Big Surprise; Argos Ticket Sales Down

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A total of seven victories in 2008 and 2009 means the Argos already are struggling in 2010, with not so much as a down being played.

“It’s not easy to sell tickets in this marketplace,? Argos president Bob Nicholson said on Wednesday during a conference call. “A lot of fans are playing wait-and-see.?

Nicholson said season ticket sales are down about 10%, and corporate sponsorship is down 8-9%. The focus, Nicholson said, is on group sales and flex packs, where fans can buy tickets in three- and six-game blocks. The hope is that once fans are drawn in either via groups or the special packs, they will like what they see enough to become season-ticket holders.

It didn’t help the ticket sales department that the Argos underwent a larger overhaul during the winter than any other Canadian Football League team, changing the owner and head coach and starting from scratch at quarterback. The Argos will begin the 2010 regular season with games in Calgary and Winnipeg, and losing both could be disastrous.

Attendance in 2009 dipped to an average of 26,374 from 29,189 the previous year, and it could drop further if the Argos don’t improve on the field. As Nicholson noted, the best marketing plan is a solid football team. But if you have been out and about and noticed more Argos advertising, it’s not a coincidence.

New lease

Part of the philosophy is to be more visible in a city that has dozens of options for the entertainment dollar.

David Braley, who took over ownership from Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon in February, stressed then that there would be no search for another stadium. To that end, the Argos are on the verge of signing a three-year lease with the Rogers Centre that will keep them there through 2012. When asked whether the club would have any interest in a shared stadium with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Nicholson said the option is something that “isn’t on our radar screen.?
Without naming names, Nicholson took a little swipe at Cynamon and Sokolowski, who investigated the idea of moving to what would have been a cramped playing surface at BMO Field before giving up the ownership ghost three months ago.

“David Braley exudes passion and has a long-term view,? Nicholson said. “In the past, too many owners thought it could be done with a quick fix and that has never been the case.

“We have to rebuild with the new owner in place. The long-range look is that when you’re in the entertainment business, it’s all about having an entertaining product. We have to develop and maintain a core of players to build around.?

On the subject of former Dr. Anthony Galea, who had been the Argos’ team doctor until resigning this year, Nicholson would not comment. Galea has been charged with several drug-related offences and last week a criminal complaint filed in U.S. court stated that Galea often travelled to the U.S. to illegally administer drugs to professional athletes.

You know, I know we rag on Toronto a lot here, but come on. The fans flock to the Leafs even though they haven't made the playoffs in four seasons, yet when the Argos have a couple bad seasons, the team is on the verge of collapse.

I'm sorry to say it, but the majority of Toronto sports fans aren't real sports fans.

the rest of us knew this long ago.

bluejays get 10,000 to games.
raptors don't sell-out.
argos average 26,000
TFC only get 25,000 watching on TV.

The organization isn't surprised that season tickets are down, and they shouldn't be. Let's face, this team has been rotten the last 2 seasons. The only bright spot, our Running Back, is gone and there is no proven CFL quarterback signed.
Having said that, on the other side of the coin, I say as far as 2010 is concerned, "Bring it". There is potential for a competitive team here. It might be a bit of a wild ride, but buckle up Argo fans, and hang on. I'm looking forward to this.
Of course, it could also be a train wreck. Let's hope not.

Let me explain it to you with numbers to back it up.

When a team loses or trends down their attendance goes down Toronto -9%, BC -16%, Winnipeg -7.5% and when they win or improve it goes up Calgary 12.2%, Hamilton 8.4%, Saskatchewan 2%
and finally when their stadium is too small Montreal or thread water Edmonton they stay the same 0.6%.

Edmonton Eskimos 9 334,479 37,164 62.4% 37,379 -0.6% 9
Calgary Stampeders 9 328,516 36,502 102.4% 32,523 12.2% 9
Saskatchewan Roughriders 9 275,453 30,606 106.3% 29,996 2.0% 9
British Columbia Lions 9 257,494 28,610 48.3% 34,083 -16.1% 9
Toronto Argonauts 9 237,368 26,374 59.0% 29,189 -9.6% 9
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 9 202,784 22,532 76.1% 20,785 8.4% 9
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 9 201,947 22,439 75.9% 24,245 -7.5% 9
Montreal Alouettes (a) 9 181,818 20,202 100.0% 20,202 ---- 9
TOTALS 72 2,019,859 28,054 78.8% 28,550 -1.7% 72

At least if your gonna knock a group of people have something to back it up. Toronto football fans are every bit as good as Edmonton fans. If the Eskimos won 7 games in two seasons attendance would probably be down even more than 9 percent.

