The problem with the Ti-Cats...

All this talk about the stadium got me thinking, what really is the root cause of all this.

Firstly: The team can't make money at its current location. Thats obvious, and certainly location is a huge issue.

I was thinking about it though, and I'm only 26 but i ALWAYS remember the Ti-Cats being in trouble. How do you not sell out seats at $12??? So I just Google'd "Hamilton low income" and perhaps this is the problem. I never realized to what level the city was poor(relatively) to the average in this country. I mean I worked downtown Hamilton for 11 months and could see it, but didn't realize how bad off most of the core of the city is.

That being said, this town is going to get worse(speaking about jobs) before it gets better. Will a new stadium really make this team profitable? Or for all the Caretakers good intentions, if he truly was a smart business man (and treating this is a business) should he bail for somewhere on the mountain where people can most afford to go to a game?

Something I was just wondering. I certainly think the stadium will help, but when you have such a large number of people on welfare does it really matter where the stadium is?

Am I way off base here?

Good observation, personally I have always felt the mountain was the best place for a new stadium. However there is a concern that the teams fan base comes from the downtown core. I think the team knows best since they are the ones selling the tickets to the general public and have a record of were their fans live.
It could be argued that moving the team to the mountain would create a new and possibly larger fan base.
In the end it doesn't matter to me. I drive in from out of town and just want a decent place to park that isn't 12 blocks away from the front gate.

brad and mopar, can you guys please move your posts to the stadium thread. It's closing in on 99 pages and your thoughts here would cerainly add to the discussion in that thread. :thup:

Yes you are way off base. No it has nothing to do with being "poor" the area has probably close to 7 Million people the largest populated area in the country. There are very few poor people and most are in what some people call the old or inner city. You are assuming that If these people had money would they spend it on football? I doubt it and it wouldn't make any difference. You also make the same mistake that a lot of people do in Hamilton, that the Ticats are somehow only allowed to get their fans from Hamilton itself not the outying region.
One problem is the location of the stadium if it was outside the city in the Burlington/Aldershot/403 area close to the West Toronto market I'm sure they could lure more people to the games. But another big problem is lack of interest. I'm sorry to say that besides NHL hockey Canadians are just not interested in sports.
In an area of 7 million people you may get 20 to 23,000 at a Ticat game, the same for an Argo game. The Blue Jays have steadily declined I think they are around 10,000 a game. Not sure about the basketball team.
We've become a nation of watching sports on TV.

Yes you are off base

Here is something else to think about and comparison.
Would you say we have less or more poor than Detroit?
Detroit like Hamilton has quite a few poor people living downtown or close to it. Detroit has a smaller population.
Yet the Lions a pretty mediorcre and bad team can average 60,000 fans a game, the Tigers can average 30,000 a game for 50 or 60 home games? The Red Wings 20,000 a game, the Pistons around the same!
All of these teams are located in the downtown area. I assume most of their fans come from the surrounding suburbs into the downtown for the games.
There are dozens of other examples of similar US cities with smaller population to draw from.

Do the US cities have more pride in their sports teams? yes

Are Americans more interested in sports than Canadians? yes

Is it apathy in Canada? yes

Yes you are way off base
No it has nothing to do with welfare rates.

Here is something else to think about and comparison.

Would you say we have less or more poor than Detroit?
Detroit like Hamilton has quite a few poor people living downtown or close to it. Detroit has a smaller population.
Yet the Lions a pretty mediorcre and bad team can average 60,000 fans a game, the Tigers can average 30,000 a game for 50 or 60 home games? The Red Wings 20,000 a game, the Pistons around the same!
All of these teams are located in the downtown area. I assume most of their fans come from the surrounding suburbs into the downtown for the games.
There are dozens of other examples of similar US cities with smaller population to draw from.
Do the US cities have more pride in their sports teams? yes
Are Americans more interested in sports than Canadians? yes
Is it apathy in Canada? yes

Ya I think I would tend to agree with you guys. Realistically, regardless of welfare or low income, $12 to see a game is not going to make or break the majority of peoples financial situation. I just thought it might have something to do with it (income) and maybe it has a small bit to do with it. Or, maybe, people have something better to do for $12.

