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Monday, October 17, 2016

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE FOR CAMECO

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14 RANDOMS

1 - It started out as a great evening, and it pretty much ended as one too.  However there were some rough patches in the middle.

There were seven of us crowded into a booth for five at a trendy downtown Toronto nightclub/sportsbar Friday evening ready to watch Game 1 of the ALCS between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians.

Three of the group were millenials who worked for a sports network, while four of us were Saskies.

They'd barely got their coats off and ordered drinks on that cool Toronto evening when the snickering started.  "What are you guys here for?  Are the Argos playing this weekend?" and, "We're from Toronto so we don't follow the CFL!"

It was, really, harmless chortling with no malice intended.  Still, it made yours truly feel one inch tall as I explained the Saskatchewan Roughriders were in town to face the Argonauts the following day.

They couldn't have cared less and it made me feel sheepish, even though I soon realized there was no reason to be.

"Oh, that's against Game 2 of the ALCS and the Leafs' home opener is tomorrow night too," one warned.  "There might be 2,000 people there."

They all laughed.

And remind me for a second, just who the heck is Toronto anyway?

They are home to the Maple Leafs who are, well, the Leafs.  The Raptors habitually have the worst brand in the NBA (several sports marketing studies have proven this) and the Blue Jays had the longest playoff drought in North American pro sports until last year.

And they're going to laugh at us?

2 - Asking to get the broadcast of the Ottawa-Hamilton CFL game put on just one of the televisions in that establishment was pointless.  That suggestion was met with laughter too.

"But it's Friday Night Football!" huffed Rider Radio colour commentator Carm Carteri to me under his breath.

Nope.  It was a no-go.  However the manager of the joint relented to someone's request to get the Raptors-versus-Zimbabwe NBA preseason game put on a tiny TV monitor next to the movie theatre-sized screen showing the Jays and Indians.

3 - "The CFL really only is a big deal in the West," said one of the youngsters, a manager at the network.  "No one out here cares about it."

I responded with, "Then how do you explain sellout crowds in Ottawa, Hamilton and Montreal?"

He thought for a minute, and squeezed his chin.

"Yah I guess you're right," he submitted.  "I suppose it really only is Toronto that doesn't care about the CFL."


4 - And therein lies the problem.  It must be an incredibly depressing feeling for staffers at CFL headquarters when they walk into the offices on Wellington Street East each morning.  But it shouldn't be.

And there's no need for anyone connected with the CFL to feel "one inch" tall while visiting Toronto for road games or league meetings either.  It's Toronto's problem, not ours.

Shoot, Carm and I were in Toronto representing the Saskatchewan Roughriders who, as Rider President Craig Reynolds is fond of pointing out, is "Canada's #3 sports brand".

These kids who invited us to their table didn't know or care that the Saskatchewan Roughriders outsell the Blue Jays, Raptors, Oilers, Flames, Senators, etc., etc. in merchandise, and all the rest that goes along with being right behind the Maple Leafs and Canadiens for national sports prominence.

And it's not those kids' fault.  They're just like the other 6-million-plus in the Greater Toronto Area; they're too big for the CFL and prefer instead the NHL, MLB and NBA.  Perhaps even the NFL.

The difference is the CFL hasn't done anything wrong in Toronto, but the city has turned its back on the league nonetheless.

Therefore, it's time to leave.

And this isn't about the Argos' attendance woes.  It's about the football club's grotesque invisibility in its own city.  The Argos don't have a bad reputation because they don't have a reputation at all.

If the topic came up at the CFL Board of Governors table regarding relocation of the Argonauts to Quebec City or Atlantic Canada, and I was there and had a vote, I'd check an emphatic YES for moving the Argos out of Toronto.  Yesterday.

Maybe the citizens of Toronto would feel a pang of regret once they saw rabid fans of the Halifax Argonauts going wild in McCain's Stadium.  Or, maybe they wouldn't.

