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Guelph QB lands dream job in Argonauts camp
Unlike NCAA, the CFL is free to open door to quarterback interns in the pre-season with clear benefits for both sides.
Morgan Campbell Staff Reporter thestar.com May 25, 2016

GUELPH—As quarterback James Roberts took his place among the other quarterbacks during warmups, the pressbox DJ at Alumni Stadium teed up the soundtrack for the Argos’ first practice of the pre-season.

Bass from a hip-hop track reverberated through the stadium as rappers A$AP Ferg and Future repeated their song’s title and central message.

“I’m on a New Level.”

Within minutes Roberts, a second-year quarterback at the University of Guelph, would know the feeling. He’ll spend training camp with the Argos under the CFL’s quarterback internship program, which sees each of the league’s teams work with a CIS quarterback for the pre-season. The interns will attend practices and video sessions, but won’t play games.

A program like this would never fly in the NCAA, where working out with a pro team could cost a college player his eligibility.

But internships, which expanded to include the entire league in 2012, dictate that players return to school. When Roberts rejoins the Gryphons this fall he’ll have completed a dream summer job and measured himself against professionals.

“This is their camp and their team and I get the pleasure to learn firsthand,” says Roberts, a Cambridge native. “(Film study) is more detailed, more strict and there’s more to it. I’ll take away from that what I can bring to my (university) team.”

Since 1991, only six Canadian pivots have thrown a regular-season pass in the CFL, and when Mississauga’s Brandon Bridge lined up for Montreal’s 2015 season finale he became the first Canadian to start at quarterback in 19 years. But the league says it embarked on the internship program in 2012 hoping to boost the quality of CIS football.

“(We’re) getting kids to go back to their CIS programs with a heightened sense of confidence and coaching,” says Kevin McDonald, the CFL’s VP of football operations. “You’re getting a kid who’s leaps and bounds ahead of where he’d left.”

The project hasn’t yet produced a full-time CFL player, but Carleton University head coach Steve Sumarah says it shrinks the skill gap between Canadian and American prospects. It also reduces the chance CFL coaches will overlook Canadian quarterbacking talent.

“I would love to be able to say we’ve got five or six Canadian quarterbacks playing, but that’s a bit of a pipe dream,” Sumarah says. “There has to be an end game. To have CFL teams confident and comfortable to bring in a CIS-developed quarterback would go a long way.”

Roberts completed 206 of 346 passes for 19 touchdowns last season but spent Wednesday as a spectator, watching Ricky Ray and the team’s other quarterbacks from a few yards behind the line of scrimmage. When Ray would take a drop, so would Roberts. And when Ray made a pass, Roberts would pantomime his own throw. The team doesn’t plan to use him in full-blown practice situations, but says Roberts will learn just by shadowing Ray.

“It can be a very intimidating process,” says Argos head coach Scott Milanovich. “You’re a college kid and you’re standing next to a guy who’s got three Grey Cup rings, and so far he’s handled it well. It can only help him, and help his leadership when he goes back to school.”

In the NCAA, even that much involvement with a pro team could sideline a player for months. In 2013, Toronto’s Myck Kabongo, then on a basketball scholarship at the University of Texas, served a 23-game suspension and paid a $475 fine when the NCAA learned he had travelled to Cleveland to work out with Cavaliers player Tristan Thompson.

Rigid rules governing amateurism help both the NCAA, which markets its stars, and pro leagues, which want to draft polished players. While those regulations protect multibillion-dollar businesses they also prohibit programs like the CFL internships, which could help smooth the transition from college to pro ball.

But a CFL-CIS partnership can exist precisely because of lower financial stakes, Sumarah says. Football doesn’t make CIS schools rich, and CFL teams can’t lure stars with eight-figure contracts.

“No CIS player in his second or third year is going to have some CFL team say, ‘Hey, drop out of school. We want you,’ ” Sumarah says.

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The Strumbellas and Kardinal Offishall kick of Argos home opener
Argonauts Staff argonauts.ca June 17, 2016

The Argos home opener kicks off June 23, and to kick it off right the we’ve got the Strumbellas and Kardinal Offishall performing a free concert at the SiriusXM Kickoff Show for anyone with a ticket to the game!

