Idea for Attracting More Fans (Warning: expansion content!)

Here’s a thought…

Quebec City, London, and Halifax have all been named as potential expansion sites for future CFL teams. Quebec City is fairly large, but the other two have around 400k people, which would put them on the small side of CFL cities.

So, if drawing enough people to games becomes a concern, why not reach a deal with Greyhound or Coach Canada?

I lived in London for a while, so I’ll use it as an example. An adult round trip bus ticket from Kitchener to London (approx. 1hr away) costs $45. Suppose the franchise in London (just for the sake of argument, we’ll call them…. hmmm…. the London Pikemen) reaches the following deal with Greyhound:

In return for some advertising space, Greyhound will offer $20 round trip tickets from Kitchener to London with proof of purchase of a Pikemen game ticket. The bus tickets would be usable on the day before, day of, and day after the date on the game tickets.

Now, why would Greyhound go for this, you ask? Aside from the (inter)national advertising, this deal will generate new riders who would otherwise not have made the trip. Despite the discounted price, each new rider would remain profitable. I once overheard a bus driver on the trip from Kingston to Toronto say that all a bus needs is five passengers paying student fares in order to break even.

Why would fans within a one-hour trip of London go for this? Think about it, $10 bucks one way is like cab fair, not an enormous expense when you factor in the price of gas and parking forgone. Plus, families won’t have their car tied up at the game for a few hours, so it can be used at home, and young adult fans (14-18yrs) will have a safe and reliable way to get to and from the game on their own, eliminating the need for parental accompaniment or a ride from mommy and daddy. The Pikemen would be able to nearly double their potential season ticket base.

The municipal government might even consider subsidizing the deal, since making the tickets redeemable the days before and after the game would give fans incentive to make a weekend out of their trip to the ballgame. If fans stay for more than one day, they’d need to buy beers, dinner, city transportation, lodging, entertainment etc. Great potential for spinoff effects.

Finally, would the Pikemen be interested in this deal? The answer is yes. Even if they subsidized the project by $5 per round trip ticket, they could compensate by raising general ticket prices by $1. If that game were a sellout crowd of, say, 30k, this $1 increase would be enough to cover 6k out-of-towner trips. Therefore, as long as out of towners make up less than one fifth of total attendance, the deal will pay for itself. Even if it does cost them a little money, it’s a small price to pay for doubling your fan base.

This deal wouldn’t have to be limited to Kitchener-London, it could be modified for every significant town within an hour’s drive. Suddenly, London goes from 400k potential fans to nearly a million, same with Halifax. Does Regina have anything like this in place?

Makes sense to me, how ‘bout you?


Who in the imaginary front office did you speak with?

Too funny anything to get an expansion thread on here.

If its such a good idea, why doesnt it happen for cities that are an hour or so outside of Toronto? Maybe a better idea would be to pitch that plan to Greyhound and the Argos.

Well since you brought up Toronto, it's serviced by both a subway system and the GO train, both of which are cheaper modes of transportation than chartered buses for getting downtown.

Plus the sheer size of Toronto makes me think that there will always be opportunities to attract more fans from within the city. A spot like London could reach the saturation point much quicker and still have problems attracting a big enough crowd consistently.

And ro1313, I am both the imaginary owner and imaginary president of the London Pikemen. After recording better-than-expected imaginary revenues in our first season, our imaginary front office is looking to build new imaginary corporate relationships, and broaden our imaginary fanbase.

...thank you dmont for complying to the new forum statute DMCFLfg.2349 which mandates the addition of a clear and legible warning when creating a thread concerning expansion.....this new forum safety feature will help serve and protect all posters from opening cleverly titled expansion threads unknowingly.....

....remember, your forum is continuely striving to keep expansion virus threads contained, your cooperation in properly labelling these potentially disabilitating threads is on....

With the spectre of a Greyhound/CFL partnership to ferry outlying fans to the stadium, does that not revive the expansion possibilities for Red Deer? Which would play 3 games each against Edm & Cal, virtually guaranteeing sellouts for every game (with Greyhound [or Via] transporting the fans up and down the highway…?

Thanks for the kudos, RW...

Oddly enough, despite the clear warning, anti-expansion thread types couldn't resist reading and commenting. It's making me think that expansion threads are their secret guilty pleasure (well... one of their secret guilty pleasures, anyway) and that they'd be inconsolable if the threads ever stopped.

of course toronto is to big for the idea !! but for a place like london it might work . but i'm with you anything to get a new team in the cfl is worth a listen . london would be a good spot i think the name is well ............ :thdn: lol

The team could afford to reimburse Greyhound a lot more than $5 per rider. If this arrangement allows the team to sell a $25 ticket that they wouldn't be able to normally, they could pay $15 to Greyhound for each discounted ride. The team is still getting $10 per ticket more than they would otherwise, resulting in an increase in ticket revenue. More fans in the stands does not result in a higher cost to the team, and the team could more than make up the difference from the increase in concessions. Meanwhile Greyhound is discounting each ticket only $10 in exchange for stadium advertising and community goodwill, in addition to giving potential riders a sample of their service.

Boy, people thought Jim Balsillie was jumping the gun. :smiley:

YAY EXPANSION!(in canada)

BigDave, give Greyhound 60% of the ticket revenues from people using the bus's to the game? lol, seems a tad much no?

