Empty Seats

What can be done to fill the empty seats in BC, Edmonton, Toronto, Hamilton, and Montreal (i.e., the Olympic Stadium should be where the Als play all their games)? Now that the league has stabalized after nearly collapsing in the late 90's, it needs to increase its popularity to sell out these stadiums. :cowboy:

.....Montreal should never ever play in the Big O except for Grey Cup games against Calgary....Molson Stadium is just fine, maybe expand it a bit, but better there than the cavern that is the Olympic Stadium....

...even if the teams that play in them were absolutely the top of their divisions BC Place and Commonwealth are tough stadiums to fill given their size and the local interest level...Edmontonians love their Eksimos and support them well but filling a 60K seat stadium on a continuous basis? no not going to happen until Edmonton gets to 2 to 2.5 million people....Vancouver (et al) have a core contingent of great fans that tops out at around 20K regardless of how the team is doing, and the casual fans will amount to another 10K to 15K if the team is winning....

....Hamilton will have no problem filling IW Stadium if the team keeps playing the way they are right now...I foresee sellouts for them before this year is out....

...Toronto?...has a football team?...oh yeah, we play them this Friday....

For me it's simple. Fans need to go to the games. There is no excuse for not supporting your cities team(s)

Considering the size of our population, I doubt we'll ever pull in 50,000 fans for a regular season game. But I don't think there's anything wrong with that. We're still pulling in quite a few fans. Edmonton has had more than 33,000 fans in each of their last 3 home games. Calgary has had more than 35,000 fans for each of their last 2 home games. And isn't Saskatchewan averaging about 30,000? Those are pretty damn good numbers. Nothing to sneeze at. Sure, it'd be nice to pull in more fans, but I'm not going to worry about it. The league has a rock solid fanbase.

I think the ideal CFL venue is Calgary's McMahon Stadium. Perfect seating capacity - not too large, not too small, great sitelines, close to the action, and not a bad seat in the house as they're all between the sidelines.

For me, BC Place is way too big for CFL football. You need about 35K to get the energy charged in the place which was extremely close to our average and where we were headed until Wally got rid of some popular veterans and the team imploded (I think the local fanbase can live with losing the vets as they haven't done much elsewhere. Blowouts at home however? Not so much!).

In 2011, we'll have a retractable roof which will do wonders for the atmosphere and attract more casual fans in the summer. But I still think 59,000 seats is way too much for our league when realistically, it will only be at or close to capacity (at best) 3-4 times a decade. Besides, when the renos are complete you're bound to get that small minority of wannabees sniffin' around for an NFL franchise for Vancouver.

We need to kill about 15,000 seats from B.C. Place and it will be an excellent CFL venue come 2011.

Well, Back in the late 70's and very early 80's the Esks were selling out all the time! so don't say it can't be done!

someday it will come around.

Montreal is meant to be where they are! B.C. doesn't have the ability! although when they get their retractable roof in, and they can have games in sunshine, it could change things for fans! I have a feeling there's a little part in that idea too for fan increase.

Toronto, well.. the Media has to support their team first.

It's a whole different ballgame now. Whether the CFL got bigger than their britches way back when, I don't know and really who knows what the ideal model is for the CFL in Canada in each venue. A very uneducated guess is that the ideal football stadium in Canada is a stadium that seats no more than 35,000 but can be expanded by 10,000 temporary seats if need be for a Grey Cup. 25,000=30,000 seaters are perfect though in most venues most of the time I guess.

One thing for sure is that the Big O and Rogers Centre, as it's turned out, are not stadiums the NFL want anything to do with. These cities, maybe or yes, but not these stadiums. Vancouver with the new BC Place that will happen in the next few years, we'll see.

I guess the old multi-coloured seats idea is out of the question, so I don't think much else can be done about seeing empty seats on TV. I think the directors are doing a good job of avoiding showing them for the most part.

"It's the economy, stupid!"

...what? the economy? yes I agree it's stupid...

The only negatives about Macmahon is that it can be a wind tunnel and you get the sun right in your eyes if you sit on the East side, the positive to that is that in the winter it feels about 15 degrees warmer.