The SiriusXM Kickoff Show will be held in “The Shipyard,” the Argos’ new pre-game fan festival space located at the foot of Hotel X and in front of the Stanley Barracks at Exhibition Place. The outdoor festival area will serve BBQ food and drinks, including $4 beers, prior to every game at BMO Field this season. Spread across acres of licensed patio, The Shipyard will be a place for Argos fans to meet up before the game to eat, drink and socialize before heading into the stadium.

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“We launched tailgating last week, and today, we are excited to introduce “The Shipyard,” an outdoor festival space for fans who commute or arrive by foot or bike and are looking for a pregame party,” – Sara Moore, Argos Senior Vice President, Business Operations.

Kardinal Offishall will be on stage at 4:30pm ET, while the Strumbellas take to the stage at 5:30pm ET.

The six-piece Canadian band won a Juno in 2014 for their album, We Still Move On Dance Floors. The band’s new album, Hope, earned a spot on the coveted 2016 Polaris Music Prize Long List that was announced this week.

Kardinal Offishall is a four-time Juno Award winner, taking home the honour for Single of the Year for “Dangerous” in 2009 and winning three times for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year (1999, 2000 and 2014).

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TSN going all out on Argo season opener

All hands on deck for CFL season opener
TSN.ca Staff June 23 2016

TORONTO - Canada’s Sports Leader is all hands on deck at the new BMO Field for the opening game of the CFL ON TSN broadcast campaign, as the Toronto Argonauts kick off the 2016 season against longtime rivals the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL presented by The Brick, airing Thursday at 7 p.m. ET exclusively on TSN.

The first CFL ON TSN game at Toronto’s newly renovated BMO Field features the network’s award-winning broadcast team of play-by-play commentator Chris Cuthbert alongside game analyst Glen Suitor, with Matthew Scianitti reporting from the sidelines of BMO Field. TSN’s Argos-Ticats broadcast also features aerial shots from Cablecam – a new addition to BMO Field.

Pre-Game Coverage

TSN’s pre-game coverage begins with SPORTSCENTRE at 5 p.m. ET on TSN, with hosts Darren Dutchyshen and Kate Beirness broadcasting live from the Argos’ new fan zone, The Shipyard.

SPORTSCENTRE’s two-hour pre-game coverage features TSN host James Duthie, special features and contributions from Brian Williams, the CFL ON TSN panel of host Rod Smith alongside analysts Matt Dunigan and Milt Stegall, and Jock Climie, Football Insider Dave Naylor, and Senior Correspondent Gary Lawless.

The network’s live pre-game coverage also features Cabral “Cabbie” Richards and THE SOCIAL’s Kate McKenna taking viewers inside the Argos’ new tailgate experience, with Cabbie hosting an epic tailgate party while McKenna and MASTERCHEF CANADA Season 3 runner-up Jeremy Senaris share must-have barbecue tips with fans.

Additional highlights of TSN’s pre-game coverage leading up to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET include:

A live performance of the hit song “Spirits” by Juno Award-winning band The Strumbellas
Hedley’s Jacob Hoggard singing the Canadian national anthem
A special feature from Brian Williams that looks at the legacy of the grounds that now house the newly renovated BMO Field, and what it means for the city going forward
An essay from Chad Owens on his move from the Argos to the Ticats
A breakdown from Milt Stegall on how the shorter end zones at BMO Field will affect redzone strategy
Interviews with team legends Damon Allen, Mike “Pinball” Clemons, Raghib “Rocket” Ismail, and Joe Theismann
A 350-piece marching band, more than 200 dancers, and the Argos Cheer Team ushering in the Argos’ new era at BMO Field in a pre-game performance

Fans can follow all the behind-the-scenes action from The Shipyard and tailgate on TSN’s official Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

TSN 1050

Fans can also tune in to TSN Radio 1050 Toronto for all the action surrounding the Argos home opener. On-site coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET with Mike Richards hosting RICHARDS 1-4, followed by pre-game coverage at 7 p.m. ET hosted by Jim Tatti and Sandy Annunziata and featuring Michael Landsberg and Dave Naylor. Calling the game action at 7:30 p.m. ET is play-by-play Mike Hogan and analyst Jeff Johnson, with Kate Pettersen providing reports from the sidelines.

