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?