Market the Argos

YOU do it.

How do you "sell" the franchise to draw people? Its history? Championships? A charismatic player or two? How do you handle media that seems eager to kick you when you're down?

Let's hear your plan to get through the static and gets eyeballs turned your way.

Blue Jays draw really well on Sundays when they have promotional giveaways. Their Bobblehead Days in particular are so popular - where they give away a doll to the first 20.000 fans - not only do they sell out (45,000) but people are so anxious to get their hands on a bobblehead there are huge lineups before the gates even open two hours before game time. Other giveaways draw similar large early arriving crowds for giveaways like hats, jerseys, visors etc. All sponsored events where I'm sure it doesn't really cost the team much if anything for the giveaways and without a doubt it sells thousands of tickets on those dates.

Worth a try for the Argos to do something like and promote it like crazy with ads or help from the panel displaying the giveaway item on their games before the giveaway on TSN - much like the Jays do on Sportsnet where they promote the giveaways for a couple of weeks on Jays telecasts.

For the Jays that really does work. The pic below is from 11:00AM one mornning before the gates even opened for a 1:00PM game on a giveaway day. I think this was a bobblehead day. Why not do that for 2 - 3 home games each year with the Argos?

I believe you have to build through the youth of the community. Provide free or discounted tickets to schools and minor football. A coupon where kids get in free when a parent buys a ticket. From what I hear, Toronto media is an issue, many teams run a media training camp to get the locals on side. Quit talking about it and do something, complaining and making excuses won't help, action might.

Correction, no one has done any greater community work then the Argos for decades.
So that equation is out.
It's two things, the dome as word is definitely out on the street how it is a bad place to watch a football game.
The other is far more difficult and cannot be overcome for now as we are dealing with perception which has been falsely inbred over and over by the lame main stream media, especially mega Rogers owned, how all other sports in this wannabe US city except the Argos are major league.

Another fantastic idea from Argo T.... Oh wait. It's just another pointless slam against Toronto, it's media and the dome.

Back on topic...

I would apply an increase in grass roots promotion - youth and high school football ticket programs/ football camps. Rehab of fields in the region. Higher profile charity events and team breakfasts/ dinners. Season seat holder incentives. Increase media - advertising spots, signage and bar events. Season launch and end event for fans.

I am not the first to suggest the media bs hype of anything but the CFL and Argos, so go ahead answer the media thing?

Or the facility.

But the question is more; what do you do about it? Is there any way to turn the media? If you can't get them on your side (since some seem to have other interests) can you then at least get them to stop slamming you? How do you get on their good side?

Saying Rogers are the problem I think to a large degree that is excuse making and scapegoating - because they don't dominate the media marketplace in Toronto.

The fact of the matter is that the Bell owned TSN gets higher ratings than Sportsnet and the CTV station in Toronto is the highest rated evening and nightly news program - and CTV now also owns CP24 - the popular 24 hour news station. Those Bell owned local stations coverage of the Argos and the other Toronto area sports teams is not very much different from what you see on Rogers owned CITY-TV.

The other night the 11:30PM local CTV newscast sports report led with TFC's comeback win before the Argos. My Mom happened to have CP24 on as background noise Sunday morning for a couple of hours and every 20 minutes they were showing highlights of the TFC game and just mentioning the Argos score. I think I saw the Dafoe go ahead goal about 6 - 7 times over the two hours or so and maybe once did I see an Argos highlight.

So you can try to blame it on Rogers but TSN/Bell related stations in Toronto's coverage of the Argos is not any better for the most part.

Also Rogers don't own either the Sun or the Star so they are not responsible for the coverage or lack thereof for the Argos in the print media and on their websites either. And believe me those papers print what gets read and what gets the most clicks on their websites. If Argos stories were getting more clicks - there would be more stories and more coverage.

So I agree in addition to sponsored promotional giveaway days the ideas mentioned to gain support among young fans and at the grass root level would help. Also perhaps somebody in the organization should be more proactive in feeding stories to media and doing things like aggressively offering player availability on a regular basis to media, morning shows, drive home talking head shows etc to gain them more exposure in the media too.