I like what Toronto, BC, and (to a lesser extent) Edmonton have done with putting tarps over the unused seats. Makes it look a lot better, plus they look good with pictures of football players or team logos/colours ... granted not as good as filled seats would :wink:

I think the perfect size is about 30,000. It would be great to see at least 30,000 fans at every game. That said, there are also plenty of opportunities (during the regular season alone) to get more than that. Calgary could have close to 40,000 at the Labour Day game, Edmonton usually gets over 30,000, BC and Saskatchewan definitely can too. But I think the 25,000 seat stadiums out East - Montreal as of next year and Ottawa's proposal - are a perfect way to ensure sellouts and create demand, not to mention help the atmosphere at the game. I'd much, much rather see a sold-out 25,000 seat stadium than empty seats in a bigger stadium.

One other comment on the roof for BC Place, aren't they making it so that it can be used with smaller crowds (ie lower bowl only) without killing the atmosphere?

i agree. some stadiums may have initially been built to big but they all have there reasons for it... i believe each team has done a pretty good job of filling the seats reasonablly. or at least making the atmosphere bigger.. these venues arent always just for football... big centres like toronto and vancouver need these big buildings. as long as ticket sales are producing enough profit for the team and the real cfl fans are attending and happy i see no problem with how things are at the moment..

and the economy has hurt casual fan numbers but it will better in time... and in every city the demand is better when the team is winning.

I wouldn't mind seeing the Eskimos go back to the grass or maybe add a fountain on the north side, if you're not going to us the seats maybe it wouldn't be all bad to pretty the place up a bit.

I don't bother going to games anymore because the experience of going to games is neither pleasent nor exciting. 3 hours in the stands to see maybe 15-20 minutes of game action, the rest of the time ads on the field, in my ears, and on the jumbo. People would not go to movies if the movie were interrupted every few minutes for commercials, why does pro-sports figure that they can get away with it? Hell, I can barely stand to watch football on TV any more considering how boring most games have become. The CFL treats its ticket buyers as suckers to be fleeced. I resent it and I'm not alone. Stop talking only to those who are die-hard fans because they buy tickets on point of pride regardless. Talk to the casual fan and get their take on things.

  • Get the games back to between 2 to 2.5 hours. Do that by elliminating an hour of commercial breaks. Make up the revenue by cutting the game rosters from 46 down to 36 so as to elliminate payroll. That reduces expenses all around for salary, travel, and other miscellanious.

Hey, 2much, the 1950's are calling. You parked your Edsel funny and now the Johnson's can't get their horse back into the corral.

I guess its all about the game day experience. Watching a game in a large stadium is more fun when the stadium is full. When its half empty and fans are spread out, the collective experience suffers. Perhaps the CFL could start with a standard pre-game, in-game package for fans of all ages. Billboard and local promotion is a must. What happened to the city wide promotions that the league was supposed to do this year? When I was in Toronto 2 weeks ago, there was no evidence that the Argos even existed. Not the mention the fact that tourist info is more likely to mention the Buffalo Bills than the Argos! Sound promotion is something the league has clearly failed at. :cowboy:

There have been people putting their brains to good use and making intelligent comment on the question of Empty Seats. And then there's you. Sonny boy, you are in way over your head.

Yeah, in the late 70s and early 80s, Montreal and Edmonton regularly attracted more than 50,000 to their home games, and Toronto averaged 44,000. BC averaged 46,000 in the early 80s. These figures from an essay by Frank Cosentino (I think) who stated that the CFL did not respond well to the expansion of the NHL to the prairies, and to the availablity of cable tv which showed not the superior product of te NFL, but the superior production values of the US broadcasters. And of course we know that the CFL did basically no marketing for probably twenty years.

I have heard it said that the NFL owes its preeminence to Pete Rozelle. Perhaps a strong comissioner here might have been able to counter the CFL’s problems?

This hits the nail on the head (albeit for a different issue) .... The NFL (and American sports in general) are not necessarily better, they're just more hyped.

As for the other point, why do pro sports figure they can get away with commercials every couple of minutes? Because they have clearly shown they can. Find me a national-level sports league that gets by without sponsorship and ads. Soccer games don't have commercial breaks - instead they have ads EVERYWHERE you look. Every jersey they sell is another billboard for their sponsor. And good luck finding a union that will agree to cutting 10 jobs from every team.

I have to say I don't know what you're expecting, trying to find something - anything - to watch commercial-free.