From my understanding, the Ti-Cat store as been running the Bulldogs Shop at FirstOntario for some time, I believe they started last season, or the season before. As to why, I can only speculate, but before they took over the quality and volume of Bulldogs merchandise was fairly poor and had been going downhill for some time since the Calder Cup passed and the recession hit. That and their online presence, was non-existent and in a state of perpetual construction (if you think MRX is bad, infinity pro sports is far worse and seemingly incapable of generating an online store).
However by partnering with the Ti-Cat store, the Bulldogs substantially increased their buying power, has a web presence, and gained access to other distributors. The Ti-Cat store basically found employment for many of it's employees during the off-season and gets a cut of the profits to run the store. It's pretty much a win win for both teams, and given that the Ti-Cat store has never been packed to capacity and in need of expansion, adding a small Bulldogs section seemed logical.
@EASTEND17 - Still worlds better then having god awful White and Blue crap in the store.
@cflstve - Sadly and understandably no. Much like the Ti-Cats don't try to sell Bulldogs gear at CFL games, neither do the Bulldogs try to sell at the FOC (heh...FOC!). Keep also in mind the First OntarioCentre store isn't open save during games, which in itself is a problem, but given it's location and the scope of their merchandise sales, is understandable.
However, I do hope that the Bulldogs and the Ti-Cats continue to have dealings. I'd love nothing more then the Bulldogs/Ti-Cats and Marlies get together and have annual Outdoor Classics alternating at BMO and THF.
I think another great idea the Bulldogs should do to market their game is instead of having the school day game every year, maybe mixed it up and see if they can get the Ti-Cats if they can give a free Bulldogs ticket for one for every Ti-Cat season ticket holder to attend. That I think would be a great thing to have in the deal book. Then on that game day, have the Bulldogs come out in Hamilton Tiger's retro Jerseys.
Anyways, I'm the understand that Michael Andleaur (owner of the Bulldogs) is committed to the team, even to go as far and say "If my affiliation gets pulled, I would try my best to catch on with another team". The city and the management corp what to keep them there, as he's put his own money into helping upgrade the facilities in the past.
I wish the Bulldogs got more respect. Supporting them in no way would hurt the chance of getting an NHL team and we have all the pieces to have our team be the envy of the AHL, if only people would check their egos at the door and realize, it's still great hockey for a sixth of the cost of a Leafs ticket.