Could Toronto sports fans be experiencing an outbreak of common sense? The fact they aren’t scooping up tickets for next month’s NFL non-event between the Toronto Argonauts of The South and the New York Jets suggests so. Blue Jays season ticket holders who placed their deposit and scheduled payments by Nov. 27, 2009, will receive two complimentary tickets to the Dec. 10 meeting between Our Buffalo Bills and the Jets.If all the Blue Jay subscribers (mainly corporate) take them up, that's nearly 20,000 free tickets! Hard to believe that some people paid over $500 a ticket as part of an 8-game package. Like the publicized father and son last year who spent $1800 to see the game. You have to feel sorry for them, but Rogers did announce they were giving 25% refunds to anybody who bought 8-game packages (about 8,000). There's also talk of several other free Bills ticket promotions in Toronto...plus tickets are heavily discounted to all Rogers employees nationwide.
NFL tickets have always been a tough sell in Canada (except maybe in Buffalo). The first American Bowl in Toronto had ticket sales stall at 17,000, even with the locally-popular Browns playing and the tickets being dirt cheap...they had to paper the crowd to draw about 30,000, but claimed 42,000. Then the next American Bowl with a dream match-up between the Bret Favre and the Packers against the Bills, saw ticket sales stall at 32,000, despite thousands of cheeshead and Buffalo fans buying tickets. Again they had to give away major promos. P. Godfrey claimed attendance of 56,000, (in a 52,000 seat stadium), which he later admitted was inflated...but there were very empty sections of blue seats at Skydome, so the actual attendance was probably closer to 45,000 (not including concession workers, stadium staff and hotel patrons )
The American Bowl in Vancouver featuring the local Seahawks against the potent 49'ers sold 30,000 tickets, (many of which were part of a promotional package with the Lions), then they papered a few thousand more, claiming 40,000 attendance (in the 60,000-seat BC Place), but it looked more like 30,000.
Rogers this year, after losing $20 million with the Blue Jays and paying $9 million for the rights to the Bills game in Dec., can't feel too good about announcing this 20,000 ticket give-away, but they have to reasonably fill the stadium or they'd have continental-wide egg on their face...(Rogers is on the hook for another $18 million next year for two Bills games, including an exhibition game. Yikes!)