See Yah to the CFL last post

My fellow CFL fans past, present and hopefully future.

I have read over the years dozens of posts regarding the state of the CFL game. The comments have been positive from the older fans but somewhat negative from the younger (millenniums) category. That is understandable, IMO there is a lot wrong with the CFL and without making hard decisions regarding its structure and regardless of its rich history the CFL will not survive long term. The most glaring flaw is the disparity between the teams in the East and West. As it stands the community owned teams, which are concentrated in western conference of the CFL post annual profits while the eastern conference of the CFL with stiff competition from Music, Film, Comedy along with cultural events post loss year after year. True other CFL cities do have events offering competition but nothing of the calibres of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. I find it ironic these three cities represent the larger populated market for the CFL and the marketing in these regions is lacking or non-existent. Consequently, the teams in these three cities are forced to do it (market) on their own. Montreal is focusing on available CFL players from Quebec, Toronto is creating buzz with MLSE backing and Vancouver retooling completely. Teams like Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Calgary & Edmonton will always have their fan base plus revenue with little to no competition for the sporting fan dollar. If the CFL wants to be regarded as a major professional sport you need the presence of the larger populated markets to attract players and revenue.

A while back the CFL expanded into the US and from the curiosity standpoint alone, it was successful for a noticeably short period of time, but with the lack of due diligence and management the project was doomed to fail. The CFL needs fewer failures going forward. Both CFL 2.0 and Halifax Schooner expansion seem to be necessary but at the same time, I do not think enough though has been put into either. The pandemic (COVID 19) has shown how fractured the business of the CFL is, what worked in the 70’s cannot be expected to be executed now or in the future, plus the teams never talk in terms of the league they all talk in silos each independent of the next. As I read in an earlier post the CFL consists of a larger “Remember When” aging fan base that want the CFL to remain the same. How can a league expect growth with that thinking? The CFL has an aging fan base with little appeal to millenniums generation with limited knowledge targeting that demographic.

The Canadian sports fan is exposed to NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB & MLS in all the major markets and to some degree in the smaller markets. Essentially this is choice presented to the sporting to participate in person or on television. Though the CFL is not mentioned there is a place for it but is will require but its real work and leadership. Lastly, I believe the question must be asked “What does the CFL want go be.”

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Guilty as charged.

To me, you have to get people into the stadium to grow a fan base. I find there is a different reaction people experience when they see an event live. Whether a sporting event, concert, play, recital, whatever. Even watching a movie is more exciting, more enjoyable, at the theatre than in your own home. Once people see a few games live, and feel the excitement of the crowd, they are more likely to become fans. I’m sure that is why teams new to an area hand out the free tickets. Get the people coming, and hope to build your fan base.

The former program that involved grocery stores, minor sports teams, cub packs and scout troops introduced a lot of kids to the game, who later in life, became paying customers. For a number of years my sister-in-law used to buy me a discount book for Hamilton businesses, which included various Ti-Cat discount combos. Two for one, kids free etc. Plus, get the kid interested, and he or she may get after Mom and Dad to take them. The first time I took my grandson to a game, the ticket rep offered me a half priced ticket for him.

Do more family oriented packages - discounts on hot dogs, chips, fries (and then actually cook them), discounts on souvenirs like the foam claws, pennants, inflated boom clapper things, anything that kids like.

The heck with “millennials” who want to stand about drinking beer, and who will turn their back on you to play on their phone or chase the next fad. Go after families, cater to the kids, and look to the future.

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Like the old rider rookie section. Used to be 50 cents for the kids to sit in there , and the parents would find them after the game. Maybe $5. Now would be comparable.

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If you ask any of the millennials about the aspects of the game, very few will be inclined to name any of the offensive lineman or anybody on defense.

They go to these big time games to be seen not to watch.

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I can remember when I was a youngster back in the 1980's the same concern existed; a lack of interested from the up and coming generations. Yet myself and my childhood friends all follow the CFL and regularly attend games and some (including me) are now 2+ decade season ticket holders.
There is one and only one way to remedy lack of interest for the each team in this league......winning. You mention the lack of interest in the east, blaming more more options for the entertainment dollar. Yet, not that many years ago the Alouettes had a waiting list for season tickets, regularly had 60K+ for playoff games at Big O and were as, if not more popular than the Canadiens. What was the reason?- Producing a top tier team year in and year out!

Also not that many years ago, the Argos enjoyed being the most popular game in town by winning the 100 Grey Cup at home with a massive increase in season tickets the following year. What changed for these teams was losing their winning ways.

Conversely The Stampeders had huge attendance issues in the 1980's followed by huge increases in the 90's and today. What brought me and my friends to the stadium? Winning!
The fact is, teams have tired gimmicky promotions, yet nothing works.
A jump in the standings always means a jump in attendance.

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When the Lions were winning and finished at the top of the West Division, you had crowds of 32000 plus.

A 1-9 record at home won't much to increase attendance.

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By "you had crowds or 32000 plus" you mean the Lions right?

Sorry, my bad. I meant they.

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But signing Mike Reilly was supposed to increase attendance. A lot of publicity over the signing and season ticket holders renewed faster than ever. But he failed to increase the season ticket base then a terrible season.

Fans always seem to put the blame on marketing but I disagree, in Toronto MLSE has done a lot of marketing with the Argos, everything from the concerts to bobblehead nights, ads on the TTC, $5 draft beer, $20 tickets (that don't sell) a lot of talk about the Argos finally getting outside and no conflicts with the Jays and mostly Friday night/Saturday games.
It's a great time there but just not enough interest in Toronto

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True...the same happened in Ottawa. With no Als to root for, I became a riders fan. The stands were so empty, we’d go to the end zone nosebleeds and sneak smokes ‘cause no one was within 40 yards of us.
A team can have a bad year or two and still draw fans. More than that and some teams wil be in trouble, mostly eastern teams.
The bigger the fan base, the emptier the stands with this league.
I blame basketball.

This exactly makes my point. Winning is key, Mike Reilly simply didn't win in 2019, hence slumping attendance

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I thought that's what you meant, I was just making sure

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If you're referring to 2012, I heard that the Argos season ticket base actually went down after that season.

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Season ticket bases generally go down after a hosting year as there's a one year bump.

The season ticket base increased after the 2017 win

They were never the "most popular game in town" - not even in the 70s, and most definitely not in 2012. Not sure where you get that idea. Few cared when they won the 100th Grey Cup. And they won again in 2017, and even less cared - so winning isn't the solution.

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Oh I disagree. They experienced a brief boost after that with great enthusiasm in the city. They just could not sustain it

At the same time, season ticket bases are also supposed to up after winning a championship, which it didn't after 2012.

I wanted to make another comment. I may have misspoke regarding a season ticket boast after 2012..
The Argos are a very interesting team, the last 20-30 years (with a few exceptions of 91,96,97) , the Argos have not been a very good team, yet every 5-10 years they manage to pull their socks up and go on a great playoff run, winning a cup that just takes everyone by surprise. Could they actually contend more consistently, they would do better attendance wise.

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In 2012 there was an artificial bump when they were hosting the game. Many were never going to renew anyways

Average attendance increased after their 2004 win too yet decreased after they hosted in both 2007 and 2016 for the same reasons