CFL ON TSN

The 2016 CFL ON TSN season culminates with the Shaw Road to the Grey Cup as well as the 104th GREY CUP presented by Shaw – one of 60+ iconic championship events that live on TSN – live from the Toronto Argonauts’ new home of BMO Field.

TSN subscribers can access live streaming coverage of every CFL ON TSN game on TSN.ca and TSN GO. French-language coverage is available through RDS.

TSN is the exclusive Canadian broadcaster of the CFL, delivering live coverage of every regular season game, including playoffs and the 104th GREY CUP live from Toronto’s BMO Field on November 27. Last year, Bell Media’s TSN and RDS announced an extension of their long-term multi-platform partnership with the CFL through to 2021.

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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.”

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One of the mistakes the Argos made was having the attitude that just by moving the team to BMO would get people back in the stands and you saw this by reading and hearing quotes to the media about how they were going to sell out every game and how the season tickets were going to increase substantially, as we have seen so far attendance at BMO has been pretty bad, I mean we even had their VP Sarah Moore telling the media that the Argos would outdraw TFC , how is that prediction going Sarah? 

Edited by 1996

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4 hours ago, 1996 said:

One of the mistakes the Argos made was having the attitude that just by moving the team to BMO would get people back in the stands and you saw this by reading and hearing quotes to the media about how they were going to sell out every game and how the season tickets were going to increase substantially, as we have seen so far attendance at BMO has been pretty bad, I mean we even had their VP Sarah Moore telling the media that the Argos would outdraw TFC , how is that prediction going Sarah? 

Ok, we know you are trolling this in this thread so let's get that straight right away.

And before you get too cocky and start throwing stones from your glass house you should know TFC ratings are so low on TSN now (averaging an incredible 38k so far) that negotiations for a new contract are not going well, TSN doesn't want to give them any money because the performance is so abysmally bad.

Speaking of abysmally bad, obviously the Argos attendance is no where near what was hoped for, it's going to be an uphill battle.  But it has to be done and contrary to your hopes and wishes the team isn't going anywhere anytime soon and will be supported in one way or another even if the poor attendance continues.

Now, according to the CFL's biggest "fan" (Rogers shill Arash Madani) the Argos only need 18k to break even.  Now obviously they are not even making that so far but it shows that they have other revenue sources to draw upon and hosting this years Grey Cup should take care of the loss they will have this year if things stay as bad as they are.

Just wondering where Sara Moore said they would outdraw TFC.  I stated long ago when you were trolling before that it would be physically impossible for the Argos to outdraw TFC if both performed well because TFC has a 4k larger capacity.

There really are no excuses for the Argos poor showing so far.  To help combat that next year they have to have a full compliment of consistent weekend games to help establish their tailgate strategies.

TSN loves these weeknight games because they give good weeknight ratings for them when their list of programming is weak but they are killing the attendance of the CFL teams who have to play them on non traditional days.

There's really no need for the Argos hate now as the turf has had no issues which is what most were whining about.  Even much of the RPB BS has toned down aside from the usual idiots who they probably don't agree with on any other issue.

Just noticed for the last Argo game on TSN, they keyed in a large Argos logo at centrefield and smaller CFL placeholder logos (likely for ads later) so there is no need to paint the field with the difficult to erase logos.  It looked very natural and if I hadn't have known better would have fooled me.

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37 minutes ago, Joe MacCarthy said:

Just noticed for the last Argo game on TSN, they keyed in a large Argos logo at centrefield and smaller CFL placeholder logos (likely for ads later) so there is no need to paint the field with the difficult to erase logos.  It looked very natural and if I hadn't have known better would have fooled me.

