A part of the equation is that wider city support for the Tiger-Cats’ operation was tested through the debacle of 2010 in which the team’s management was widely (and sometimes unfairly) seen as an antagonist in the endless debate over a site for the new stadium, an ordeal in which suggested locations popped up and were beaten down like a Whack-a-Mole game writ large.
The third wobbly leg on this particular stool is that fans are in the dark on where the Ticats will be playing “home? games in 2013 while the new stadium is being built. London, Moncton, Guelph, Buffalo and even the option of an “every-game-a-road-game? have been floated. If club president Scott Mitchell knows what 2013 will look like, he isn’t saying.
Some fans, as evidenced by blog posts and letters to the editor, are feeling taken for granted: that the Ticats are neither giving value for money in game play nor including them in discussions about next year.
This is not the fourth-quarter with minutes to play. This is the start of the second half with time still to win. But the team has to do a better job — on field and off — before fans start heading for the exits. It cannot squander fan support in this last Ivor Wynne season nor take it for granted in the seasons to follow.[url=http://www.thespec.com/opinion/editorial/article/796509--bad-time-for-ticat-free-fall]http://www.thespec.com/opinion/editoria ... -free-fall[/url]