Though after the playoff game, or the last Sask game, I don't see how anyone can be apathetic about this team...

There's no way a casual fan at the play off game in that last hour was not pumped up and then hugely depressed afterward... I dont see someone leaving IWS apathetic..

Look at Pittsburgh compared to Hamilton - it's population is down to 315,000, smaller than Hamilton, their poverty rate is 20% , similar to Hamilton. There are around 2.5 million within a 50 mile radius, which is quite a bit less than the 50 mile radius around Hamilton. Cities in the US have been hit harder by the recession than Canada but they still support their sports team. They love their sports team and support through thick and thin.

Interesting that they have a beautiful new football stadium on the waterfront and average 62,000 a game at Heinz field. The Pirates play at a beautiful park downtown PNV field and average over 30,000. The Penquins average over 18,000. Pit has a basketball stadium that seats 12,500 for college basketball.

I love my CFL so lets begin with that, but my point is you cant compare a NFL team with a CFL team for generating fans! Example also is our Hamilton Bulldogs are in the playoffs and will most likey win the Cup, but still they have a problem getting HAlf the Collisium filled, but when they bring a NHL team to Hamilton it will Be sold out for the most part! Two different leques = two different fan based! :rockin:

Canada is a very odd country when it comes to sports and then you have large cities, smaller cities and rural communities.

I guess if there is one thing I'll say about sports in Canada is as a whole it tends to lack cohesiveness compared with the US, it's bascially scattered all over the place other than hockey which seems to be where the focus is probably because it's the only sport that Canada produces large numbers of players able to make it in one of the big 4 leagues in North America. So it's only natural that's where the emphasis will be. In the US other than hockey, most players come from the US, particularly in football. But I'm not saying anything new. Hockey is an easy sport to watch from a mental point of view and so is baseball. Football, if you haven't been raised with it, is confusing for people in Canada I think, it's too complicated for them it seems with all the strategy. I can appreciate that for the average Canadian about football.

Fortunately guys and gals, we are not the average Canadian us gridiron fans and especially Canadian football fans where we really have to look for information for Canadian football as it's not all over at all the American TV networks which a lot of people watch and say if it's not on an American network or it's not hockey, then I don't "get" the sport or show. :wink:

not to be argumentative but i think you guys should look into the facts that were stated about Detroit, i don't think they were all that acurate; starting w/ Hamilton is bigger then Detroit???News to me...
And the Basket-Ball team is in Ann Arbour, similar to Ottawa having it's Arena in Kanata...

I am going to bet not many of the posters here have visited Ford Field. I attend Lions games from time to time and also visit Detroit for other reasons as well. The last Lions game I attended was vs Arizona this past season. The attendance was announced 55000 but unless its 100000 stadium there were no more the 25000 at best. I believe the only reason for the lack of fans is that this team is so bad and stays so bad.

That said though lets talk stadium. Ford Field is in town down and backs on to busy Interstate 75. Although the stadium was half empty the area was booming and full of life. The area is an entertainment complex consisting of Casino's restaurants and shopping as well as the arena and stadiums. Had the Casino patrons decided to take in the game they could have sold out in a heart beat. It all comes from to location and ENTERTAINMENT and nothing else.

Side note, Visit town down Detroit's entertainment district and you will come away saying, I wish Hamilton was like that.
Believe it or not.

The thing is with the Falls so close by as an enteratainment centre, and Toronto, I think Hamilton should focus more on what it does best, the waterfalls which it's promoting great, the escarpment through the city, RBS of course, conservation areas, a more or less green approach that is different from Toronto and the Falls. This is where I'd like to see Rheem, as I've mentioned, tie into this as a mini-type conservation area linked to the harbourfront and harbourfront trail with the sailing there and that. That's where I see that the strength in Hamilton lies and with it being different from the Falls and Toronto, a sort of respite half way through.

