SBD/November 1, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

CFL Seeing Growth In Ontario; Argos, Tiger-Cats Enjoying Revenue Uptick

CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon said that the league "is seizing its current opportunity to make big strides in Southern Ontario," according to Rachel Brady of the GLOBE & MAIL. Cohon "cites higher team revenues and television ratings this season over last for both the Toronto Argonauts and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats." He "believes the CFL has effectively started to cultivate new, long-term fans in this heavily saturated sports market with grass-roots football initiatives and sound marketing strategies." Argos President & CEO Chris Rudge said of the upcoming Grey Cup, "If we can't take advantage of having this 100th festival here in Toronto, we will have lost an opportunity that will never come to us again to re-ignite the CFL and the Argo brand here in Toronto's marketplace." Cohon said, "The big events will create the excitement, but we are also drilling down to make sure we turn people in Southern Ontario into long-term fans." Brady notes market research "showed the CFL and the Argos few surprises -- the team's base of season seat holders are loyal but mainly older Torontonians, and the demographics of that base isn't representative of modern-day Toronto." To reverse that trend, the Argos have "met with community leaders and increased advertising in the metro area's South Asian media," with Rudge "even being interviewed during cricket broadcasts." Rudge said that season-ticket sales are "up approximately 30-35 per cent for this season over last ... and game-by-game sales are up by double digits." Cohon said that TV ratings for the Argos "are up 10 per cent in Ontario this season over last season, and similarly nationwide." Ticats President Scott Mitchell said that the team's research shows that for home games, "one out of every five Hamiltonians is either at the game, watching on TV or listening on the radio" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/31).
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