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Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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The Grey Cup comes to BNN

The oldest sports trophy in North America was on display today for BNN viewers. The Grey Cup was in studio, with tickets now on sale for the championship game of Canadian football. Toronto will host the 104th Grey Cup on November 27th. We discuss the health of the CFL, the history of the Grey Cup and efforts to attract more support for the Toronto Argonauts with Michael Copeland, President and CEO, Toronto Argonauts Football Club, and former President and COO of the CFL.

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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37 minutes ago, Joe MacCarthy said:

The Grey Cup comes to BNN

The oldest sports trophy in North America was on display today for BNN viewers. The Grey Cup was in studio, with tickets now on sale for the championship game of Canadian football. Toronto will host the 104th Grey Cup on November 27th. We discuss the health of the CFL, the history of the Grey Cup and efforts to attract more support for the Toronto Argonauts with Michael Copeland, President and CEO, Toronto Argonauts Football Club, and former President and COO of the CFL.

Uhhh.....well they are, kinda wrong. The Stanley Cup came around in 1893, Lord Grey's Cup wasn't completed until 1910. However, the ORFU which was effectively the CFL's predecessor was formed in 1883. However they did not play for the Grey Cup.

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I went to my first Riders game in 1977 and sat in one of my grandparents' season seats. They had those seats from 1953 until they moved closer to the centre of the field in the early 80s. There were nine family members who all relocated so that we could sit together at that time and we did so through to the mid 90s when my grandparents decided not to go as often as they were getting older. My parents and then I had season tickets off and on ever since and I am currently in seats that have been in my family for about 15 years and have put a deposit down on my new seats in the new stadium already. I am saying this not to try and convince people that I have some kind of experience or credibility on this issue, but simply to show that I am not trolling the pro-CFL crowd here. I'm genuinely invested in the league and have been for most of my life.

 

I beginning to think that the CFL is either in trouble or headed for a downswing that will take a long time from which to rebound.

 

I am surrounded by long term season ticket holders of various ages. Practically all of them are complaining about the same thing, namely the significant slow down in play due to flags, stoppages, and reviews. I understand what the league is aiming for. They are trying to make sure they get calls right. But I think they have taken it significantly too far and are now starting to lose fans due to the constant slow pace, interruptions to review plays, inconsistency of those reviews (it is bemusing how they can rule hits to the head or pass interference one way in one situation and rule it another way only minutes later in the same game), and big plays ruled out by penalties. These are rule and procedural issues that, if not confronted by the league, are going to contribute (or more likely are going to continue to contribute) to the decline in attendance in many stadiums in the league. I think the players have a role to play here, as there seems to be a decline in talent in the league, but I'm not sure if that's objectively true or if players are unsure what constitutes a penalty and thereby are second-guessing themselves leading to errors.

A Rider game early in the season this year was three and a half hours long. Most of the delays for reviews etc added little to the entertainment value of the game. In fact, they significantly detracted from it.

Now I realize that much of the CFL/soccer complementary trolling going on is one where people are picking sides etc, but in my opinion, neither of these groups is doing themselves any favours. Argos fans would do better to figure out how to convince one or two of their friends to join them at a game and TFC fans would do better to realize that soccer is here to say and to not be so sensitive to criticism. Honestly, I would rather see the Argos in their own facility as I think it would be better for both teams (and it would be nice for soccer to have nice things of its own once in a while) but the back and forth looks bad on both groups IMHO.

 

Anyway, the CFL needs to take a hard look at itself as the route it is going, in my view, is only turning fans away, and that is rather dangerous.

 

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13 hours ago, rob.notenboom said:

I went to my first Riders game in 1977 and sat in one of my grandparents' season seats. They had those seats from 1953 until they moved closer to the centre of the field in the early 80s. There were nine family members who all relocated so that we could sit together at that time and we did so through to the mid 90s when my grandparents decided not to go as often as they were getting older. My parents and then I had season tickets off and on ever since and I am currently in seats that have been in my family for about 15 years and have put a deposit down on my new seats in the new stadium already. I am saying this not to try and convince people that I have some kind of experience or credibility on this issue, but simply to show that I am not trolling the pro-CFL crowd here. I'm genuinely invested in the league and have been for most of my life.