Now for the location of the stadium, as I've mentioned I'd be so happy for it to be at Rheem for selfish reasons, we love going there now for the peace and tranquility of the harbourfront and trail there and watching the sailboats. But again, playing on Hamilton's strength being right halfway between the Falls and Toronto with so many cars, it should be visible from the highway and with the stadium, show a mini-waterfalls and promote Hamilton from the outside in using the stadium to visit all our green stuff. Trying to get people to downtown with the CFL from out of town isn't going to work well I don't think, it's not the NHL which in most peoples minds around here is what will really get them downtown for sports, but having people say when driving down the QEW, hey, Hamilton, something different down there, a quiet respite. Put a hotel near the Rheem site as well maybe.

That's the way I see it from my perspective.

This is an interesting topic. Thanks to the member who posted it in a new thread because it goes far beyond the "stadium debate".

Having had many personal conversations and interactions with the current owner and management, I've thought a lot about this subject on a "big picture" level and, as I see it, they are caught in a delicate dilemna. I believe they are smack dab in the middle of a huge transition period between the need to keep alive, the history and traditions of a storied franchise , with all the quaint memories that the old die hard fans of decades past hold dear, against the new realities of the needs and wishes that the new demographic of a younger, perhaps a less hardy and more spoiled audience might bring. (When I say spoiled, I mean they are used to easy, painless access to entertainment and have a multitude of options when deciding on where to spend their entertainment dollars......)

The days of the Tiger-Cats having a relatively captive audience from the city core are over and the need to spread their wings to a larger market and potential fan base is's a simple reality. It's also a reality that they need more revenue streams than just ticket sales to parking, beer and liquor sales etc.

How can they achieve this?


They need an all inclusive venue which supplies all the above to the consumer who is willing to spend relatively huge bucks as long as they are royally entertained for 3-5 hours.........the NFL, NASCAR and even locally, Flamborough Downs, Marineland, African Lion Safari, Canada's Wonderland and the C.N.E all "get" this concept and is the reason why they are so successful........they maximize the opportunities to bring in as much revenues as they can from us whenever they have our attention ie: our attendance at their venues

So, if the Tiger-Cats need a venue which is much more likely to tap into the bigger dollars which access and visibiliy on a major highway will bring, it can't be looked at as a slag against the older fan base which just bought a ticket, took the bus and spent precious little else at the game.....and brown bagged their food and booze because they came from an era of being very conscious of their monthly disposable income.

It's a new era of potential fans and yes, they tend to spend a little more liberally than the past as long as you locate where they can get to your product very easily. The Silver City chain of movie theatres and big box store complexes illustrates this concept.

The notion that the Tiger-Cats, through a West Harbour stadium, are somehow obligated to be part of some sort of urban renewal plan of a Mayor and Council who know very little about business, is ridiculous.

Thanks for reading my thoughts on the matter.

@Deerhunter Sounds like you just basically echoed what that study (Deloitte?) brought up. The fact that to be viable the fans need to have options outside of a 2-3 hour visit to the stadium. I think you are spot on with your post.

Back to my original point re: low income... how much of the Cats current fanbase is going to spend money on the same things I spend money on. For example Me and my friends when we go out, we like to make a whole night of it. IE restaurant for dinner, movie, then drink. Me and my friends can substitute the movie with a game. But not at this point in time, they would have to do what one poster said has been done in Detroit and which is recommended in that study.

What worries me in all of this is the past history of attendance.
Since the Caretaker took over the game day experience at IWS has been second to none.
The Tiger-Cats are going through an exciting period of re-building with a good coaching staff and probably the best GM any team has ever had.
Yet last year we have seen a paltry 18 thousand fans turn out on a beautiful sunny day.
What is wrong here? Surely if you are a Tiger-Cat fan these are terrific what's keeping people away?
IWS is still one of the best stadiums in the CFL despite its age and location.
If I was the Caretaker I would really be concerned about the potential for growth.
Where will all the needed fans come from if a new stadium is available? Why are they not around now?
Can the Rheem site attract another 10 thousand fans for each game? Can a stadium in the Aldershot area, on the Mountain or anywhere else in the city also attract that many? I am beginning to wonder if that is possible.
The opportunities to take part in many other sports is easily available now. Kids have a lot more choices than ever before.
Football has been the traditional spectator sport for Hamilton. When I was in high school in Hamilton it was the Jr Red Wings and the Tiger-Cats. But the big sports heroes were Tiger-Cats.
If the Tiger-Cats are to grow enough to justify huge expenditures by the team on a new stadium, there has to be some indication that an increased fan base is waiting in the wings to return to the fold.
I am not sure that is the case. Many people are involved in other sports and other pastimes and there is only so much money to go around for entertainment.
We like to laugh at Toronto not attracting good CFL crowds. Maybe that is the future. New immigrants who like sports are more interested in soccer, rugby and cricket. I suspect the whole GTA is going that route and football will suffer in the future.
I see much more chance for growth in eastern Canada and also out west. But with the population mix in the GTA I do not see CFL football gaining many new fans.
The CFL and the Grey Cup have been a big part of our history......but it's hockey that thrives in the GTA not football.
I am not trying to be pessimistic but times are changing rapidly.
If there are still reasons for CFL growth in the GTA...I sure would like hear why. Maybe I am missing something.