But the Toronto Argonauts - and the CFL - don't deserve the treatment they're getting in the GTA.  They're both vastly credible organizations with no credibility in the very place they pay their taxes.

Therefore it's time to go.

5 - There will be many with the Argonauts who wince at that suggestion.  The Voice of the Argos Mike Hogan and I have gotten into some heated arguments over this matter in the past but he's at a loss now.

"Maybe we should've moved the Roughriders when they were going through rough times," Hogan Tweeted at me a few seasons ago.  However he referred to the situation as "depressing" when we debated it on the SportsCage on 620 CKRM last week.

It's easy to see why Argonauts and CFL officials felt the move from Rogers Centre to nearby BMO Field would be all it took to save the franchise.  It's a stunning facility, outdoors, and the perfect size to host a CFL team.

These are sharp guys. Whizzes in their field.

And yet someone forgot to tell the people of Toronto.  The Argos haven't had a sellout all season and their attendance is dwindling with a record of 5-11.  Just over 15,000 showed up for Saturday's Roughriders/Argos game - which was much more than was expected - however without Rider fans in attendance, there would've been far less than 10,000 on hand.

But at this point, the Argos are not giving up.  As CBC's Malcolm Kelly said on our halftime show, "The Argos actually have a marketing department now, and a ticket-selling department, and they feel they're going in the right direction."

Maybe that's true, but the improvement has been incremental.

I say move the Argos and move them now.  The CFL deserves better than the treatment it's getting in Toronto.

The people there are nice, friendly and sophisticated.  But if they don't want the CFL, then I think we can get along without them just as fine.

6 - Malcolm Kelly dropped another nugget during our halftime interview.  He suggested the Argonauts should be in the bidding for the services of Marc Trestman, who was fired as Offensive Coordinator of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens one week ago.

Who knows if Trestman's even interested in coming back to the CFL - let alone Toronto - but Kelly suggests that if the Argos want to make a splash with Toronto sports fans, they need a big name like Marc Trestman.

"It's 'Go Big or Go Home'," Kelly continued.  "Look at your President, Craig Reynolds.  He went big by signing Chris Jones and his entire staff and look at how it's paying off now (the Riders were leading 20-0 at halftime on their way to their fourth victory in a row).

"If the Argos want to be taken seriously, they need to do what the Riders did."

It will be a very interesting off-season in Toronto with the likes of Argo GM Jim Barker and Head Coach Scott Milanovich.  Both are proven football men and will have jobs in 2017.  However the question remains whether it will be in Toronto or not.

7 - And how about those Saskatchewan Roughriders?  We arrived home shortly after midnight on Saturday and on Sunday, one of my daughters quizzed, "When did the Riders get good?"

It's true, the Roughriders appear to be back to being a good - maybe even great - football team even if it's too little, too late for 2016.  Their playoff chances were officially extinguished one week ago when Edmonton won at Montreal.

It is what it is.  As the broadcaster, I'm simply enjoying calling games for a dominant football team right now and staring at an extremely long off-season ahead.  Every winter is long, but this one will be excruciating with the anticipation of what this club's going to do in New Mosaic Stadium starting next June.

Chris Jones said on CKRM's postgame show that a "large contingent" of this year's team will be back with the club next year and why wouldn't they be?  It appears that after a 6-month training camp (April-September), he finally has the pieces he wants.

8 - Roughriders Assistant V.P. of Football Administration Jeremy O'Day concurred with the statement  that "The worst is over"during a chat on Saturday's pregame show.

"Yeah I think coming into the season we knew it was going to be a process," O'Day said.  "Obviously it didn't get moving in the right direction fast enough for what we'd have liked.  Honestly coming into the season we felt like we had a team that could go into the playoffs and have an opportunity to move forward but it took a little bit longer.

