With Hamilton set to host the Saskatchewan Roughriders in a, oh, meaningless game that will only play a key role their playoff fates; I can’t help but wonder how many fans will actually show up to what is the most important game the Tiger-Cats have hosted in five years.
Ivor Wynne’s average attendance has dwindled each year since Bob Young took over as owner in 2004 and the simple theory as to why is the teams ineptness. The Tiger-Cats have averaged under five wins per season since 2004 and with the city hit hard by the recession, the average attendance is 22,275 heading in to week 18. The biggest challenge now for the powers that be is not to retain the current fan base, but attempt to develop a future fan base.
The team has been a tough sell over the last few years but at least now the franchise has an opportunity to snag a home playoff game. A giant step in the right direction but if the team wants to grasp an entire generation, it’ll take a more then one season.
Based on my own inaccurate polling, at around the 27-and-under age range is where the team gets lost. The average sports fan develops their passion in their early teens and with the explosion of the National Football League and plethora of sports options in Southern Ontario it’s awfully tough to make an argument in favour of the Canadian Football League.
There is clearly no issue out West where the league is as strong as ever but without enough support in Ontario, it’s virtually moot and there simply isn’t as much competition for the league in BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Unfortunately for Hamilton and the CFL, “a league to call our own? is not enough to direct the herd of sheep to the North. Is home-grown playoff football the cure? We’ll find out soon.