Tiger-Cat & CFL Attendance?

I came across this statistic on the CFL site, (link listed below) on CFL average attendance in 2017 including the Ti-Cats, because I had heard that attendance was down in many markets of the CFL this season compared to past seasons.

The Cats rank third in the CFL behind Saskatchewan and Ottawa for attendance average per game in 2017.

The CFL overall is down from previous years especially in Big City markets like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, not surprising with Toronto and Vancouver, although Montreal with it's 19,000 capacity at McGill is still down this year.

What should the CFL do to stay alive and remain competitive in larger markets?

Will the Tiger-Cats keep the sales up of Season Ticket Holders in 2018 and walk up purchases, keep the average home attendance in good shape or do you think it will decrease next year based on current record or on-field performance by the team?

Is Winning important for the Tiger-Cat Fans or are your more interested in the game day experience or entertainment value like some CFL fans say?

Storey from the National Post on CFL attendance written at the start of this CFL season.

CFL 2017 Attendance Stats


I'd expect a slight drop in ticket sales for the first half of next year, with an upswing if the on field product is good.

Whether you care about winning or not, the atmosphere at games this year has been pretty lame due to the poor product on the field. Just a whole lot of disinterested fans, myself included.

[justify]Attendance is based on a number of factors, don't really think you can break it down into just a winning team or just game day experience. People are looking for the following: winning team, ease of access to stadium, in stadium experience (all aspects from concessions to washrooms to congested concourses) and affordability. I think that's really it....you can probably break it down into sub category's, but the more of the above boxes you can check, the higher your attendance should be.[/justify]

[justify]I think winning is first and foremost. People want to be part of it and will put up with things they don't like. But once winning is out of the equation, I think people start asking themselves about how many inconviences they are willing to put up with. In 2015, most people are thinking "Great, cats game this Friday! Cant wait!" This season its more like "well we're 0-8, game this weekend.....do I really feel like driving down there after work, do I really want to miss xyz for a game they'll probably lose anyway? Do I really want to fight through those concession crowds?"[/justify]

[justify]As for the CFL, the problem in Vancouver and Toronto is that they view themselves as big time and the CFL as small time. Montreal is the exception where they at least show up when the Al's are winning.[/justify]

[justify]I say the problem cant be fixed, and really it should be embraced. Maybe the CFL should be more along the lines of the CHL. The successful teams are in little-big cities. Maybe the Argos should play in a Toronto suburb where it feels more local to that particular community and they feel more ownership of the team, same for Vancouver. The problem of course is getting stadiums built, but maybe you go with small 10, 000 seat temporary set-ups like they did in Vancouver and Guelph to see if it works before committing to a permanent structure.[/justify]

Montreal now holds 24,000 as they added 5000 seats 2 years ago.

Montreal , Toronto and Vancouver are the only 3 markets that don't average at least 20,000 a game. The fact that this is the 3 biggest markets should be a concern for the CFL.

I think Toronto is on the right track. I think they will be closer to 20,000 a game next year if the team continues to improve.

I agree with all of this.

I think the problem specifically with Toronto is that they have the NHL, MLB and NBA, andMLSall within blocks of each other. They also brought the NFL to the doorstep of the city and probably drove up the hopes of the football fans for an NFL franchise. The CFL can't compete in the Toronto market, as it is already saturated with professional sports. The move to BMO has put some life back into it, but unless the figure out how to start filling the seats on a regular basis, its only a temporary fix.

The more successful CFL markets don't have much competition when it comes to entertainment (ie: Regina). It would be interesting to see what the response would be for another eastern team, and by east I mean something like Halifax.

Agreed Rix, Toronto does have a lot of competition, but it must be only part of the reason. Vancouver only has the NHL during the CFL off season, so the lions, up until recently, had no one to compete with during the summer. Now of course the White Caps are in town.

It may have a lot to do with stadium access. Both Toronto's and Vancouver's stadiums are in the heart of the downtown, its takes planning hours in advance just to get there. Ottawa has the same problem with their (our) NHL team.

The internal conversation I have is, "Do I want to sit on the GO train for an hour for a Leaf / Jays game?" I'll do that a few times a year sure. Would I go to the trouble if I were an Argo fan?

Brings me back to my original thought. Maybe the Argo's need a suburban stadium in the burbs that people can get to by car and is more identifiable with a community. Oshawa Argos, Brampton Argos, Markham Argos?

How about Agincourt Argos? That one has a nice ring to it. :wink:

No. All the other Toronto sports franchises do well right where they are in downtown. The CFL has tried all kinds of stuff in the past to make the Argos profitable. They've had John Candy and Gretzky as owners, Blues Brothers performing, Rocket Ismail, Flutie, Ray, hosting and winning 100th Grey Cup, and on and on.

Toronto and its' demographics just don't care about the CFL.

And is the city willing to go through that after renovating BMO to fit the argos in??

That's a lot for the taxpayers to swallow for a team that barely generates 10 thousand per game...and only about 10 dates a year....