20% is alot, remember Greyhound is getting their own $$ from tickets and advertising.

If a something like this was implimented in Saskatchewan I would think there would be atleast 2-3 60 person buses full each Game-day.
Atleast 1 just going from Saskatoon to Taylor field.

These aren't all fans that might not otherwise go, they could just be fans that prefer not to pay and deal with parking/driving.

If a fan wants to go to and from the game, they need to leave 1H 30 mins before game time, and get home atleast 1H 15 Mins after the game ends.

3 hour game, that is a total of 5H 45 Mins+ I'm sure alot of fans would prefer not to be spending around 2 Hours driving to and from the game, instead they can bus the majority of it and not need to worry about things like Gas/Parking.

It looks like even the best mileage cars(except freak hybrid types) use atleast 10 Litres worth of Gas per every 100 KM. That is over 20$ for a trip.
So for individuals it is more cost effective to Bus, if Round trip tickets are 20$.(20$ +5$ for Parking)
Add in a reduction in student/Senior and child prices and Families could use it.(down to 10-15$ for Child, Students and seniors)

If these are fans who would go either way, then the Greyhound deal will not increase attendance, and would be a waste of money for the team.

The only reason for having this deal in the first place is if it will significantly increase attendance; that is, there will be a lot of people buying tickets who wouldn't otherwise.

Since the thread is titled "Idea for Attracting More Fans", I made the assumption that the latter was the case. If you're just doing it for the convenience of the fans who are coming out either way, then the formula I proposed goes out the window, obviously.

Remember, though, the only cost to the team of selling a thousand more tickets is the cost of printing up the tickets. The cost to Greyhound of selling a thousand more tickets is the expense of putting more buses on the road.

There will be people who come, who otherwise would not.

But there will be some fans who come, who already do.

That is why I’m saying giving 60% from each ticket is a bad idea. as some fans are already coming, some new fans will come but so are some fans who previously came.

Say… 1K fans come by Greyhound bus to London(half from Windsor half from Waterloo region) maybe 200-300 would have made the drive if the bus wasn’t a solid option. But there is an increase of say 700-800 fans.

but if you give 60% of all ticket revenues the team doesn’t make much in the end as they lose 60% of ticket sales on 200-300 tickets.

Sticking with 15-25% per ticket that is sold to one of the bus riders sounds like a much better number.

Although the bus companies don’t really need it.

If the buses are atleast 3/4 full(45 of 60) that’s 900$ per bus.

Bus Drivers at max would only be making 100$, Gas should be under 200$, leaving 600$ for bus maintenance/Profit.

providing that it’s a hit with fans

If bus companies don’t do this their making 0$ Their buses are just sitting around doing nothing or going what? half full maybe on their normal trips from city to city.

Instead the buses are full with a consistent 10-12 times a year deal.

I think that a smarter Idea would be to include an all day Public Transit pass with the game ticket. In Berlin if you buy a soccer ticket that ticket is good for all day on the bus or Subway. That would be incouragement for fans to take transit to the games and make it less expensive in the long-run for fans to get out to the games.

Okay, let’s use your numbers: the ones most favourable to your argument. Say 300 of the 1000 who ride the Greyhound would have come either way. You get an increase in revenue of $10 on each of the 700 extra tickets = an extra $7000. You lose $15 on each of the 300 = a loss of $4500. Gain 7000, lose 4500 = a net gain of $2500.

Even if this were revenue-neutral, it would still be a bonus to the team because of the extra concession money coming from those extra 700 fans.

Hey BigDave, don't forget that for your 300 fans who would have driven instead, this deal makes their game experience even better (cause otherwise they would drive instead). If you've improved the game experience, you'll get more repeaters from those 300, meaning further ticket sales.

The finances make sense to me, but even beyond the dollars and cents, this would send a real message that they want to be a team for all southwestern Ontario.

Plus it's particularly suited for younger fans (who can't drive or can't get dad's car for a whole night), groups of 20-something buddies (who can drink before/during/after the game and not worry about driving home) and father/son pairs (since mom can keep the car with her). Games become bonding experiences, leading to repeat customers and long-term loyalty.

It would be interesting if season ticket holders from each of these outlying towns see eachother on the bus for every game. It builds relationships among your die-hards, leading to "Pikemen Nation -- Stratford Chapter".

Would it all happen exactly this way? Who cares, it's a great story :slight_smile:

Actually there are already buses coming from Saskatoon, which is a 2 1/2 hour drive each way.

Heck, do not most local transit operations in CFL towns offer special buses to the game already? I know Regina transit has special pickup places around the city.

I do wonder at some of the implied savings, as most people still would have to get to the Greyhound station with some time to spare, so for trips under about an hour, people might be better off using local transit or just making their own way.

One other small point is that Greyhound is not found everywhere. Greyhound does do interprovincial service between Sask and Alberta Manitoba, but intra provinical bus service in Sask is mainily handled by the STC.

I will also add that such tour packages can be bought through travel agencies.

How about we fill all the stadiums for the existing teams, THEN talk expansion.

Good idea. How 'bout we end all war, poverty, illness, and injustice, THEN talk new stadiums?

What's sad is that the above argument is used seriously all the time when it comes to sports.