It's not a cliche; Ottawa is not a sports town

I know many of you will try to tear me a new one, but listen close.

I've lived in Ottawa most of my life, took in many a Rough Riders and Renegades games (in addition to Lynx, 67s, and Senators games), and was there screaming my lungs out at that last Rough Riders game, on the upper South Side, believing that there'd be a new team in a year or two.

You know the rest of that story, but listen to the rest of mine.

I've spent the majority of my last 5 years in Winnipeg. I had never been there before, and the city never even crossed my mind. As far as Canadian cities go, I bet Winnipeg gets the least amount of love from southern Ontarians.

When I got there I had no idea what to expect. I quickly found out that it was a beautiful city with wonderful citizens. And what made me the happiest guy in town was that they have passionate sports fans.

Blue Bombers games are amazing. The crowd is fully decked out in jerseys. The crowds are always large. The city gets excited when game day approaches. I hadn't ever experienced an atmosphere like that here in Ottawa.

I also took in a number of Goldeyes games. They're an independent baseball team. Like, not even on the radar. I think 8 teams play in the whole Northern League, and they're not even single-A players. They are regular joes that have day jobs. But you know what? Some how, some way, the city of Winnipeg managed to build a brand new, state-of-the-art (and beautiful) stadium right downtown. It puts that junk concrete edifice here in Ottawa to shame. And by the way, they've averaged nearly 7,000 fans a game for years. The stands are always packed.

The Moose have a brand new hockey arena downtown. I've taken in their games a few times, and it's surprisingly busy in there too.

Did I fail to mention that the Bombers are about to build a brand new stadium without any conflict/nimbys/etc?

Where did Ottawa go wrong and Winnipeg go so right? I'm just not hopeful that sports will ever fly in this city, especially when the Sens start missing the playoffs year in and year out. The people here just don't care much for sports. They put up a stink when they lose a team, but are they willing to show up when it matters most? If I know anything about my fellow citizens here in Ottawa, I know that they'll conveniently have something else to do on game day.

I can't figure out your posting??

Ottawa will get a new stadium before Winnipig. Yes the Nimbys are here, but the city council still has the majority (17) voting for Lansdowne Live and it will happen. From what I read, Winnipig is relying on provincial and federal money with the private sector and right now they are NOT close to building their stadium, they have their share of NIMPBYS that don't want to see provincial and city funds going to the stadium

Moose?? what the hell is that....??? - the 67s have the highest attendance 8,000 in Major junior hockey.
.................and Ottawa has an NHL team.......that is well supported. Does Winnipig have an NHL team? or am I missing something.

Please do some research before posting.

Im from Winnipeg myself and that could be right…BUT STILL GET A CFL TEAM IN OTTAWA!!!

I've done research. It's called first-hand experience. Years of it.

Move to a real sports town and you'll know what I'm talking about. This city supports hockey only, and even that will dwindle once the Sens string together a few losing seasons. Mark my words. There are a handful of true sports fans in this city. Then what?

I don't buy into the whole sports town thing. I think it's simplistic. Every city has a grveyard of failed sports teams. I'm not going to bother researching Winnipeg's because there's no point; I see no need to run Winipeg down.

I will agree with Truth on one thing though; it seems residents here are quite good at finding reasons to NOT do something. Or maybe the ones who are like that are more vocal. Regardless, it's been my experience a number of times.

I don't hide my interest in football so when the Renegades were "suspended", people I'd bump into would tell me how much it sucked. I'd ask them how many game they went to. I'd get a blank stare or an excuse. "I just couldn't bring myself to support the Glieberman's", that sort of thing. Congratulations, you no longer have to.

I recall a gentleman calling in a TV show and telling Brad Watters that unless they did away with horns at games, he'd stop going. watters' response was that if they took away horns, those people whose horns are being taken away would threaten to stop going. One lady once threatened to not renew seasons tickets if the sound system wasn't turned down.

Does that mean that Ottawa will not support a team? Of course not. A new facility would eliminate a lot of the problems. There are concerns about parking, for example, but there will be options offered.