deerhunter, 62, brad etc. all you make great points. I think it's all pointing to, and I'm the first to say this, one team for southern Ontario for the CFL and it better be with easy access and big parking lots and have absolutely nothing to do with some inner city "building" of a Mayor or whatever. That would come with an NHL team, but not a CFL team with some 10 games a year in an enclosed inner harbour site few will see.

The CFL is dead in southern Ontario unless they build, Cats and Argos, a stadium by a major highway with easy access and loads of parking. Basically it's try and model a Ralph Wilson Stadium atmosphere or else the CFL is gonzo in this part of Canada I'm afraid. The NFL can "get by" in Detroit as such with a crap team downtown, the team makes loads of money from the NFL TV deals anyways. The CFL, no luxury I'm afraid.

If I'm Bob, if the stadium is at Rheem, I'm out of here as quick as can be unless the city basically gives him a key to the stadium and other goodies, lock, stock and barrel, HECFI (does it make money?), whatever makes money in this city. What does make money in this city from an entertainment aspect? :?

I live in a city with a historic CFL team, where the Canadian Football Hall of FAme is, and I wear my CFL jacket with the logos of all the teams and I get weird looks. Yup, in Hamilton, home of the historic TigerCats and Grey Cup champs of many years and a team with roots going back to the 1800's. I mean that's just weird but guess what, that's reality. It's like, wow, I'm some sort of freak wearing CFL stuff around - in a CFL town. Yikes! It's actually scary really in a weird sort of way.

The Rheem site is the death knell of the TigerCats and CFL in southern Ontario.

Really?When i wear a Hamilton Tiger Cats T-Shirt i find myself coming into contact w/ other like-minded Hamiltonians - talking about the state of the team &/or the next upcoming game/season.I don't get weird looks at all....

I thought this thread was going to be completely different than it is from the title.

I think we need to put a few things into perspective here.

During the 2008-9 recession, Hamilton was one of the hardest hit communities, and throughout the GTA tens of thousands of jobs where lost. Now if I was worried about retaining my benifits, pension, and paying my mortgage, you can sure bet football is going to slide on the priorities list.

Add to this a "generation of lost fans" from the 80's through to the mid/late 90's, due in part to a complete lack of marketing (black outs and lack of TV coverage), and product branding.

6 or 7 years of some of the worst pro-football (2001-2008), and overall mismanagement (begining in the mid 90's) of the team I've seen.

and the fact that just now in the Bob Young era, for the very first time ever we have an owner that treats our football team as a business, and wants to make it both succesful and profitable.

You might start to see what's happening, and what "The problem witht the Ticats..." is.

I was probably in one of my exagerrated moods at the time although as I say, I do get some strange looks wearing my CFL logos jersey. That being said I agree when I've had my TiCats stuff on, I have struck up conversations in the grocery store etc. about the Cats with Cats fans who also usually have some gear on.

But I agree the GTA is changing and it's going to be a tough go for any CFL team in this area to survive with being so close to the States and all the other entertainment options close by unless the team or teams can bring something new to the table rather than an IWS type setting. It has to be a party type atmosphere IMHO for the fan base to grow which has to happen or else.

Like I say, the Rheem site is great, the wife and me love going there and I think it'll be beautiful but it's not what the CFL needs in this area to survive, not at all. I hate to sound pessimistic as well but I'll continue to say the Rheem site will be the death knell of the CFL here.