"But you can see this team is starting to gel. We're starting to play well in all the phases, they're starting to take to the coaching, and not only that, we turned over 3/4 of the team so these guys were getting used to playing next to each other.  It's starting to create some positive momentum.  I can tell you it's a heckuva lot better feeling when you win than when you lose."

9 - If the Roughriders were sick of each other after 11 days on the road, you wouldn't have known it by what I saw Sunday morning at Ricky's in Harbour Landing.  Seated together for breakfast were the likes of Naaman Roosevelt, Jeff Knox Jr., Kacy Rodgers, Tyler Crapigna, Josh Bartel, Matt Webster, Jeff Hecht and Graig Newman.

Teams that eat together win together.

This really is a special bunch, and they all stopped by our table to say hi.

10 - I stopped in at Sparky's Sunday evening to pick up a pizza and the regulars bellied up to the bar were discussing new Rider running back Joe McKnight.  The former Eskimo tallied 150 yards rushing in Saturday's win over Toronto and that was the first 100-plus yard performance by a Rider running back this season.  It was also the first since Jerome Messam rushed for 111 yards on September 27 of last year.

And here's the truly breathtaking stat: McKnight's performance was the 30th time in Rider history that a player rushed for 150 yards or more.  George Reed did it on SEVEN occasions and in two other games he had 149 yards!

11 - One thing that irked me over the weekend and I wanted to vent on in the MMG was the fact CFL V.P. of Football Glen Johnson singled out replay official Jeff Harbin for getting a review incorrect in Friday's Ottawa-Hamilton game.  Wouldn't it have been more discreet to simply say the "Command Centre" got it wrong?

I can't imagine Harbin was too thrilled with being thrown under the bus by his bus but I can't speak for him.

**EDIT** As I re-read the 3DownNation.com story on Johnson's statement, he didn't specifically mention Harbin by name. Writer Drew Edwards did, for what it's worth.**

And Glen Johnson knows how to be discreet. As one CFL type pointed out last werk, official Rick Berezowski was the one fired by Tom Higgins when he was in the role of CFL V.P. of Officiating a few years back.  However Johnson has discreetly re-hired Berezowksi.  In fact he worked Saturday's Roughriders-Argonauts game.

If CFL officiating is indeed as bad as the teams are wailing about right now, then these are some of the issues which need to be brought up in the off-season.

The TSN broadcasts and Twitter feeds of reporters covering the CFL were littered with criticisms of calls in games over the weekend.

Those public statements are unsightly for the CFL.

12 - It's cute how the debate has reared its head again how the CFL should look at scrapping the division alignment we've employed for years and go with the top six teams for the playoffs based on their record.  (i.e. 1 and 2 get a bye, 3 plays 6 and 4 plays 5 in the Division Semifinals).

The idea has merit but I simply wonder if I only hear it around here because it would give the Riders a better chance of making the playoffs rather than the current format.

But based on the records today, here's how it would shake down based on points.

Calgary 29
Winnipeg 20
BC 18
Edmonton 16
Ottawa 15
Hamilton 12
Saskatchewan 10
Toronto 10
Montreal 8

* Under this method the Roughriders would still miss the playoffs however I guess with the way they're going, they could still sneak ino the Top 6.

Still, I'm not in favouring of tinkering with the playoff format.  Canada is split into the East and the West and there's no reason why its football league shouldn't be too.
 
13 - We can't get out of this column without an obligatory Regina Pats mention.  At 6-0-3, the Queen City Kids are atop the WHL's Eastern Conference with 15 points.  They are the only team in the CHL which has yet to lose in regulation.

Your next chance to witness this juggernaut is Tuesday evening at 7:00 when the Pats play host to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.  620 CKRM's SportsCage will be broadcast live from the Brandt Centre that afternoon and we'll do our best to whip up some hype for the Blueshirts.

Sadly, not enough people have noticed.  Attendance at Pats games is poor and as one NHL scout noted at a game last week, "This team is in the running to host the Memorial Cup next year and no one around here seems to care."