 

I beginning to think that the CFL is either in trouble or headed for a downswing that will take a long time from which to rebound.

 

I am surrounded by long term season ticket holders of various ages. Practically all of them are complaining about the same thing, namely the significant slow down in play due to flags, stoppages, and reviews. I understand what the league is aiming for. They are trying to make sure they get calls right. But I think they have taken it significantly too far and are now starting to lose fans due to the constant slow pace, interruptions to review plays, inconsistency of those reviews (it is bemusing how they can rule hits to the head or pass interference one way in one situation and rule it another way only minutes later in the same game), and big plays ruled out by penalties. These are rule and procedural issues that, if not confronted by the league, are going to contribute (or more likely are going to continue to contribute) to the decline in attendance in many stadiums in the league. I think the players have a role to play here, as there seems to be a decline in talent in the league, but I'm not sure if that's objectively true or if players are unsure what constitutes a penalty and thereby are second-guessing themselves leading to errors.

A Rider game early in the season this year was three and a half hours long. Most of the delays for reviews etc added little to the entertainment value of the game. In fact, they significantly detracted from it.

Now I realize that much of the CFL/soccer complementary trolling going on is one where people are picking sides etc, but in my opinion, neither of these groups is doing themselves any favours. Argos fans would do better to figure out how to convince one or two of their friends to join them at a game and TFC fans would do better to realize that soccer is here to say and to not be so sensitive to criticism. Honestly, I would rather see the Argos in their own facility as I think it would be better for both teams (and it would be nice for soccer to have nice things of its own once in a while) but the back and forth looks bad on both groups IMHO.

 

Anyway, the CFL needs to take a hard look at itself as the route it is going, in my view, is only turning fans away, and that is rather dangerous.

 

I don't disagree with this, I think they really need to rollback the Illegal contact rule the implemented this season.You can say "Well the players are just going to have to learn to new rule and deal with it over time" as much as you want, but the fact of the matter is, a good portion of the players come up from the NCAA where this rule doesn't apply, and I don't believe it applies to the CIS either, and the league is always bringing in younger receivers, and there will always be a learning curve that veteran receivers will exploit on new DBs.

I also think PI challenges should be limited specifically to the targeted receiver. The whole intention of the rule was so that major, game costing plays that the ref missed got a second look (although even now with all scoring plays being reviewed, it's not quite as important). Being able to challenge an already absurd illegal contact away from the play, which likely would not have mattered in the slightest and get 10 yards needs to stop.

However, I think the biggest issue facing the CFL is ticket prices (which BTW expect a price jump due to new stadium. Happened here in Hamilton, but we got two years at least on old pricing because of the delays at THF). On the CFL forums, a consistent complaint I hear from Lions fans is ticket prices going up for little on field accomplishment, which given the size of BC Place, is something that can get under then skin of even the most ardent fan. Many of my season ticket holder friends in Hamilton are now splitting their seasons across two or three people because of the costs. Now in the case of Hamilton and Winnipeg and likely Regina, most fans accept the new stadium warrants a higher price point and accept that, but for other markets, that is certainly not the case. Then look at the Argos. The cost of Toronto sports is out of control, and the Argos had a real opportunity to carve a niche out by being an affordable option to draw in more fans in. Instead ticket prices stayed pretty much the same, and while a minor bump in attendance has occurred, it could have been a lot better had prices come down. Last but not least, Grey Cup tickets are also getting absurd. I'm sorry, but it is very hard to justify $600 for one game, even if it is the championship, when that's near the cost of my season tickets.

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32 minutes ago, -Hammer- said:

I don't disagree with this, I think they really need to rollback the Illegal contact rule the implemented this season.You can say "Well the players are just going to have to learn to new rule and deal with it over time" as much as you want, but the fact of the matter is, a good portion of the players come up from the NCAA where this rule doesn't apply, and I don't believe it applies to the CIS either, and the league is always bringing in younger receivers, and there will always be a learning curve that veteran receivers will exploit on new DBs.

