Ottawa RedBlacks not used to empty seats
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 04, 2015 11:28 PM EDT
[b]The RedBlacks are hoping to sell more tickets to Tuesday night's game, which was rescheduled to TD Place after the Argos had to vacate the Rogers Centre for the playoff-bound Blue Jays.
It's likely the Ottawa RedBlacks will have a lot less than a full house on Tuesday night in a bonus home game against the Toronto Argos.
Right now, ticket sales are a bit above 11,000 in the TD Place stadium that holds more than 24,000.
There's still plenty of time to buy tickets, which range in price from $19-$84, for a game that features two teams involved in a dogfight for top spot in the CFL East Division.
While it may not be The Battle of Ontario, where the Maple Leafs and Senators go toe-to-toe, this game means plenty. The RedBlacks are tied with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, at 8-5, for first place, with the Argos one win behind and with a game in hand on both.
"We sell a few more tickets every day. It's going to be interesting to see what kind of walk-up sales we get," said Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group president Jeff Hunt. "It's uncharted territory for us to have so many tickets to sell in such a short period of time. But I was talking to some other teams in our league and they're all pretty impressed that we've sold as many tickets as we have in such a short period of time.
"Again, it's a Tuesday night. It's an off night. When you put it all together, it's going to be different to see a smaller crowd at TD Place, but I have no doubt in my mind, it will still be a great experience."
It was supposed to be a home game for the Argos, who were forced to consider moving the game with the possibility the Toronto Blue Jays would host a Major League Baseball wild-card playoff game on that date. After looking at a couple of alternatives, the Argos settled on Ottawa. In a "partnership" with the RedBlacks, Toronto will get a 50/50 split of gate receipts, but will be on the hook for its own travel expenses. Sure sounds like a win-win for Ottawa, which gets an extra home date out of the deal.
"It's a bonus for us to convert an away game to a home game," said Hunt. "Turning a road trip into a home game, if you can do that, you'll take it."
The biggest hiccup is likely the timing. A school night, early in the middle of a work week, isn't exactly ideal. But again, the RedBlacks weren't about to turn down the opportunity to get in an extra home date.
"If we had a regularly scheduled game on a Tuesday night, we'd have been worried about that from the beginning of the year," said Hunt. "It's just not a good night for any sport in any city. It's a real challenge. I'm pleased with the response we've gotten. I've had other teams tell me, 'We would not have sold that many tickets in the same circumstances.' It's a testament to how great the fans are that we've done as well as we have."
Last Saturday's 39-17 throttling of the Montreal Alouettes was also played in front of a less-than-full stadium, with about 3,000 tickets unsold. Maybe it's the chilly weather that kept the fans away. Or maybe it was something else ...[/b]
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