MLSE teams are feeding out player interviews, player appearances, activities, charity work all the time through the team's website, on social media like facebook and twitter and on their stations like NBA Canada and Gol Tv and Leafs TV. Heck if Jermain Defoe sneezes - you might hear about it from three or four different social media/media sources.

Argos have to be as proactive blitzing their message out through every channel available. Messages often get shared or retweeted on the major media's twitter and facebook feeds - and that is how you get the word out.

But just trying to scapegoat one of the media companies isn't going to help them at all.

I said this years ago.
I think the league should partner with a premier trading card company and produce CFL cards. I have heard that there are some for sale but have never seen them. A promotion to go like this.

A pack of 2 or 3 cards given out to each youth at each game. Have a limited number of elite player - autographed cards. Have a few cards that contain prizes such as youth jerseys or on field passes, pre game passes, practice passes, etc. It would cost the league a lot of money but maybe, just maybe they can start building up youth fan base.
If this happened 15 - 20 years ago, some kids back then with a Flutie/Austin/Damon Allen autographed playing card, just have their own kids at games now…

Lots of good ideas but again grass roots campaigns to attract youth and diverse markets is the easiest and probably cheapest ways to develop a fan base. Life time fans start out at the basic level. I remembe when I was a kid growing up in Edmonton, we had the "knot hole gang", kids showing up at the games got cheap and or free tickets, they weren't the best seats in the house but we all started there and progressed to the good seats when we could afford to pay the full fare. I assume there must be some similar program in Toronto.

All kind of good ideas but they all cost money.

So we could also rephrase the question.

How do you get Braley/CFL to spend money marketing the team ?

Still no answer about how the 500k in marketing money the league gave the Argos was spent ?

That information “slipping? out may help negotiate a better deal at Mississauga, but Cohon took the public discussion a bit deeper Friday morning.

He floated the concept of the Argos' combining a new practice facility with a high performance centre that would help develop better Ontario football players, and which the league could use for talent development, the annual draft combine and other functions.

“(Argo owner) David Braley and (CEO) Chris Rudge are committed to making the Rogers Centre work as a place to play,? Cohon said, going on to speculate that what would really give the Argos their “home? identity in the GTA would be the permanent practice centre.

[url=] ... ats-argos/[/url]

I agree that it takes "grass roots" work;

I forget exactly what it was called, but I got to go to my first game through a partnership with MacDonalds (Junior Stampeders or something like that). Basically, I won tickets for me and a parent (my dad took me) and got notice from Ronald MacDonald (himself) that I had won (still have the letter, the used ticket stubs and some autographs I got at that first game, together with my own football memborabilia).

This year, I took my grandson to the Stampeder's "mock game" and BBQ at the start of the season. After the "game" we got to go on the field to meet some of the players. During the game he heard me and a few other fans cheering on Bo Levi Mitchel ("Go Bo!", "Nice Throw Bo!" etc) and so he had decided that Bo was his favorite player. When we went onto the field to meet the players, who was the first person he met ... Bo! He was so star struck (eyes like saucers). He got his autograph and a picture with Bo.

Now grandpa is going to have to buy him a "Mitchell" jersey (his current one is getting too small - I would gladly buy him a new jersey, even if it wasn't too small). Everytime he sees football on tv, he asks me "Is Bo playing?" (he is only 4 1/2). Next year I will be enrolling him in Timbits football locally (assuming his parents consent).

The point of all this is, I became a fan at an early age due to a "promotion" (my parents didn't have much money and without that promotion, I would never have been able to go to a game). My Grandson is becoming a fan for two reasons; 1) the open door policy from the Stampeders, which gave him a "personal connection" to the team, and 2) a Grandfather that is fostering that love of CFL football.


P.S. My wife loves the game after attending the Stampeder's "It's a snap" event - football training for ladies (and she also likes to go, because she likes to see my enthusiasm/passion for the game).

