Football in Toronto

Here's what thet Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons has to day; an interesting read, agree or disagree:

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...i've got to agree somewhat with the article...Football seems to be in limbo-land in Argo-land...don't know what to make of it...The grass roots seem to need a little tonic ....When no one is talking about you...its tough to keep an identity...Bringing in the nfl was not a success nor the great football event a lot of people thought it would be??? It's strange that the Argos aren't going all -out to fill the bill...example....With as many coaches out there applying for headman'd think there would be more discussion going on...or contoversy about who should get hired...It's seems very lethargic with regards to Argo interest in T.O.....NOT A GOOD SIGN.... :roll:I think the media could take some lessons from places like Sask. and Edm. with regards ,in how to report the CFL to its fans////..just my thoughts..

Hi MadJack

I read Simmon's article & found it to be very true. With all the questions surrounding my Scullers this offseason, there is hardly any talk. In CFL cities out west (ones that also have NHL hockey) seems articles on the CFL can be found daily.

I am too young to recall the glory days of the Argos in the 70's before the Jays were born, (when the Argos were #2 behind the Leafs) but I wish those days would return.

He poses some valid questions.
Although he doesn't discuss attendance, I think with a population of over 5 million,
the GTA would be able to support the Argos more than the current 29,000 (roughly)
average per game. Mind you, that's not a bad number for the team they
fielded this year.

Still it would be nice to see better numbers and more media discussion. Is this just a case of not marketing
their product properly?

I just think right now a lot of it boils down to a total state of confusion about football in Toronto. On one hand, they see football booming in a once baseball province in Quebec, the 2nd largest province in Canada. And just down the QEW, they see passion in Bills land and in Bills fans with 57,000 season ticket holders. Combine this with a lacklustre year for the Argos, no Grey Cup for the Argos and after a year of having the Grey Cup, the Bills thing in Toronto turning out to be boring, well, hey, I'm confused and I understand football. And then the TFC thing big, 16,000 season ticket holders in a 20,000 seater, the Jays in limbo now with Ted Rogers passing on. Not just the Argos, the whole sports scence weird in Toronto other than the Leafs I guess, the Raps not playing well.

But football, who's coming, who's going, when, how do we cheer, the CFL was supposed to be going down the drain in the 90's but it isn't.... And I haven't even started talking stadiums, is the RC a stadium that can successfully house the Bills - or Argos, are the Argos going to get into a 2015 Pan-Am Games Stadium... total confusion, as a writer, where do I start?

Yes Earl you have summarized it well, a real mess here in the US wannabe city.
For years in the self professed "World Class City" the media has indoctrinated the masses with their cool aid how we deserve "the best", be it the Olympics and thank goodness this fiasco with this pony show did not come. So, I am chearing big time for the PanAm games to be awarded elsewhere as the left loon political base could not organize a one car parade and come under budget.
Further examples being the Skydome over $650M, BMO field at $65M(then given away to MLSE to manage?).
Anyway, I digress, with the sporting tapography having a niche of several thousands of core fans for each sporting team, save and except the Maple Laffs who can't print it fast enough as the fanatical sect keeps giving them a free pass. The remaining non core fans is what I would call "fair weather bandwagon jumpers". The chic crowd, to be seen at a particular sporting event and last years GC was one such event.
The Argos I believe made a big mistake when they did not build their own stadium at York University which had alot of room and parking facilities and would have enabled the tailgating crowd to make this truly an event, much like in Calgary and other cities out west.
Now, without this possibility I am not sure what the Argos do to continue as it appears the 30,000 per game plateau is pretty much the max.

Well said also argotom. But I think it's time to forget the Argos for a bit here in this. First off, what needs to be determined are the Bills and the Jays. I see this order of importance for the football scene in Toronto:

  1. Have to wait until Ralph Wilson passes on and what happens to the Bills.

  2. Have to see what happens to the Blue Jays without a strong leader like Ted at the helm writing the cheques and knowing they are in a stadium that isn't a real homey baseball stadium.

  3. Pan-Am Games and what this means in terms of stadiums.

  4. Does the CFL give the 100th Grey Cup which will be huge and I suspect sold-out very quickly, I'm going and they could charge $500 a ticket, to Toronto?

These things will impact the Argos big time but we just have to wait. Until then, relax, enjoy, there won't be a lot of articles about the Argos, well, unless they start going to GC's again. It'll be mainly Leafs and Raps which are very stable, TFC which is stable albeit it is only soccer :wink: , Blue Jays of course since it's "big time" even though they are more unstable I think than the Argos who at least have solid personal-type owners.

