Where are the fans?

There is a growing concern in the CFL so far in 2019 with attendance being down and continuing to drop league-wide through the first quarter of the season.

Attendance has been a hot topic since week two and while many disregarded it as being too early to judge, especially after a week three jump in numbers, those numbers have dropped by more than 4,000 fans in the two weeks since. The week three boost only came because the two biggest fanbases in the league hadn’t had home games yet. The Blue Bombers and the Riders both had their home openers that week and it helped give the league an extra boost in fans. That has not made a difference in the downward spiral though.

The CFL’s attendance has actually started on a descending trend since around 2012 when it was a respectable 28,190 average. It dropped for a years after that then held steady from about 2015-2017, but has taken nose dive since. In fact, the league hasn’t averaged over 30,000 fans since 1983 and the closest it has come recently is 2008. The record year for average attendance? You have to go all the way back to 1978. That year the Eskimos beat the Alouettes in the 66th Grey Cup and the attendance for that game was a whopping almost 55,000 in Toronto.

That kind of football crowd doesn’t exist in that city anymore and who knows, maybe Toronto is the key to getting attendance back up to respectable numbers. Football in Toronto has so much to compete with, that even a Grey Cup in 2017 hasn’t been able to help their numbers. There have even been plenty of empty green seats at the new Mosaic Stadium the first couple of home games.

The issue has even reached the organizers of next months Touchdown Atlantic game in Moncton, as Schooners Sports and Entertainment (SSE) announced new pricing packages for the contest between the Alouettes and Argos with prices starting as low as $29. As well as offering other services such as family packages, bus transportation, and a party zone as ticket sales have been underwhelming for the group trying to bring the Atlantic Schooners to fruition.

Calgary, Winnipeg, and Saskatchewan all have home games this week so hopefully fans turn out and give numbers another boost otherwise Randy Ambrosie could have a growing issue to get on top of. The commissioner’s office did not reply for comment in time for publishing.

 

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