Strange example, but are local familiar with Pilo's Greek restaurant near where the military base used to be?

As a student, I used to live in the apartment building across the street. I saw that place whenit was a Taco Bell and as a burger joint, IIRC. Both failed.

But when it when a little higher scale, it suddenly became a success and has been for 18 years. That's what Lansdowne Live can do.

yes I agree do some research.
I used to go to Renegade games, the crowds were ALWAYS over 20,000, this was at the same time the Ticats were getting huge crowds of 15,000 for their games and the Argos weren't much better. There is a hard core football crowd of around 18,000 in this city and with Jeff Hunt and better ownership the new CFL team will be a great success here. Jeff hunt turned around Junior hockey in this city. The Sens are still drawing big time bsides the bad seasons.
Huge crowds came out for the FIFA u21 a couple of years ago this woulndn't happen in other cities and huge crowds at the Francophone games.
So please do some research and do us a favour and move back to Winnipeg!!!

Yes what are the Moose anyway??

You guys clearly aren't the hardcore fans I'm talking about. You fall into the 'delusional fans' category, with an answer for everything, even if it doesn't hold up. Like I said, go to a real sports and CFL city and then get back to me. You'll see what I'm talking about. I've lived in Ottawa for 28 years. I've seen enough here to know what I'm talking about.

As a Calgary Hitmen fan, I can dispute that ... nevertheless there are good sports fans in Ottawa, not to mention I would consider anyone who is discussing this topic to be a fairly hardcore fan.

I read a good article once about the type of sports this city. The writer was making the case that this is the type of place where people participate in sports more than they attend them. He was describing how there's a perception that Ottawa has a lot of business and government employees and that's usually tied in with an assumption that they are not active people but apparently the opposite is true.

The problem with these types of arguments is that the guy from city A only highlights his city's positives and the other city's negatives, then the guy from city B does the same. Every positive is a fluke from the other person's perspective and every one of his own negatives has an excuse attached to it. It's pointless.

I'll tell you guys something else I failed to mention. The people I know that went to Rough Riders games stopped going to Renegades games, or went to one or two (usually free tickets, as they were being given out like candy for a while). And I can only imagine it will get worse. As soon as the RR's folded people started finding other things to do during the summer and spend their money on. Not to mention that the Senators opened up a (then) state-of-the-art arena and started putting together winning seasons, which meant interested fans. Since the Renegades folded I'm willing to bet many of those leftover fans started turning their time + money + attention elsewhere.

I don't know anyone in this city that watches CFL football. I'm not saying there aren't any, but even those who used to attend games rarely watch anymore.

But, again, this is all based on my 28 years experience in Ottawa (being a diehard RR/Renegades, Lynx, Senators, 67s fan) and my eyes being opened during my 3 years in Winnipeg (being a diehard Blue Bombers, Goldeyes, Moose fan). I've never seen passionate sports fans like that before, even among the casuals. Ottawa can't garner a crowd like that for anything but hockey. And history has proven that time and time again.

What's interesting now is that while a lot of people might have predicted that the CFL without Ottawa and 8 teams would be worse off, and I'm not denying that people say the CFL could use more teams, what has happened is the opposite, the CFL is as strong as it's been in over a decade or two and Ottawa isn't in the league any more. So while I'm rooting for a team in Ottawa again and at the same time hear that "no one watches the CFL in Ottawa" anymore, really, the CFL doesn't need Ottawa to be brutally honest, I know I certainly don't to keep enjoying the league as much as I do already now. If it doesn't work out for a team in Ottawa, oh well really, then the league can concentrate it's focus on another eastern market. Hopefully for everyone sakes a decision can be made on the stadium in Ottawa one way or another very soon and things can move forward or move on to perhaps a better potential market or two. The longer time drags on both Ottawa forgets about wanting pro football back in their town and fans like me from elsewhere forget the city ever had a team in the first place. Out of sight, out of mind sort of thing.

