Montreal Machine vs Montreal Alouettes

Being fascinated with stats, I found this one to be puzzling...or maybe not..

When the Als folded in 1987, the last season average total was 10,587 per game
And when the Als franchise was reinstated in 1996, the average was 22,247, followed by 9,585 and 16,147 in 1997 and 1998 respectively.

Yet, when the Montreal Machine franchise(of the WLAF a subsidiary of the NFL)came to town in the early 90's, this team averaged 31,888 in their first year of play and 25,254 in the second.

Why such an attendance discrepancy in favor of the American game over a much storied CFL franchise?

The answer I'm afraid is painfully simple:
Both Toronto and Montreal are big cities
Cities with international standing and recognition.

The CFL...right or wrong...is viewed by many as being a bush-league lesser light of "real" professional football.
The NFL
In my many attempts to understand Montrealers lack of interest in the Alouettes
I've come to the realization that it's a matter of civic pride.
CFL means second best.
As a result...it is beneath the notice of such a great international metropolis.

Watching the games this weekend
I couldn't help thinking that given a chance
More people would fall in love with the game...as we have.
It's so exciting and unpredictable...glorious
But the very factors that make it unique and so great...
Simply reinforce the pre-conception that it's a silly aberration
Beneath our notice and beyond contempt

I doubt that will ever change
And I fear for the team should they ever seriously stumble
The 3rd time will definitely not be lucky.

Sadly, those were my thoughts as well Senor.

It is with great pain for me to see such discrepancy in the U.S. vs Canadian football interest, that I cannot fathom.

Then again, I reside in a smaller market, unlike Toronto and Montreal, and therefore likely more immune to the hype and glitz of the NFL/American football.
As well, I find the American game tedious and predictable in comparison to the CFL.

What I found even more troubling about the aforementioned attendance figures is that the WLAF was a developmental league for the NFL (hence 2nd tier or semi-professioanl) and yet still outdrew the Als easily. :frowning:

I stand to be corrected on this, but weren`t there stories of the Machine papering the house?

As for the ongoing CFL/NFL debate, why do they have to be compared? They are 2 different games. The CFL is like pizza and a cold beer out on a terrace, the NFL like a steak dinner and good bottle of wine. Totally different but both enjoyable in their own way.

There is one element that's a bit sensitive but needs to be brought up
This desire to be thought of as a great metropolis
Is present to a greater degree in Montreal
Because of the language situation
And the isolation and niggling sense of inferiority
Of a French "nation" in a vast sea of Anglo

The rather "sketchy" coverage in the French Press
(just look how daily coverage on CKAC slowed to a trickle when the NFL season started)
Has a lot to do with the phenomenon
Whether they are creating the situation or simply representing the lack of interest is another question.

One can hardly expect to be considered the major city
Of a great nation
If one wholeheartedly embraces a second-rate team
In a second-rate game.

While the game has made great strides against this mind-set
Certainly in promoting the game at the highschool and college levels
The general population remains untouched
And unconvinced.

The conveyance of my post is not about which game is better, it is about why Montreal fans had more interest in a an American football farm team over a long storied CFL team.

Went to the Machine's games , all of them (still have a game jersey and couple tshirts). Really great colour scheme too...

At the time the media was spinning this as a test market for potential NFL expansion, that was one of the reasons for the excitement that contributed to fans coming out and also Media talking it up like crazy.

First season went great but Montreal lost its 3 best players. At the time players were on loan from NFL teams and then Montrealers realized they were a farm team for the NFL and interest dropped sharply and quickly.

So basically positive push by the media and innuendos by the NFL created a buzz. At the time Montreal Machine probably had the best attendance of any of the franchises at least in the first year. After two years the NFL cut out the North American markets, probably because of the high cost associated with cross atlantic travel.

thanks HfxTC

Sadly, It seems as though Montreal and Toronto would much prefer having an NFL team over their long serving CFL franchises.

Why do large Canadian Metropolitans dearly wish to be more American?

Is it conditioning?
Indifference to our culture?
Jealousy of our border cousins?
Snobbery?
All of the above?

Image is made by the media... That's how it works. They decide what is cool and "in" and most of the polulace follows. CFL has an image problem in Toronto and to a lesser extent in Montreal because the media does not cover them so it must mean they are not worth their time. CFL does not have the money or the means to punch through that stigma.

At least that's my unscientific rational.

True.
Apple Inc. didn't get to be the largest corporation in the world without the "hip" "cool" image factor marketing model.

Now it's time to do something similar with the CFL.

The CFL mission statement/motto of "This is Our League" may be warm and fuzzy to those of advanced age, although the young gens do not care and have little patriotic loyalty.
The league needs to revamp it's current image model and use some creative ingenue to reach this generation or years of lost potential will arrest progress.

Absolutely, I recall reading how the house was papered big time like here in Toronto for every Bills game.
No one would pay real money to watch either crap quality of American football.

Papered or not, I'm still surprised over 51,000 turned out for the last game.

The Argos should paper the heck out of their games and get some noise and ambiance in that building.
This will provide added motivation and incentive for the players as well as a sense of pride.

Je crois que l'intérêt pour le football américain à cette époque n'était qu'apparent et purement contextuel. Les Alouettes sont disparues en 1987 parce que les Montréalais étaient habitués à endosser des équipes gagnantes et les Alouettes-Concordes-Alouettes n'en étaient plus et les Canadiens venaient de gagner une autre Coupe Stanley. Les amateurs se sont donc retrouvés sans équipe jusqu'à l'apparition de la Machine. Comme il s'agissait alors du seul football joué à Montréal, tous les amateurs (LCF et NFL confondus) s'y sont présentés jusqu'à ce que la ligue meure de sa belle mort. Les choses ont changé depuis l'arrivée des Stallions en Alouettes, et il y a maintenant plus d'amateurs de football qui suivent les Alouettes que d'amateurs d'équipes gagnantes.