P.S.S. My Grandson has learned, every time he sees the green "S", he yells at the top of his lungs "RIDERS SUCK!" (not sure who taught him that, but good on them :twisted: )

Well, the first thing you do is you make pre-game an event, and tie the even with the market you are targeting. So, if you are appealing to teenage fans, you bring in a band that appeals to them and say "Concert here with purchase of ticket." as a general rule, you want a band that caters to the segment you are targeting, but doesn't alienate your other markets. I know many older folks didn't appreciate the rap show during the east semi-final last year (and maybe they feel that segment is more important) but a band with more universal appeal, and not necessarily a high cost helps things out. If you are targeting families, you offer low cost options for young fans and an inflatable play area at one of the stadium gates. If you are targeting older fans, you continue to have your retro days.

Second, you must have signage. Look at TravelPatB's photo. There is not a single Argo logo in that entire plaza. Sure, it's a Jays game...but that entire strip is the exact same during an Argo game. You NEED to get your own signage. When you are seeing more ads for the Marlies then the Argos on the walk to the dome, there is a problem.

Third, you need to build the game at the grassroots level, and this is incredibly hard in Toronto and even harder when the Varisty Blues and York U. both have lame duck teams, and have for ages. Not sure how much though you can do to build it up though, but given minor football 50/50 draws instead of the Rotary Club seems like a better idea.

Four, you adjust your ticket prices. A packed house is a good atmosphere, and half empty house kills the atmosphere. When you are playing out of a 50,000 seat stadium, charging 50+ for a silver ticket is absurd. Now that being said, this is a problem in itself as you can't price yourself out of the market either.

Five, you work with local businesses to advertise and ship people in. A couple of Argonaut coasters given to a bar, or a light fixture showing support for the team. You give local businesses discounted tickets so they can have the pre-game party make their money and then ship fans to the stadium.

That's just a few ideas, now sadly three of those five are directly linked to your stadium precient. Rogers probably won't allow a property party outside the stadium, they won't adjust the signage, and the venue is simply too large that if you got tickets down to the level they should be at to pack the place, you'd be losing your shirt.

There is no one to blame here. Yes Rogers does not promote the Argos but that is there choice. They own the Blue Jays and Rogers Centre and now part of MLSE so that is where they choose to promote and spend their money. MLSE has expanded from the Leafs to the Leafs/Raptors and owning Air Canada Centre. They chose to expand into the MLS with TFC as well as the Marlies in the AHL.
Both groups are just doing what is best for their business.
Bell is the only part of those groups that has an investment in the CFL. They have yet to back the Argos as an individual franchise in Toronto. They are the only group in Toronto that would have the ability to market the Argo's on a level that Rogers and MLSE can. Right now they are the only one that has anything to lose with a struggling Argo team.
If MLSE does buy the Argos then they would be able to promote them in Toronto at BMO field.
Right now there is no team in the CFL that can stand independent like the Argos are without any Partnering or backing of other groups to be profitable.
Braley owns the Lions who the province and city have invested in the top venue in Canada and have also supported having the Grey Cup in Vancouver at BC Place. The city of Toronto nor the province of Ottawa have chosen to spend and back there money on different things.
Montreal has Partnered with McGill which has seen a successful franchise because of this. The Als also have invested in sponsoring the Vanier Cup at McGill using the stadium asset and the popularity of CIS football in Quebec.

Someone will need to step up in GTA to put together a plan for the future and that can certainly happen but it is just not happening now.