It's a cheap, easy story to write about the lack of profile for the Pats in Regina.  Some who've worked for the Pats in the past have said it's impossible to get any traction in the market in the fall months while the Roughriders are still playing.

I was prepared to write today that the notion of drawing 5,000-plus for a Pats game every night is unsalvageable but over lunch last week, a local marketing whiz figured it's not a lost cause.  He said Regina hockey fans just got out of the habit of going to Pats games during the wasteland years of the 2000s and that ticket prices currently are just too high.

But there's still hope.

Here's hoping the Pats find it soon.  They're doing all they can on the ice but perhaps it's going to take a lot more to turn the city on.

14 - Millions across Canada will be tuned in Monday evening for Game 3 of the ALCS between the Indians and Blue Jays in Toronto on Sportsnet.  Blue Jays fans are hoping a venue change will help reverse the club's fortunes after losing the opening pair in Ohio.

The club that lived by the long ball in the regular season, wildcard game and ALDS is dying by a lack of it in the League Championship Series.  Sportsnet analyst Gregg Zaun was on the SportsCage last week saying this club checked their egos at the door in time for the playoffs - sacrificing swinging for the fences and gaudy numbers for simply getting on base and advancing the runners - but they forgot to do that on the weekend.

Here's hoping this fun ride picks back up again Monday night!

AND is there anything more nauseating than the racial outcry over Cleveland's nickname of the "Indians"?  Some First Nations folk may be offended by it while many others are not.

But don't point the finger at this blog.  That's the team's nickname at this current time and that's why we refer to it as such online and on the air.  If and when it changes, we'll follow suit.

-------

THAT'S IT FOR TODAY!  SEE YOU ON THE RADIO AT 4:00 PM
RP
@rodpedersen
www.realtyoneregina.com

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Leafs are top news in Toronto yet they play in many cities where the NHL is met with almost complete indifference. Does that make the fans in Toronto care any less about them?

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more, MOVE THE ARGOS.

Anonymous said...

Rod, You want people in Toronto to respect the CFL? As you take shots at some of the other leagues and Toronto teams?

Yeah...that'll help.

Anonymous said...

Screw Rogers... Hope Toronto gets swept from the playoffs! Go Cleveland!

Anonymous said...

Went to one of the Boston Pizza'a in Saskatoon on Saturday to watch the Riders.
Every TV except 1 was showing the Jays game, the one that wasn't, had a soccer game on.
I asked our waitress if we could get the Rider game on at least one screen, she said as soon as the soccer game was over they would put the Rider game on..... at which point we walked out.

Anonymous said...

You can get Pats tickets for as low as $12.00- just sayin
Box Office Don

Don Mitchell said...

Torontonians don't like to support winning franchises.

Anonymous said...

Ya Go Cleveland

Anonymous said...

I still think there's hope for the Argos in TO. The fact is, the Argos have had crap for a marketing department for so long (and the CFL for that matter) that people just don't know what it's about anymore. It's definitely going to take some time but there were several things this season that didn't help. For example, having games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights? That's just stupidity. Plus losing too, nobody wants to be associated with losing. I agree that the Argos brass should be making a big effort to bring in Marc Trestman. His success in Montreal speaks for itself and if he can get the winning formula going in TO, that'll help turn the franchise around.

Heck if they want some tips on how to do it they should be talking to the marketing people with the Saskatchewan Rush. It's the hottest thing in Saskatoon and it took them less than a year while starting from basically nothing. If they can do it, so can the Argos.


Dubya

Six Pint Limit said...

Who was the biggest Argos cheerleader in recent years? Rob Ford. That says a lot about the Argos current (and past) fanbase. The former Mayor was many things, but Drake he was not.

Jarrett said...

There is a core of 15,000 fans who love the Argos as much as any Saskatchewan fan loves the Riders.