Je parle beaucoup de football et des Alouettes dans mon entourage, et pour ceux qui ne s'intéressent pas tant au football, plus de 95% d'entre-eux me parlent des Alouettes plutôt que du football américain. On m'en parle lors du Super Bowl, mais ça s'arrête là pour le football américain.

Ceci pour dire que l'apparent attrait des amateurs de football montréalais pour le football américain existe beaucoup plus dans la tête de certains chroniqueurs francophones dépassés qu'auprès des amateurs. Les journaux francophones de Montréal consacrent généralement 2 pages 2 fois par semaine au football américain et ½ ou 1 page une fois par semaine au football canadien. Ces journaleux amateurs de sports se nourrissent encore et toujours de leurs préjugés et de leur condescendance, et croient que le football de la LCF d'aujourd'hui est encore celui qui se jouait à l'époque de Gerry Dattilio. La plupart du temps, ils ne parlent pas des Alouettes sauf à travers leur chapeau, et seulement pour en médire, parce qu'ils rêvent encore (l'Alzheimer est précoce chez eux) d'une équipe de la NFL à Montréal. C'est leur rêve, pas celui des Montréalais, ni de la plupart des amateurs de football de Montréal.

Je vous dis ceci : amenez une équipe de la NFL à Montréal et elle ne fait pas une saison. Le Stade Olympique est trop petit pour rentabiliser une machine aussi coûteuse que le football de la NFL, et de toute façon, à moins que l'équipe ne piétine sur la ligue semaine après semaine, le stade ne va voir 12 000 mordus de NFL de la ligue essayer de créer une atmosphère dans son immense espace, avant de voir l'équipe disparaître l'air piteux. Il y a 5 fois plus d'intérêt pour la NFL à Toronto, et lorsque les Bills sont en ville, Rogers doit donner les 2/3 des billets pour essayer de laisser croire que ça intérresse les Torontois. Et même à ça, il n'y a que 33 000 personnes dans un stade qui en contient au moins 40 000. Saviez-vous que quelqu'un qui arbore une pancarte ou un chandail "CFL is the best" dans le stade Rogers lors des matchs des Argonauts se fait sortir du stade par les agents de sécurité? Pourtant les Argonauts vendent plus de billets que la NFL.

Par ailleurs, ce qu'on oublie beaucoup, c'est que la vie culturelle est très active à Montréal. L'offre de divertissement y est très diversifiée et réussir à attirer de grandes foules (40 000 et +) partie après partie à Montréal relève passablement de l'utopie pour l'instant. Lorsque cette diversité s'est accentuée, les Alouettes ont fermé les portes et les Expos ont fini par disparaître aussi. Même le festival de jazz ne parvient pas à maintenir son achalandage avec le jazz : c'est devenu un festival de n'importe quoi avec aussi un peu de jazz (on y a même vu KC and the Sushine Band!?!?!). C'est pour dire que le Festival de fraise de Ste-Madeleine draine aussi du public aux grands évènements.

La question linguistique? Je crois qu'elle n'est pas d'actualité dans l'équation d'aujourd'hui, sinon pour dire que la couverture médiatique des Alouettes dans les média francophones est généralement mauvaise, bourrée de préjugés archaïques et médisante. Pourquoi? Les journaleux amateurs de sports de Montréal préfèrent rêver de couvrir un match à Kansas City ou Phoenix plutôt qu'à Regina ou Edmonton. C'est complètement idiot parce que les villes canadiennes n'ont rien à envier aux villes américaines.

There isn't a city in North America where there is more competition for the entertainment dollar, especialy in the summer months. Its borderline insane to the point where they have to turn some stuff away. This is what the Als compete with

NHL hockey
F1 Grand prix
NASCAR Race (most years)
Just for Laughs Festival
Montreal Jazz Fest
Cirque du Soleil
Cavalia
Six Flags
International fireworks Festival
Tennis
Super Motocross

That's just the permanent fixtures plus all the multi-cultural stuff.

Not to mention the NFL is marketed to the nth degree even here in Canada. Games can be found on canadian stations who carry the us feeds. (CTV, Global and TSN) whereas TSN (and RDS here in Quebec) are the sole stations who provide CFL games.

Agreed tony.
The American game is force fed to Canadians, by Canadian broadcasters and Media.

The reversal would never occur in the U.S. with any Canadian sport.

I remember reading many an article regarding American imports who come up north to play and remark that they had never even heard of the CFL to that point and/or were surprised at the long history of the game.

It is a shame our game was altered beyond the border, as Canadian football is exciting as heck.

Both games have their own merit. What I like about the CFL is that I can follow the league as a whole because there are 8 teams. Following the NFL with its huge rosters is pretty much impossible to do on that level. I can watch matchups and anticipate coaching strategies. The schedule is not weighed like in the NFL where weak sisters are matched against weak sisters. There is a lot to like about the CFL IMO and it does not affect me if others don’t. It does not change my enjoyment of our league one bit.

Could not agree with you more.

Similar sentiments here.
I'd much prefer an 8 team league over a 30 team league any day, regardless of sport genre.

Having said that, I'd still prefer a 10-12 team league over an 8 team league though....

The Al's overall attendance in 2010 was ~28,000 which included the Eastern Final, and not much worse this year. After over 15 years back in the CFL, that is a pretty good number. I doubt the Montreal Machine would have maintained over 15,000/game after the third year had they survived, the novelty had worn off. Montreal football fans know Canadian rules football is a better game than the American one, and remember the Als averaged over 50,000/game in the late 1970's.