New Argos Marketing Slogan:


Plenty of good seats available if team gets hot :thup: [/b]

It won't happen overnight but Braley should really help the Argonauts in the long run, while C & S were good guys, they didn't have a clue what running a pro sports franchise was about I don't think and Braley will cut to the chase quickly when the need arises.

I still remember when I was in Toronto for the Grey Cup that people were more focused on how bad the Leafs were than the Grey Cup being in town! That is pathetic, but that's how many in Toronto are. The Leafs are cool, the Argos are not.
While Toronto may not have the worst fans, they certainly have some weird ones!

The Leafs are cool, the Argos are not

The Leafs are what the masses consume, like hot dogs, because big brother tells them that's what they should eat. The Argos have fans that are able to cut through what big brother tells them they should do and they act on their own and create their very own "coolness" factor that is so much sweeter than the Leafs IMHO.

Argos have the Leafs beat in so many ways but it is difficult to see this for the average person out there.

Leafs are like a concert at big stadium where you don't get anywhere near the band while the Argos are like a concert in a small club with a great feel to it where afterwards you can mingle with the band members and chat. They won't have the big songs played on the radio much and that so people think you're weird listening to some alt type music but weird is just so cool. :wink:

Put on the field a decent product and they will come.
I almost couldn't watch argo games on tv last year, let alone be expected to pay to watch that team.
With serious ownership, a good coach (he's also pretty much the GM) and a competitive team attendance will go back up.

As for the Toronto market, it's not easy to sell tickets because it's a lousy sports city. Everybody knows that. Doesn't mean it's a good or bad city, but it's not that great of a sports city.

Argos still have a core of 25 000 fans. That alone is a good enough foundation to support a CFL team and Braley needs to get Pinball to do what Bobby Ackles did and get some influential people in Toronto to start something similar to "The Waterboys" in BC. If Pinball won't do it find someone who can and put a winning team on the field and there is no problem in getting 45 000 fans for the Argos.

Was writing pretty much the same thing while you posted this. Its not the fans... :thup:

You see, this is what Argo fans are like, and a lot of us CFL fans. I went to a concert at a small club in Toronto last week called the Mod Club and saw a folk acoustic band from England called Turin Brakes which have been around for a while but which few people have heard, but they are wicked. There were probably about 50 people at most at the club, it was neat though. Now here's part of a review writeup and man does it sound like us CFL fans which is a big compliment I think:

I couldn’t help but be impressed with the show. The fans that were at the show were real fans. This wasn’t a show where random people who were curious in this band attended. This is a show where the real fans showed up and the band knew that. It led to a pretty relaxed and intimate vibe that was only helped by the the band’s casual approach and funny anecdotes. Sitting on stools with acoustic guitar, a real bass and sometimes a drum machine, the band played a 90 minute set that included all the hits including the songs mentioned above, Long Distance and the OC song Summer Rain. There’s something to be said about seeing a veteran band at work, one that has played their share of festivals and big concerts. Turin Brakes just had great confidence and comfort level on stage. I think for newer bands, a nearly empty crowd at a place like the Mod Club might be discouraging. Not Turin Brakes, noticing the crowd was pretty fa away, the band decided to sing the next song unplugged, forcing all the crowd to gather round. Needless to say, once they were there at the front, they did not leave. Classy.

i agree....i couldnt stomach to watch argo games on TV last season. i watched every CFL game except argo games, cuz it wasnt worth spending summer days inside to watch that double blue fiasco.

So by my math, the Argos sell more tickets than TFC, Jays & Raptors... Smells like success to me... Even when things are down, the Boatmen are doing better than most. Just as long as we don't start seeing early 1990's attendance numbers again, things will be ok!

I think as long as we get at least 23-25k per game we'll be fine. More for Hamilton and Montreal games, probably Sask as well. I dont think we'll ever see 2003 type crowds (depressing!) but dont expect 30k either. 25 seems reasonable.

Barker makes a good point about alot of fans taking the wait-and-see approach.

i know i want to go to the argos home opener, but im holding off on buying tickets to see how they do in their first 2 point in paying for tickets and driving 2+ hours to Toronto, if they are gonna suck like last year.

the argos have too many question marks they need to answer before i pay to see them.

I would like to go see a few ticats games this year, but my schedule is pretty crappy and can probably only get to the labour-day classic.

As a long time season ticket holder, I can definitely say from first hand knowledge how the people around me in my Section of the dome are very restless.
I don’t know how many “faithfull” have renewed but I would not be surprised to see many empty seats.
My guess is the team will be lucky to average more between 20,000-22,000 and this number will shrink considerably if the team gets off to a horrible start like the previous two years.

i dont know if the folks of Toronto will get the games on TV or not... Braily is talkin blackouts...

The Argos were so bad, they even sucked the life right out of good teams that came to visit...