This Argo fanbase deserves some love after enduring insult after insult over three decades of incompetent ownership. For much of that time, the team played football games in a baseball stadium – a venue so cavernous and poorly thought out, that you couldn't see the whole field from row 7 on the 55 yard line.

The team lost a generation.

And now the team has a beautiful new venue, committed, competent ownership – and a base of 15,000 fans to build from. These fans should be commended for coming out at the exact same time the Blue Jays were playing their playoff game, and the Leafs were about to play their home opener. They came out even though their team sucks.

It wasn't so long ago the Riders played in front of 16,000 fans at Taylor Field. Hell, the Riders couldn't pack the park for a number of games in 2017.

No one called for the Riders to be moved.

When the Argos start winning, they'll draw 22,000 and that number will climb from there. Everyone who comes out to BMO has a great time. The atmosphere is fun! There's not a bad seat in the house and the venue is picturesque.

In the long run, the Argos in Toronto will be just fine. They've been doing it for 143 years.

Jarrett

Anonymous said...

By your logic you may as well move the Pats... smh

Rod Pedersen said...

Perhaps you missed the part where I said this stance isn't related to Argo attendance. It's about how they're treated in their own city.

The Pats WILL sellout every game beginning in February.

The Coach said...

Great MMG as always Roddy but you're WAYYYY off on the Raptors Brand rank amongst NBA teams. The Argos have the biggest turnaround success story in Pro Sports Branding right in their city in the form of the Raptors and the We The North campaign created by Sid Lee. I know you're a Marketing Guru Roddy so you'll enjoy this read: http://argylepr.com/raptors-off-court-success-building-public-relationships-with-fans/

The Blueprint to make the Argos (or Pats) relevant is sitting there. Just need someone to take it on.

The Coach

Anonymous said...

The Argonauts will be fine. It will take awhile for fans to discover the improved game day experience at BMO Field. The core group of Argo fans are to be commended and hopefully are rewarded with a winning team. Toronto wants to be a big American city, the Argo's will never be a big deal, but there are enough proud Canadians in Toronto to make it work.

Rod Pedersen said...

I think if you took a poll of US NBA fans, the Raptors would rank at the bottom.

Alex said...

I wanted to take my 4 year old daughter to the Pats game last weekend. She enjoys hockey, and doing fun things in general, but the cheapest pair of tickets I could find on the Pats app was $29. That's not outrageous for two adults, but for myself and a preschooler, who will probably have to leave before its over, that's more than I can pay.

I can't teach her to love the Pats if I cannot afford to get there.

The "Best Available" that the app tried to sell me was $57.

Alex

Anonymous said...

The lack of support for the Argos is maybe a chicken and egg thing.

Did the Torontonians quit caring for the CFL on their own?

Or, was it the media that put the Argos on the back burner because they are constantly promoting an NFL dream?

Personally, I think the media shapes the people.

SWC

Anonymous said...

Safeway tickets 13.00. Not bad

Anonymous said...

The Argos have been on life support for some time. They should be moved as soon as possible to the Maritimes where it would do more to create a truly "Canadian" football league. All sorts of things have been done to make TO competitive (Rick Ray trade) yet in the end it fails.

Toronto doesn't hate the Argo they don't support the Jays when they aren't winning either. They don't like anything when they aren't winning. People hold on to seasons seats with the hope one day the Leafs will be winners (never happen). It's a huge blow to their psyche that the greatest city in the country/world, can't come close to winning a Stanley Cup. They can't Lord it over on anyone because the team is perennial losers. Ditto for the Jays. Everything else falls in place behind them. The Raptors are the epitome of useless. Really what's left.

The Argo name would even work in the Maritimes. Look how long they kept Major Junior Hockey out of the Maritimes. Look how successful it's been since they are now heavily entrenched. Ontario can no longer use it as their personal recruiting area. The Argo's don't survive in TO..

Anonymous said...

Possibly 'Divide and Conquer' is the way to go.