I also think PI challenges should be limited specifically to the targeted receiver. The whole intention of the rule was so that major, game costing plays that the ref missed got a second look (although even now with all scoring plays being reviewed, it's not quite as important). Being able to challenge an already absurd illegal contact away from the play, which likely would not have mattered in the slightest and get 10 yards needs to stop.

However, I think the biggest issue facing the CFL is ticket prices (which BTW expect a price jump due to new stadium. Happened here in Hamilton, but we got two years at least on old pricing because of the delays at THF). On the CFL forums, a consistent complaint I hear from Lions fans is ticket prices going up for little on field accomplishment, which given the size of BC Place, is something that can get under then skin of even the most ardent fan. Many of my season ticket holder friends in Hamilton are now splitting their seasons across two or three people because of the costs. Now in the case of Hamilton and Winnipeg and likely Regina, most fans accept the new stadium warrants a higher price point and accept that, but for other markets, that is certainly not the case. Then look at the Argos. The cost of Toronto sports is out of control, and the Argos had a real opportunity to carve a niche out by being an affordable option to draw in more fans in. Instead ticket prices stayed pretty much the same, and while a minor bump in attendance has occurred, it could have been a lot better had prices come down. Last but not least, Grey Cup tickets are also getting absurd. I'm sorry, but it is very hard to justify $600 for one game, even if it is the championship, when that's near the cost of my season tickets.

I agree on the ticket prices. Even MLS prices imo are too high. I think both leagues would benefit from a model akin to the Bundesliga , where every clubs' prices range from 10 to 20 € per ticket. Wouldn't it make more sense to draw 40000 to 50000 people on a consistent basis, where you can get more concession sales, higher in stadium sponsorship and advertising dollars and more people buying in stadium merchandise as opposed to charging high ticket prices to get 25000 at best on average?

Edited by Macksam

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^There's a lot to profitability that we don't know about.  The Argos are saying revenues are up this year despite the poor crowds so far.  That could be an increase in sponsorships, perhaps sales of higher end food and beverages are up amongst the people in the premium seating or maybe there are more people in the premium seating despite the small crowds.

It is for reasons such as those above and not to our knowledge many others, that both Hamilton and Ottawa have decreased capacity and raised profitability.

The Toronto market is a conundrum to the CFL.  I find it very difficult to believe that they can't find an audience of 25k in that enormous market.  Things change, it will never be what it was, so it has to redefine itself in that market.  That's proving more difficult than many of us imagined, but it can be done and the owners say they are in for the long haul and with the connection to the league itself they pretty much have to be. 

Their main enemy (a Rogers employee) says 18k to be profitable.  One Grey Cup alone could take care of three years of losses if the 18k is to be believed.

MLS and CFL are in very similar positions.  Neither is seen as "the best" in their respective sports by the wannabees, the money each team gets from their domestic league contracts is basically the same.  Each has one element of fan following that is hurting them (Argos at the gate, TFC on TV) and both have world behemoths for competition that takeaway potential fans (NFL/EPL et al).  They have more commonality than disparity in the Toronto market.

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1 hour ago, -Hammer- said:

Last but not least, Grey Cup tickets are also getting absurd. I'm sorry, but it is very hard to justify $600 for one game, even if it is the championship, when that's near the cost of my season tickets.

It will be justified if they are sold.  Also capacity this year will be sub 40k so we'll have to see what the market will bear.

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3 minutes ago, Macksam said:

I agree on the ticket prices. Even MLS prices imo are too high. I think both leagues would benefit from a model akin to the Bundesliga , where every clubs' prices range from 10 to 20 € per ticket. Wouldn't it make more sense to draw 40000 on a consistent basis, where you can get more concession sales, higher in stadium sponsorship and advertising dollars and more people potentially buying merchandise as opposed to charging high ticket prices to get 25000 at best on average?

