Vibe at Redblacks games brings back young fans

Vibe at Ottawa Redblacks home games brings back young fans
In its third season of existence, the team can make a serious argument it’s created the best game-day atmosphere in the CFL.
Chris O’Leary Sports Reporter thestar.com July 31, 2016

OTTAWA—When Jeff Hunt surveys the grounds at TD Place Stadium on a game day, he’s very aware of the good thing that’s all around him.

“I think right off the bat there’s an energy when you walk in,? Hunt, the president of the Ottawa Sports Entertainment Group said.

“People come to the game early and of course we’re also very fortunate to have the whole (Lansdowne Park) development around it, so people come to the bars and restaurants. If you’re not into some of the more popular bars or restaurants three or four hours beforehand you won’t get in.

“People come early, it’s a party and it feels like it.?

In just their third season of existence, the Ottawa Redblacks can make a serious argument that they’ve created the best game day atmosphere in the CFL. As Lansdowne Park has blossomed from the construction site it was two years ago into a polished mix of retail units, bars, restaurants and condos, it’s made for an instant, organic game day atmosphere for the Redblacks.

Game days involve a tailgate with $6 drinks and live music on site. Touchdowns are celebrated by flannel-clad fans in the west end zone chainsawing a log. Most important, to Hunt and the rest of the CFL, is the fact that there’s a strong presence of young fans in the stands.

It’s not something that the Toronto Argonauts can fully duplicate, but as they work their way through their first season at BMO Field, they’d love to put their own spin on creating the vibe that’s been created in Ottawa.

“I think we had different circumstances than Toronto and really the other markets,? said Hunt, who speaks often with Argos president and CEO Michael Copeland and Sara Moore, the senior VP of business operations.

“There was a long history of football in Ottawa but really it’d been gone for over a decade and even then it was a three or four-year flash in the pan. That was good for us in that especially young fans, being the so-called lost generation of CFL fans in Ottawa, they didn’t have an impression, a hard opinion of what the CFL is.?

“Whereas I think a lot of markets, my line is always that it’s your father’s kind of sporting event, going to a CFL game in a lot of communities. It’s not something that a younger fan naturally aspires to do and that’s the challenge across the league, both on TV and the stands is (capturing) the elusive younger market.?

While the Argos face a sports landscape in Toronto that’s unlike any other city in Canada, Hunt said he sees similarities in what the Argos are doing with what the Redblacks have done.

“It sounds simple, but it’s really not that simple. We really focused on marketing to a younger fan and creating a game day experience that caters to a younger fan without upsetting our older fan base,? Hunt said.

“The first 15,000 people in the door (in 2014) were people that remember Tony Gabriel and Russ Jackson. They’re a very important part of the mix that we have, but it’s a party.

“I think in Toronto they’ve created a real good buzz with that tailgating aspect but they’ve got to build a substantial fan base with that younger audience and they know that. They’re a very smart group of people running it, very experienced. They know the Toronto market and they know that it’s absolutely imperative that they become that hip, cool place to be with the younger Torontonians.?

Speaking of which, a funny story while I was walking to the stadium tonight - - some guy trying his best to be a hardcore Redbags fan decided to follow me in while ringing his cowbell and waving an Ottawa flag all around me. Which was fine and something I have zero problem with.

But then he decided he'd have a go at trash talking me for being an Argos fan. Seriously, of all people you're going to try and trash talk with me? Wrong move, my friend. Especially when you've got a stuttering problem.

After a couple minutes of being eviscerated, he was ready to turn around and go back home.

I gotta ask. What's nm mean ?

NM = Nevermind. :slight_smile:

My guess, he was no longer able to delete his post and regretted what he wrote.

Thanks Kev....... And Charukfan don't let those guys make you quit :thup: .....

No message

You are NOT as bad as them. Your opening post was a good one.... You can just ignore them and continue or you can laugh at them like I do. ...BTW, which one is the troll and which is the moron ? :lol: :lol: :lol:

illegitimae non carborundum

Not much separating the two.

Let me guess. He was having a little pre-game fun and you went nuclear on him, especially after you noticed his stutter. Not a funny story.

He's a hard man with a tough code, coming to CTV this fall Troll51 America's Tough Guy

:lol:

This is good news. Always looks like a good time in TD Place on TV. Crowd is packed and loud.

I don't buy for a minute what A-51 is selling, nor should anyone else.

As a season ticket holder and Southsider since day one of the REDBLACKS, I can tell you it is a great place to watch a game. Always fun and LOUD!! Can't wait for Grey Cup 105 in 2017.

Don't start none, won't be none.

Yes you are right! I haven't been to Montreal since the expansion but I was at the first two games at BMO and the home opener in Hamilton and Ottawa.
The Ottawa game was by far the best atmosphere, the best vibe, the crowd was really into the game and loud, they seem to have a lot more fun before and during the game than in the other stadiums.

Northside Sucks!

Haven't been in Ottawa in a while, do my fellow Southsiders still do that chant?

Jeff Hunt and his group have done an awesome job. It's great to see football thrive in Ottawa again.

Can the North and South not get along after all these years ? :wink:

Good they still have that tradition. It is all in fun and great atmosphere. :thup:

I don't buy for a minute what A-51 is selling, nor should anyone else.
[/quote]
As a season ticket holder and Southsider since day one of the REDBLACKS, I can tell you it is a great place to watch a game. Always fun and LOUD!! Can't wait for Grey Cup 105 in 2017.
[/quote]
Northside Sucks!

Haven't been in Ottawa in a while, do my fellow Southsiders still do that chant?

Jeff Hunt and his group have done an awesome job. It's great to see football thrive in Ottawa again.
[/quote]
Can the North and South not get along after all these years ? :wink:

Good they still have that tradition. It is all in fun and great atmosphere. :thup:
[/quote]
Man, last night's game had a playoff atmosphere. :rockin:

Sweet. I've been away at a cottage with limited 'net access so I missed that article.

Now if we can just teach a segment of the fanbase to STFU while we're on offence, that would be just super. :thup:

They had to post on videoboard to be quiet when offence was on field. Lmao