Coach Berry wants more Bombers fans at Games

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Doug Berry wants you.

The head coach of the Blue Bombers doesn't see why Winnipeg football fans can't fill 30,000 seats on a regular basis.

"The fans we have are great fans," Berry said in a wide-ranging interview with the Sun yesterday. "It's my goal to try and get more of them. I'm used to Montreal having sellouts all the time. And I understand Montreal is a city of millions and sitting in a 20,000-seat facility. But even when we played at the Big-O, we'd be putting in 55,000 over there."

The former Alouettes assistant coach says he was surprised the Bombers didn't sell out a single game this year, even after winning three of their first four games, and five of seven.

"Yeah, I was. But being where the team had been coming from the last couple of years, I know it's not going to happen overnight," he said. "And I guess I didn't understand the pull of the cottages."

That said, Berry has been taken by the passion of local fans, something he recalls from his days visiting with the Als, when he'd be pelted by frozen snowballs on the sideline.

That same passion shows up whenever Berry is out in the community.

No privacy

"If I'm out in public, I don't have any privacy," he said. "That's totally new. And I don't mind it. That's something I know comes with the territory. I understand they want to be just as tight as they can. And here's a chance to get it right from the horse's mouth."

Berry found himself in the football saddle for five straight hours when he showed up at Touchdown Manitoba, a social for Bomber fans, at the Convention Centre Grey Cup week.

"I went in there right at 1 p.m., and I was the last one out. I don't think I was free for 10 seconds. People coming over, wanting to talk, wanting to get a picture or an autograph. It was, like, for five hours, identifying with the fans. It was absolutely great."

All the feedback, he says, has been positive.

Now he'd like to get more of them out to the stadium.

"When we play in front of 30,000 here, we know it," Berry said. "It's noticeably different on the field. I know people want to get on bandwagons ... it's going to be our motivation to make it something people want to buy."

didnt the bombers had 2 games this past season, where they were over normal capacity and woulda have been a sell-out, if not for the temp. grey cup seating.

they had over 30K for hosting the riders and stamps.

I will probably get a few people who will take exception to this, but in order for the Bombers to attract more fans they need to look at the formula for success that Edmonton has utilized. The similarities between Winnipeg and Edmonton make it a natural to compare reasons for success. Both cities are blue collar, climate challenged and are similar in size, and both teams are community owned.

For Winnipeg to enjoy the success Edmonton has in terms of attendance, you need to:

  1. Put a quality product on the field, even during losing seasons the teams must have a committment to be entertaining,

  2. Be Community involved as well as community owned. Dating back to the 50's the tradition has been that the Eskimos have been part of the overall fabric of the city and most of the stars have lived in and remain part of the community. In short the Bombers need more Milt Stegalls.

  3. Develope and demand respect for tradition, the Bombers teams of the early 60's had this and IMO lost that Bomber tradition to an extent somewhere along the way.

  4. Create an environment where Canad Stadium is considered a place to be, an almost collegiate attitude that attending Bomber games is where it is at.

Just my 2 cents.

good post

Good post CFLeskfan,

Can I add to the list?

(5) Give out free cans of Mosquito reppellant! :lol: :lol: :lol:

I dont think that getting more fans would be possible with the stadium that they have now.
Sure they can get a sell out once in a while, but for those of you who have ever went to a Bomber game, the stadium sucks.
I hate it.
why... because you miss a large portion of the game.
As I said befor, they closed off the upper entrance way to the bathroom and consessions so what that created is hundreds of people walking up and down the stairs non stop durring the game blocking the view of the fans.
In addition, that creats a long walk to and from the bathrooom/consessions and each time you leave your seat you miss a big chunk of the game.
The seating is extremly cramp and I hate the fact that my head is between the guys legs behind me, and there is a head from the guy sitting in front of me between my legs.
When I pay $50 a ticket I want to actually enjoy the game. In becomes very frustrating missing a touchdown when all I can see are fans walking past me.
I am more than willing to attend a live game, but not at that stadium and I am a CFL fan.
True I would like to see myself and more Bomber fans attend games but now when I am tripping over everyon.

i agree...a new stadium that holds 35K would prolly be packed, just cuz more bomber fans would enjoy the venue.

alot of fans are turned of by the dump they play in now, even tho they love the team.

i think the same goes for hamilton.