The nice thing about the CFL though, and the web, is that we can get all sorts of CFL news from other places anyways to feed us big CFL fans in this country, and that is excellent. No longer do we have to rely on our local printed newspaper to be delivered to our door!

Yet we have seen examples of much bigger crowds when the Argo's have managed to generate greater interest.
I was at Skydome last Oct (2007) when 40,000 people watched the Argo's clinch 1st place against Winnipeg.
It was a great atmosphere. I really think the interest and passion is there but management has to figure
a way to cultivate the interest over more than just one game.

I think a marquis player such as Jesse Lumsden could help to generate such interest.
Yes, I am aware of the injury prone label. But it will pass. A half way decent Argo team, such as
we had in '07, and a player with Lumsden's ability and marketability would make this team an exciting team.
I don't think it's too much of a stretch to call him a 'household' name. A player with that kind of marketability needs to
be in Canada's biggest market.

I have been away from Toronto for a while and have recently moved back so actually finding that the Argos are still around is a surprise to me. When I see that they are averaging around 29,000 per game I am astonished. When I would go to games in the nineties it felt like I was the only one in the crowd. Even during Fluties grey cups there were only a couple games with more than 30,000 people. I think the new ownership has done fairly well to spark some interest even if it does seem to be fading slowly.

I agree that there are a lot of unanswered questions about this team. I think the lack of decisive management on that regard might show us why the promotion has been so lackadaisical. But, I think there is a lot of hope for football in the city. I feel for the first time ever that the Argos could survive even with a NFL team in the city. I feel once a lot of these questions are answered that the team can really move forward. I also feel that I can go to a game now and not be embarrassed by the crowd in the stands.

Hi jJonno, welcome to the forum.

How exactly is Toronto a wannabe US city?

Anyway, current state of football, baseball and even hockey is declining because city's demographic. Toronto isn't same city it was a decade ago. I remember reading a stat that minority (non-whites) are going to end up making up majority of city's population by 2018. That is why people are seeing a change in Toronto's sports culture. Unless Argos tap in that market, I don't except them to be popular in Toronto ever again.

i think one of the reasons the argos / CFL isnt as popular in Toronto as it should be is simply because the CFL is only 8 teams.

i hear alot of people say they are turned off by the fact 6 of 8 teams make the playoffs, and so the regular season doesnt mean anything ( especially when u can count the ticats out after 5 weeks ).

i think, if the CFL had teams in Ottawa, QC and Halifax, Toronto would become more interested - maybe 35K or 40k per game -, since we'd have fresher matchups every week, instead of playing the same teams over and over again. the playoff fight in the East would be alot more interesting. Toronto vs Ottawa could be a very popular matchup in toronto ( if ottawa is competitive ).

when u only have 2 REAL rivals, and one is the pathetic tiger-cats, its gonna hurt you at the gate.

it seems the only REAL draw in toronto currently, is the argos vs alouettes....drawing on torontos long rivalry with montreal in hockey, AND the argos / als are usually favored to win the east every year.

i recall being at the east finals in '05 against the als, and the skydome had a sell-out of 45, game after having 40K for the season final. i remember being at a late season argos / als match-up in '07, which drew 40K.

people in toronto dont care about argos vs west opponents.

again, the Als are the only draw in toronto. we NEED ottawa. we NEED QC. we NEED Halifax. we NEED hamilton to get good again.

He's absolutely right about the Argos being ripe for gossip and conversation. I wonder if Adam Rita is still a 9-5 guy?

Vancouver just passed the 50% 'non-white' mark and the Lions are doing better and better, what's your excuse? Marketing, reaching out to the community, etc. Gotta love Adriano Belli, he's a one-man PR machine for that team.

For sports fans TO is a wanna-be in every way and all the worst ways. Why do your teams suck so bad? When was the last time a TO team was in the Vanier Cup? Or even in the running? Nobody cares, they just want to say they got Raptor or Leaf tix and then not go 'cause they know they'll lose anyway. Just give 'em away to employees and poor friends. TO blows :thdn:

Toronto is different market than Vancouver. Unlike Vancouver, Argos have a lot of competition to get fans to come to their games. Vancouver is mostly filled with western europeans (and russians?), asians and east indians while Toronto only have those groups, but there is also a lot of blacks, middle eastern, south americans and southern & eastern europeans as well. Argos have failed to tap into those groups which makes up a good portion of Greater Toronto Area's population.

That only applies to Leaf fans. Raptor fans are actually basketball fans!

Too bad the Rappies blow chunks just as bad as your other pro teams. Maybe Torontonians are over-confident. Your Pro teams are a pitiful representation of Canada to the rest of the continent :cowboy: sorry