The fact Scotiabank Touchdown Atlantic II wasn't a sellout may not necessarily be reason to sound the alarm bells. But it is a topic worthy of discussion.
Moncton has often been mentioned as a potential market for a franchise in the Canadian Football League. Some are convinced that a team would work here because of the city's geographic location and ability to draw fans from across the Maritimes. There are also naysayers.
A crowd of 20,153 watched the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defeat the Calgary Stampeders 55-36 yesterday afternoon at the Stade Moncton 2010 Stadium. The facility has a capacity of 20,973 so it was 820 fans short of a sellout.
A capacity crowd of 20,725 watched the Edmonton Eskimos down the Toronto Argonauts 24-6 last year in Moncton, the CFL's first ever regular season game in Atlantic Canada. The stadium's capacity was bigger for this year's game because of the addition of suites.
What can be read into the fact yesterday's game didn't attract another sellout? Is it reason for concern for CFL commissioner Mark Cohon?
"I think it's been a great audience," he said. "It's 96-97 per cent sold out. I think the fans have been behind it. Part of this is a test and I think this is one of the reasons why we keep on coming back with more games to see the viability of a potential franchise here. So far, I think the atmosphere has been great."
But is it a little disappointing that the CFL's second regular season game ever in Atlantic Canada didn't draw a sellout?
"I think there's really two things," said Cohon. "No. 1, the first day tickets went on sale our system crashed. I walked around town and people thought the game was already sold out.
"I think the second thing is if you look at this stadium a lot of the seats were in the endzone and I don't think people want to sit in the endzone. I think that was one of the issues and we'll be considering that in the future.
"I think those seats are very tight. One of the things we would consider in the future is maybe not having as many people sitting in the endzones.
"Rather than 21,000, maybe we make it 20,000 seats. We have to look at the business model to see if that would work."
The Stade Moncton 2010 Stadium has the potential to be expanded to approximately 28,000, A 25,000 attendance average allows for a CFL franchise to operate viably.
Cohon points out that he doesn't have a timetable for the possible birth of a Maritime franchise. It's a year by year review of Moncton, the only place in the Maritimes that has a stadium that could be upgraded to meet the standards needed for a CFL team.
"If you look at my term as commissioner, we've been very methodical and measured but we've been having a lot of success in a number of areas,'' he said. ``We're getting back into the nation's capital in 2014 (with an expansion franchise in Ottawa).
"This has been a great event (in Moncton). We're going to sit down with the mayor. We're going to sit down with the corporate leaders. I'm creating a commissioner's council of business leaders in the Maritimes to help me think about what we can do for the future."
[b]Cohon discussed what he hopes to accomplish with the commissioner's council.
"Really what I've learned here is that it's all about building relationships," he said. "There are some great businesses here (in the Maritimes). There are some great families.
Talking to guys like Scott McCain and Andrew Oland, some of these people who are business leaders, I said if we're going to do business here we need advisors to help us think about the future here.
"These guys both said 'Yeah, we want to help you.' There's no commitment on their part. It's really just sitting down and getting the best brains around the table to help us."
Cohon hasn't yet asked anyone from the Irving family to be part of the commissioner's council. Does he plan to ask them?
"I'll probably sit down and talk to Robert Irving about it," he said. "Robert and I have a good relationship. One of the things we want to do is make sure we're talking to everyone - the Irvings, Sobeys, McCains and everyone.[/b]
"Actually, (former New Brunswick premier) Frank McKenna asked me to go speak at Fox Harb'r (Golf Club) this year. I was able to speak to many of the business leaders in the Maritimes about the opportunity here."
It hasn't been confirmed whether there will be a CFL regular season game in Moncton next year.
"I think there's only one challenge (when it comes to having a game in Moncton next season)," said Cohon. "2012 is a really busy year for the league because of the 100th Grey Cup. We're going to be doing things across the country (to celebrate the 100th Grey Cup). We might do some other things in Moncton and we're going to consider a game here."
Hamilton will need to find places to play its home games for the entire 2013 season. Ivor Wynne Stadium, the club's home, will get torn down with a new facility built on the same site.
"We have to consider what to do (for their home games) in 2013," said Cohon. "Maybe we can do a few games in Moncton."
Hamilton was the home team for Scotiabank Touchdown Atlantic II.
"It's been great," said Tiger-Cats president Scott Mitchell. "It's lived up to expectations and probably exceeded expectations. The hospitality has been great. Moncton is a pretty city and they did a great job of building a downtown area (for community events around the game).
"The stadium was virtually full. The only seats available were in the corners of the endzone. I think it was a great fan turnout and a great day."
Mitchell commented on Moncton being in the mix to host some Hamilton games when the club is homeless in 2013.
"Our focus is on having as many of our home games as possible close to home," he said. "I think really that's going to be up to the league, the province and the city to figure out if they want to do more Scotiabank Touchdown Atlantic games. If that's something the league wants to do, obviously we would be a prime candidate in 2013."