Shut down the Argos but have two expansion teams in the area. There's enough population there to create a rivalry.

Maybe the Mississauga Maroons vs the Markham Mustangs would create a buzz.

Anonymous said...

The Raptors brand is stronger than it has ever been as is demand for tickets. The Raptors recently sold out exhibition games in Vancouver and Calgary in under ten minutes. They don't need to be popular in the US, they need to be popular in Canada.

Bottom line...the Argos aren't a major league team and Toronto is a major league city. Most people in TO put the Argos in the same realm as the Marlies.

Rod Pedersen said...

And THEREFORE the CFL shouldn't be in Toronto.

Thank you for fortifying my argument.

Anonymous said...

The Argos are the longest serving CFL team and 60% of the population does not come from Canada - that's first generation. They did the right thing by fortifying ownership, and second best thing was to move to BMO. "Toronto" or GTH is massive and they need to move to a regional brand - remain the Argos but become Mississauga or take out Toronto and call them Ontario Argonauts - either way Toronto does not work.

If the Argos go out of the CFL and Toronto market justwatch the TV contract which these teams rely on go bye bye and that's a fact. Then you have a very minor league and the dominoes fall. That means Hamilton goes next and probably Ottawa because of increased travel costs. Saskatchewa, BC, Hamilton all teams suffered for a long time and it takes a long time to rebuild that brand. When Keith Pelly was CEO they were drawing 30,000 fans a game. It all depends on who you have running the ship at the top.

Bryce Looyenga said...

Yeah it seems many bars don't show the Rider games much anymore. Seems almost every sport takes precedence, especially the Jays.

Anonymous said...

You know things are not what they used to be when even the 4 Seasons in Regina had the Rider game on with NO SOUND, forcing Rider fans trying to watch the game there to suffer through the "play-by-play" of the Blue Jay game. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

NFL referees directly affected the outcome of the Seattle vs Atlanta game on a non call 4th down . Was a blatant pass interference call!

Anonymous said...

Where are the fire Jones guys?

Anonymous said...

With the stamps dominating , the riders eliminated and the east ( division 2 ) not competing who wants to watch ? I won't watch another CFL game this season. NFL ,NHL and MLB are getting mine and the rest of Canada's attention.

Anonymous said...

TO likes to think of themselves as an NFL town, hell they don't even support that either. The Bills in Toronto Series was a complete disaster evident by the fact that their new owners terminated the agreement as soon as they took over.

Agree on the Keith Pelly comments, it wasn't that long ago that they were bringing in 30K per game and in the glory days it was around 50K. You need a winning team and good marketing and the rest will fall into place. Argos can work in TO, just needs some more effort put into it.


Gunderson's Yorkton

Anonymous said...

Best comments on this blog in a long time. Very true. The Jays support left in 1994. They will be irrelevant in a few years. ..again. The TO sports networks tell us to cheer for the Toronto teams and some just follow along.

Anonymous said...

I wish the Riders would fire Jones so we can get him back in Edmonton. Jason Maas ain't the answer. BRING BACK JONES!

Anonymous said...

Torana is one of the nicest American cities you can visit.

Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Jarrett - The Riders at no point ever saw crowds drop to 16,000 consistently. The times that happened were games in the last half or third of the season when the Riders were way, way out of the playoff race. Overall the Riders have only had an average home attendance of under 20,000 twice since 1980: once in 1986 and once in 1999, and in both cases the club still averaged over 19K. In fact, here's the Riders' attendance average going back to 1980 courtesy of https://stats.cfldb.ca/league/cfl/attendance/

1980 24,581
1981 27,939
1982 28,116
1983 25,825
1984 24,476
1985 23,116
1986 19,165
1987 24,070
1988 25,446
1989 24,176
1990 26,317
1991 22,597
1992 21,704
1993 23,767
1994 25,454
1995 28,500
1996 22,373
1997 27,037
1998 25,364
1999 19,336
2000 24,715
2001 22,097
2002 24,226
2003 29,352
2004 24,783
2005 25,565
2006 25,292

Pretty damn phenomenal considering how brutal a lot of those Rider teams were. The Riders couldn't pack the park for every game in 2016? They're at 94% capacity for the season and lead the league in attendance, so STFU with such patently stupid nonsense.