Bombers definitely need a new stadium

...BeerBarons has it right...Wpg. fans need a new facility....they would have no problem drawing 30,000 a game if the facility....was located properly....and built to suit the climate....The fans need to have an up-to-date game experience...not an out-dated venue where you struggle to enjoy the game viewing-wise...and then have intolerable washroom facilities to go along with it....Winnipegers are finding it increasingly hard to shell out the dollars to attend a football game in the stadiums present condition....Berry is doing a heluva' job putting together a very viable on-field product.... it sure would help if they had a viable venue to display it....... :wink: :rockin:

I feel the presend location would be the best place for a new stadium. Polo Park is a great central location.
When the should do is tear down and build the new stadium in portions right at the same field. Higher end zones to block the wind plus a larger canopy to block the rain.
I myself preffer a indoor stadium although others may object to it.
I would like to see a stadium simular to the Alerus Center or the Fargo Dome only bigger.

A new stadium anywhere would be a plus but it is a chicken vs egg scenario. The best way to generate the revenue and need for a larger/better venue is to fill or outgrow the old one. There are still times I miss the old days at Clarke Stadium in Edmonton, particularly on those very cold days when you could fit another 3 or 4 people on the old bench type bleachers because everybody would cuddle close to keep warm. Makes your choice of who you sit beside a little more important. Will never miss the trough urinals though.

be very carefull beerbarons .. that is sounding awfully Ottawon'ian of you .. Despite the facility showing its age, it has been a functional facility to hold a football game for quite some time .. Support the team, Supoort the team, Support the team .. attend the games. start a petition, an email thread, a campaign, raise money, or whatever - but dont show your displeasure by not attending.

I think our friends in Ottawa may finally see the point I was trying to make to them not even 3 seasons ago when I said the exact same thing ...

Unfortunately, we are in a situation that is a little reverse from the 'build it and they will come' .. its more of a 'come, and eventually, they'll build it'

nothing supports your team more than $ and butts in seats.


Following up statiks comments.

Empire Stadium = hard cold benches. Pidgeon poop raining down on you. Cockroaches in the urinals. We finally got rewarded with BC Place.

Come out and support the team. Eventually new facillities can be had for all to enjoy.

Ditto for me, a brand new 40,000 seat dome stadium.

StatiK76 I still do support the team and buy tickets to see the blue, but I buy tickets in the endzone now.
My rant about the stadium is a different possition than the fans of Ottawa.
Ottawa does not have the problems that our stadium has.
True, the stadium was great and held its own for a long time until they put in those chairs. Now it is not only cramped but it is also a safety issue.
I loved the stadium before the chairs.
Befor the chairs there was lots of room plus the upper consessions and bathroom were open to everyone and less people were walking up and down the stairs non stop.
Think about this. Winnipeg stadium used to hold 33 000 people for a game. When they added those chairs the capacity dropped to 29500. Those chairs are taking up so much space you can not be confortable.
I am not a big guy and I am cramped.
So many people share the same complaint as I do.
How many times do people trip over each other?
Do I support the Blue, of course I do.
I drive to Sask every year to see them play at Taylor feild too.
But I will not sit in the East or West grandstand at CanadaInns Stadium.
Give me end zone tickets and I am happy.
In closing, Winnipeg stadium is a safety issue and I do not want drunk people climbing all over me when I am trying to watch a football game.

BeerBarons, you have hit the nail.
Our stadium has always had problems. It's only since the 'improvements' have been made that the problems have multiplied to the point that going to games is not fun anymore.

One point you missed though - when a person has to sqeeze past to get to a seat I hate having that person's butt pressed up against me.

The seating was not designed to accomodate those plastic seats. With the bleachers there was plenty of room to sit, stand and party. The Pan-Am Games were great, but do we have to be punished by those seats for enjoying the Games?

I cant believe what I am reading. BeerBaron, your original message says the exact opposite of your claim that you apparently DO go to the games now.

I am more than willing to attend a live game, [b]but not at that stadium[/b] and I am a CFL fan. True I would like to see myself and more Bomber fans attend games but now when I am tripping over everyone.
The Bomber field is a safety issue?! oh christ - now i've heard it all .. A SAFETY ISSUE?!?! You sound just like a whiny panty wearing Ottawa fan. give me a break .. its a goshdarn seat in an older stadium! People complained about the benches before their were seats .. Now there is seats, and people want the benches back .. Who cares!!

give me a break. Have you ever been to other sporting events? stadium/arena chairs are not made by Lazyboy .. I have yet to be to a venue where the seats provide so much space that your drunken neighbour can get by easily. NOT ONE.

that is easily the whiny'est post i have ever read.

the seats aren't comfortable enough?! people bump into you? some people trip over themselves ... its a safety issue?! christ .. i take my words back .. stay home and watch that game with the rest of your royal family and friends.


....each to their own I suppose.....

…RedW…you shouldn’t do that to the faint of heart//////////what a bummer… :stuck_out_tongue:

Red, any truth to the rumour that the picture is jm02? :wink: :wink: :wink:

Since you mods travel together on that luxury air plane to meetings!