I posted a reply on another Argos theme site but here is the basics:
Marketing, Marketing, Marketing.
From what I have heard on this site, is there is nothing marketed in Toronto for the CFL. We can blame the media, but if Braley and the CFL came forward buying ad spots on different the different media (pages, sites, channels) are they going to refuse money. Yes, Rogers doesn't carry the CFL, but if the CFL/Argos bought an ad on Sportsnet to come see the Argos at the Rogers Centre, are they going to turn that down?
Properly Priced Tickets: Based on Supply and Demand.
You don't want to give everything away for free but hearing the Argos charge over a hundred bucks a seat at a 1/4 full stadium doesn't not make sense. They need properly priced Season Tickets (promote with strong discount vs game day tickets) family packs (4 tickets for $50). Group Rates ( Group of 25+) Years ago the stamps had group deals for over 30 per group. I had season tickets at the goal line half way up for $90 (Including the ex game, $9/game) That is when the Stamps started turning around their attendance and selling out.
Community Football, Minor Football, High School Football, University Football and school random ticket draws Student Discounts
Focus on these groups with free tickets, heavily discounted group rates with Player autograph or meet and greet options.
Where you lose out on ticket dollars, concessions will be busy with this group.
While in Rogers Condense Ticket area to buy. Don't have everyone spread out. Limit tickets to 25000 available and dictate where the seating is. Promote to universities: University sections. Bring in University and High School Bands to promote atmosphere like the NCAA.
There are many ways to promote even in a city like Toronto, Braley saved the Argos, but it is time to start spending to promote the team, or cut losses and sell the team if there are suitors.

The Argos main problem is a lack of seasons ticket base, which has eroded after 25 years of televising Argo home games in Toronto, along with an unlimited supply of tickets at RC. It's not like Torontonians don't like football or the Argos, there is just little compelling reason to buy seasons tickets. So each game the Argos are starting off with very little pre-sale, relying on team performance and Grey Cups to draw the fans.

As soon as the Argos relocate to a 25,000-28,000-seat stadium, there will be demand to buy seasons tickets. With limited supply, if you want a good seat you'll need to buy seasons tickets.

This has been proven successful in other CFL markets like Montreal and Ottawa with 24,000 sellouts. There you need to buy seasons tickets (RB's at 16,000, Als 18,000?) or you'll be sitting at the goal lines.

So what's wrong with the Argos? Nothing an intimate 28,000-seat football stadium wouldn't fix. Then the Argos will rise from the ashes once again and become a modern day miracle story! :thup:

To me you have to fill the stadium to get the fun and exciting atmosphere going. So why wouldn’t they promote the team and game by making it super cheap? Its simple economics. If you can get 2 people into seats at $50 each, and you can get 5 people into seats at $20 each you still come out the same in terms of money, but you have 2.5 times as many people there … which means more excitement and fun for everyone. (Especially the players I bet.)

And that’s not even considering the concessions. The less people spend on tickets, the more they spend on concessions.

Seems like a no brainer to me :wink:

Student Sections...all CFL TEAMS MUST HAVE STUDENT SECTIONS....bombers did for years its a must....students bring energy to the game that simple that energy drives others to go that simple....discounted season tickets and game day seat for a section roughly 1500 fans....inexpensive fun for students ...hell they drink lots of is a must in all cfl stadiums...a must bombers need to bring it back that simple forget the gimmicks...I will say it again students bring games need that energy make these tickets the lost litre but make it up on the addition 25000 seat you sell real simple...done!!!!

TSN spots and docs, promotions (e.g. 2 for 1, under 12 Free, bobbleheads/patches, student/family plans etc) , co-promotions, raffles, memorabilia auctions, lotteries/picks, scratch and wins, corporate and local partnerships, autograph signings, additional charity/community events, billboards/signage, in-house social media commercials/spots, online weekly web/radio show with star guests (i.e. USTREAM), star creation, weekly media requests/articles, Pinball Clemons, Pinball Clemons, Pinball Clemons etc etc etc

and sell the team to MLSE or Bell/TSN and get into BMO asap.

Market the hell out of the Grey Cup. The Stanley Cup is pretty much seen as a sacred object in Canada.The Grey Cup needs to be seen in a similar light. Promote it as Canada's national championship of the uniquely Canadian game. Make winning it a source of national pride and bragging rights. Show how much it means to the rest of Canada.

I don't know if Toronto has much emotional involvement about who wins the Grey Cup right now and if not, then they won't care about whether the local team competes for it. If you can make people in Toronto care more about whether they have the best team in Canada, maybe they'll start showing up for the games.