Anywho, as far as the Argos go the TFC had to frontload their schedule with away games due to BMO renovations, which means their home games were all played over a condensed period of time, and as they are the primary tenant and get first pick of dates that's why you saw Tuesday and Wednesday games this year.

Next year TFC will have a regular schedule which will open up traditional days of the week for football and so the Argos will not have that issue to deal with any more.

It's a process that you can't judge until you've seen what happens over 4 or 5 years. One thing the Argos should look at is their ticket pricing - their tickets are too expensive.

Chad Cronk said...

The Argos have stayed afloat in recent years in large part due to successful Grey Cups. I believe David Braley, when he owned the Argos was guaranteed a certain number of Grey Cups in Toronto as penance for bailing this team out.
Fast forward to 2016; the game is only 50% sold out and the prospect of of West vs West Grey Cup is a very real possibility. Given that, I think the Argos could be in real trouble at the conclusion of this season.
----
On another note, my buddy and I went to the game and sat with some Argo fans. The couple to our left were in their mid-twenties and this was their first game since last year. They liked the Argos and enjoyed themselves (irrespective of the outcome) throughout. During our conversation in Q1 they asked "where the Grey Cup was this year". They were shocked when I told them it was in Toronto!
Even crazier was the fact that I saw absolutely no promotion about the Grey Cup except for a 15 second spot on the jumbo-tron late in the game.
Is MLSE really the marketing juggernaut they purport to be?
Could the Argos simply be a tax-writeoff for this organization?
-----
Last point:
If I owned the Argos I would consider moving them to St. Louis. When the NFL comes back I would move them back to Toronto.
The legitimization of the team in the US would certainly create some hype upon their return.

Anonymous said...

Rod, Regina Pats will lead the Eastern division and Regina. Too bad they take a back seat to the Riders who is like watching paint dry ������

Anonymous said...

Raptors were 4th in NBA in attendance last season, not counting the crowds that packed the square. Forbes magazine ranked the Raptors #14 out of 30 NBA teams in franchise value as of 2016. But I guess when you write your column in a bar, it's hard to do proper research.

VoiceOfReason said...

The real elephant in the room is that millennials in Toronto thumb their noses at anything they think they are above, ie, anything in Canada that's not in 'The 6ix'. National sports media in the country based in Toronto has chosen the CFL as too under sophisticated in comparison to the more American leagues such as NHL, MLB & MLS. The more popular the Riders become plus with the building of a new stadium, the more Torontonian's claim they are above this Canadian home grown league and that the CFL doesn't count as a professional league in their more worldly vision of sports. It never use to be this way, just in the last couple decades Toronto believes it has surpassed the rest of the country in terms of cosmopolitan living and all it offers. The Argos will never success in Toronto without backing from sports media and the Torontonians that look up to networks for what sports the broadcasters feel are relevant.

Anonymous said...

Familiarity breeds interest. And once junior hockey began the more 'pro' approach of drafting kids around the league they lost a thousand fans a game. Bunches of us parents (with kids in tow) went to Pats games (regardless of record) to see the kids we watched develop over the years in the rinks. There was a lot of pride cheering for 'our' kids even if not an ardent hockey fan. Check out any U.S. town on Friday nights and half the town are at the high school football game cheering for 'their' local boys. Institute a Statewide draft out of junior high and watch the interest drop like a stone. I suggest junior hockey is very similar. (An old dinosaur ... guilty)

Anonymous said...