The improvement of the league is not tied in to Ottawa's demise though. At least not directly.

What has happened since the Renegades final season? The CFL got a new commissioner (that they actually support), started managing salaries better and increased its television money. If all those things were in place at the time the Renegades were active, they might, well, still be active.

It may be that Ottawa's demise caused the league to really look at its affairs more closely but that's the only way I could see the league improving as a result of Ottawa not being around.

Good points CRF. Also, the league had to attract some local people with money in Toronto or Hamilton soon back in the late 90's, early 2000's or else goodbye Hamilton and Toronto and maybe the league. They had to present a much tighter ship and model. The league was lucky Boy Young and Cynamon and Sokolowski got on board, very lucky but they made their own luck with this and yes, learned from the Ottawa situation no question.

Hey Saint Truth - looks like Winnipeg may not get their new stadium.
They are asking for at least another year to try to get financing in place!!!
Ottawa will have a new stadium long before Winnipeg

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I live smack in between Ottawa & Toronto, so as a kid I was lucky enough to get to check out both teams on many occasions. The attendance I saw at the Ottawa games was always pretty low... The stands were far from full, except from the first USA expansion game on Canadian soil (RR v the Gold Miners or whatever they were called)... I think that game was packed, but I could be wrong. In Toronto they don't do much better. For a huge city that size, only about 30k turn out per game... Or at least that was the average at the games I went to last year. Pretty low.

Now out west: Smaller populations, but they they go crazy & support their teams way better then we do here in Ontario. Sask fans are absolutely rabid (if not a little drunk)! I would love to go see a game there, it looks insane! Calgary & Winnipeg also both seem to support their CFL teams like champs.

I have forgotten now what my point was (having some pre-game rums)... Oh ya... When Ottawa gets back in the CFL fold we (I) need to do better to support them. I will be there... screaming my nuts off.

But not true about Ottawa attendance - if you go back and check you will find that the Renegades had the highest attendance in the East. Don't forget the 14 to 15,000 fans in Hamilton until Bob young bought the team. Toronto with their pathetic attendance. Ottawa was consistently above 20k
As for the attendance out west, please tell us something we don't know!

Toronto and Hamilton have a population base of 6 Million people to draw from and yet their attendance at both stadiums is pathetic. considering that Ottawa has abse (50 mile radius) of 1 million, I would say that Ottawa is much more ofa CFL city than the two Toronto teams.

Please remove your pink glasses...I live across the river had season tickets for both 'Gades & 'Als...and there was not 20K in the stands....sometimes not even 12K...but the PA would announced 15-16k...

Yeah maybe they were paid tickets, but when the league took over the 'Gades books after the Gliebs....there was a lot of evidence about crowd #'s tampering.....

Don't get me wrong, I want a team in Ottawa...I would buy season tickets again but I'm afraid it will be a 3rd strike to the team & CFL...since the hardcore fan support is there....but the regular joes just don't care....

Oh by the way...Hunt don't pull the same crap from Gliebs.....please advertise the team across the river and not just have a QB group/roast whatever it was called at Casino Lac-Leamy......once in a while....

I agree football and the CFL in Ottawa will be a tough go under the current CFL model, but if you want a nice summer and fall outdoor outing for sports, what options do you have for a product as good as the CFL? Not much I'd say, semi-pro baseball doesn't cut it and while CIS football is great, it's not the product the CFL is. Soccer, well, enough said on that one.

Be sure to be nice and loud. They love that in the Glebe.

I am not really that type myself. But I shall learn.

I would not say people don't care about sports in ottawa they do.Take the senators yes attendance maybe a down a bit but it will come back to beeing sold out if they keep playing well and working hard.Making the play offs is not the key its giving the fans a good show.The 67s are on of the top supported team in the country gatineau aslo does well but is hurt due to the small arena.Junior a even gets good support in some areas as well as jr b.As for the baseball the rapidz did ok attendance wise and the lynx at the start did real well fans wise.THe rebel did very good for the first year then moved to the civic center.