Yes and no, but mostly yes. I mean I understand why teams often do this. Lowering ticket prices doesn't automatically put people in the seats. A lower price point needs to be advertised the same as any other event. Too many teams say "Well this is how many I'm getting, so I may as well maximize profits on who is there. The diehards will carry the weight" That I get.

The problem is it is far more important to have people at the game, to create the good atmosphere, to make your teams optics look good, create positive news by saying you are sold out, money off of merchandise and concessions, make it affordable to bring your kids to the game, then it is to maximize profits (unless you are in a tight squeeze as a franchise). It's what has killed hockey teams at Copps for ages because people don't feel they should be paying higher prices in stadiums that are half filled.

The issue, is that you can't just market "Now with lower ticket prices" because it's just not that impressive a marketing point and can kinda make people who paid full price feel cheated. It's a marketing point you need to bundle with other marketing events or at the start of a season.

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CFL ticket prices in Calgary have shot up as well. A few years ago I looked into getting season tickets between the goal line and 15 yard line. Seasons for 6 rows up were just over $300. Those same season tickets are now $517.

For me, the value just isn't there as it used to be. The only way I will be attending is if I get a package that includes a ticket / bus ride / pint / burger for $40.

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51 minutes ago, Joe MacCarthy said:

we'll have to see what the market will bear.

Term used by highly paid executives meaning "to enhance corporate profits we will squeeze the poor sods buying our tickets until they bleed".

Edited by dsqpr

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If they're paying $600 a ticket, they are definitely not poor sods, they might also be classified as dumb sods.  They are the same people who pay outrageous prices for any other event of this type.

I don't have a problem with this, the issue is as old as finance itself.

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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11 minutes ago, Joe MacCarthy said:

It will be justified if they are sold.  Also capacity this year will be sub 40k so we'll have to see what the market will bear.

Key point there is if. All the CFL season ticket pre-sales have already been completed. Most Grey Cup's after that has happened, are usually around the 80% sold mark before they get released to the public. This year though, just looking at the map on ticketmaster, I'd say it is closer to 60%. Also looking at that map, it's no surprise that the sections that are approaching sellouts are the $169 and $199 tickets and they hyper pricey behind the bench seats. The $3-400 second deck seats are doing very poorly.

That to me screams the diehards making the trip who are spending thousands on the flight anyways or corporate seats buying the pricey tickets, and everyone else is sticking to the hyper cheap tickets because the higher mid-grade price points are unpalpatable.

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1 hour ago, shermanator said:

The only way I will be attending is if I get a package that includes a ticket / bus ride / pint / burger for $40.

What planet you from?  Hell, in a lot of places a beer and a burger alone might set you back $20  :)

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The planet of people that have an interest in attending CFL games, and decided that the prices that clubs are asking for tickets is no longer reasonable for the product they provide. Apparently, there are quite a few of us.

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Interesting podcast from American CFL fans

CFL Week 9; plus another American converted!
Os Davis http://thegruelingtruth.net August 17, 2016

For the preaching missionary types of the CFL gospel – you know, dudes like Rouge, White & Blue Podcast co-hosts Os Davis and Joe Pritchard – nothing’s better than talking Canadian football with a recent convert to the game. Yea, verily, doth this happen on this week’s episode of RWB.

Matthew Meyer is a Minnesota native who became hooked to the CFL just this season, as so this past week he got his first look at Zach Collaros as the potential future All-Timer put together one dandy second half for his Hamilton Tiger-Cats against the BC Lions. Matthew has also enjoyed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ recent resurgence and the fearsome stick-to-itiveness of Bo Levi Mithcell and his Calgary Stampeders.

Along with Os and Joe, Matthew kicks in his 2¢ (Canadian) in summarizing last week’s games, previewing this week’s and promising not to give up CFL football even if the frequency of bogged-down slogs like the Montreal Alouettes-Edmonton Eskimos game continue to happen (and it appears such instances will, at least through 2016).

Check out the Rouge, White & Blue CFL Podcast right here at theGruelingTruth.net or on iTune, Spreaker, etc. etc. you know how this works. Enjoy the games!

The Rouge, White & Blue CFL podcast: Hating the incessant replay, loving the league…

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