Rod, I have to agree with your comment. The lack of interest for Argos in Toronto makes the entire league look bad. Time is now to relocate. The amount of free tickets given out by the Argos for each game will definitely see a decrease in their Season ticket holders for 2017. What will truly tell the plight of the Argos is to get actual 416 tv viewership numbers which I am sure are dismal. HAs there ever been a team in any sport that moved to a new stadium and not sold out? I think the Argos are the first ones. As for Cleveland having a racist name, its time for the CFL to take the lead and have Edmonton lose the Eskimos name. Lets see the Halifax Argonauts in 2018!

Ranjit N said...

The situation will not improve for the Argos in Toronto. Firstly MLSE does not own the Argos, simply because Rogers did not want them. Only Larry Tannenbaum a Bell own the Argos, which explains a poor marketing plan. The game days will not improve either at BMO Field they are 4th on the list for selecting game days, TFC is first then Canada Soccer and then Canada Rugby and then the Argos. There is a requirement that between a Argos home date and a TFC home date there must be 5 days to allow for the field to recover. TFC will have more games next season in addition to league games as they will be playing in the Concacaf Champions League. And if you visit any Argos forum they fan base complains about BMO Field, poor site lines from the South end, too hot on the East stand/sunlight in your eyes, difficult to get to, and expensive parking.

So they are treated as second class citizens Rod, and it isnt going to improve next season. In addition they have a large debt to pay to MLSE for the improvements to BMO Field to make it CFL friendly, which btw is still not a CFL regulation size field, as well the 50 yard line is not in the centre of the stadium it is offset.

Anonymous said...

Toronto does not want to be a "big American city", and people here or no less proud to be Canadians than anywhere else in the country. What an ignorant comment to make. The Argos are what they are for a long list of reasons, one major one that people tend to miss is football isn't that big a sport in the city anymore. A group of people gamble on the NFL, so they follow that, but in terms of interest...Soccer and Basketball have far surpassed football in this city.

Anonymous said...

How do you explain Toronto FC's attendance over the first 10 years of that team? For 8 of those years they were arguably the worst franchise in sports in North America, maybe the world...yet most games over the first 10 years have been sellouts. Raptors as well. Leafs..well we know that story. So basically the only teams that don't sellout when they aren't winning are the Jays and Argos.

Jason D said...

Truth be told Rod, no one will care that the Argos are leaving or have already left. Soccer and basketball have surpassed the CFL in Toronto. Raptors/TFC sell out even if the teams arent doing well. As well those teams get respect in this city. Parents prefer to have their kids play baseball, soccer, basketball or hockey rather than football. There is no interest from the grass roots, parents don't want their kids to die of concussions related to constant head trauma that comes with football. The sport in general has die in Toronto/Mississauga/Brampton.

Anonymous said...

TFC played in half empty BMO over thoses 10 years, don;t kid yourself. They would announce 16,000 but really on 10,000 were in the seats, but when you are owned by MLSE, the media does not comment on fake attendance numbers. only the Argos get them

Anonymous said...

TFC most definitely did not play games with 10,000 in the seats. Laughable comment, and totally false. I've been a season ticket holder with TFC since day one, missed maybe 15 matches over the first 10 years of this club. I've NEVER seen a regular season match with as little as 10,000 people.

TFC's lowest announced attendance average was still just over 18,000...at its worst was in 2012. http://www.wakingthered.com/2012/10/29/3572162/MLS-attendance-2012-Toronto-FC

TJ said...

In 2012 BMO Field was 20K capacity, so TFCs 18K in a 20K stadium is a much better than getting 12-15K in a 30K renovated BMO Field which is what the Argos are doing, plus the Argos are a significant amount of free tickets for their games. The Argo situation in Toronto is grave....do i hear another Argo bankruptcy being filed?

Ralph Aquino said...

You have no clue what you are talking about TFC has been getting crowds of 20 000 or better since they started have been to most home games since they started , remember TFC plays about 20 home games not only 9 home games the Argos play lol.