I think the sports fans of Toronto consider themselves too "world class" to be seen as interested fans of a CFL team? They desperately want to be their American neighbours - NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL. They wouldn't support a OHL or CHL franchise, and probably only have the AHL Marlies there in Toronto for the convenience of the Leafs, who no doubt subsidize them over and above the fan support. Even the World Hockey Juniors didn't garner a lot of local support and the Pan-Am games, for all the hype, were not well supported or attended. Just read the Toronto Star on a Monday to see how much interest they show in the CFL compared to a 'major' story like Austin Matthews scoring an assist::).

Montreal and Vancouver are marginally better, but only if their teams are winning. Remember the "sell-outs" for the Alouettes? They only had 19,000 seats available, and every other team considered under 20,000 to be a sign of weak support?

Personally, I'm a CFL fan first and mostly only, rarely watch NFL, don't watch NBA (how do they pick the 'highlights', when all 100 baskets look the same?), haven't seen a complete MLB game in years, and only watch NHL when the play-offs start. I'm afraid we old geezers are the loyal CFL fans, and when we get too old to make the trip to the stadium (a time fast approaching), it may spell the end of the league, at least here in the East. At least, it has been, and for me continues to be, a good ride!

Well said...if I may add...

My habits are similar to yours, Palmer. I do enjoy a good baseball game once in a while, but only check out the NFL or NHL when its playoff time, and not usually until later rounds. The NBA doesn't do it for me at all.

I do worry about the future of the CFL. Hardly any teams can sustain decent attendance unless they play well most of the time. And that can't happen... there have to be some losing teams each season.

Even when playing well, it isn't easy to make a buck as a CFL owner. Most teams have flirted with insolvency at one time or another, and most are close to break even in the best of times. Ottawa and Montreal have had stretches with no team at all. David Bradley must be either a saint or off his rocker... he's kept three teams afloat when they were about to go over the edge. Hamilton has been rescued more than once. Even the vaunted Riders went through a period where they had to hold raffles to keep the team going.

The CFL is a very marginal business proposition.

I think the major cities are vital, but that's where the problem is greatest. Would TSN pay a lot for the rights to a league without the big three cities, but with Moncton, Oshawa, and Victoria instead? Would Scotiabank be a major national advertiser for that? I'm not convinced.

I really don't know what the future is for the league. I do worry about it. But, like you, I've enjoyed the ride, and still do. I sure look forward to 2018, it should be really interesting.

Hopefully Toronto owners can trun the Argos around and get better crowds. The jays have had some years with terrible crowds 9000-10000 people was a sad sight to see.

But even with Jay's sub par season people seem to enjoy going " cool thing to do"
The Argos have to try and get that type of atmosphere

There have been doom and gloom stories about the CFL since the early 1980s.
We are the CANADIAN football league....and we will most certainly survive.
Toronto and Vancouver have missed the boat on demographic changes. Teams need to focus more on multicultural themes like the raptors and TFC have and develop new fans.
League needs to add that 10th elusive franchise, as that will energize the league - Can just imagine 5 games a week, Wow!

While Hamilton Cats fans (at least some on this board) try to get rid of that type of atmosphere.

Maybe you're on to something here Hammertown. My grand-children can't seem to go more than a few minutes without a peek at their phones and are just as interested in what's happening everywhere else around them, as what's right in front of them. Maybe expecting these youngsters to sit for 3 plus hours and watch one event is no longer practical? They want or need the distraction of the "fan cams" and when they get older, probably the seemingly endless milling of the concourse crowd. They need or want to see how other fans are reacting to the game and each other as much or more than they want to watch the game?

We used to say if you have the steak, you don't need to sell the sizzle. I guess now the sizzle is just as much an important part of the package?

25 years ago the Cats had a promo for a few years that kids seats were 1/2 price so I bought the 2 seats beside us(we were on the 52 yard line). The seat cost was cheaper than paying a sitter for 5 hours. One would watch the game (somewhat) while the other people watched. Young kids are not interested in watching sports. It isn’t until they are teens where you might get them truly interested and maybe become followers. Then hopefully ST holders.

Say what you want but the more wins the more fans you will get in the seats. IMO The Cats have done a good job with the game day experience but to their detriment. Too much emphasis has been put on all the social experience parts of the experience and not enough on the actually on field product. They have killed the actual game experience because the game has become secondary and the "look at me I'm at the game selfies" have become the attraction.

This of course is my opinion and I know it will not be shared by all.

I don't disagree with you....but it might be the only solution to get Argo attendance up to the 25000-30000. Otherwise keep slogging it out in front of less then 10,000 at BMO, which was SUPPOSED to be the answer.

I think MLSE paid for most of the BMO renovations? I think they would have happened even without the Argos. For reasons beyond me, people will pay to watch soccer, but not football in Toronto.

Its probably because of the diversity of the city. If you look at the numerous cultures that reside in Toronto, most of those cultures have roots to countries that are big into soccer. Just look at what happens when the World Cup comes around. Flags on every car, every "village" has viewing parties, and parades when they win. Soccer is an international sport, while football is mostly North American, and then once again divided by American and Canadian.

Even if they've spent time learning the basics of the NFL, which is far easier to come by with the number of televised games on a weekly basis, going to a CFL game isa completely different experience.

That mythical new field might even have regulation end zones made of the same material as the rest of the field...