SBD/July 2, 2013/Franchises

CFL Toronto Argonauts Struggle With Ticket Sales Despite Winning The '12 Grey Cup

Nearly 30,000 Argos fans turned up for the team's opening day game
CFL Toronto Argonauts Exec Chair & CEO Chris Rudge on Friday discussed the “problems the franchise continues to wrestle with, including the fact that season ticket sales are actually down from last year," according to Steve Buffery of the TORONTO SUN. Rudge added that the "unfortunate reality" is that the team is "stuck at the Rogers Centre for the next 3-5 years, ‘unless something unique happens’ on the new stadium front.” The Argos this season “have to fight tooth and nail to remain relevant in this market, a fight Rudge engages in every day.” Rudge said, “In the 1970’s, it was (the Argos) and the Leafs. They were brands of equal stature and value. And we’ve allowed that to erode.” Rudge said that the franchise is “about to sign a new lease agreement to remain at the cavernous Rogers Centre for a few more years.” He said of winning the ‘12 Grey Cup, “That hasn’t translated into season ticket sales the way we thought, though we’re well ahead of 2011, which was a normal year. A Grey Cup year is not quite normal because you use Grey Cup tickets as an incentive to sell tickets.” Rudge was “hoping for an opening day crowd of between 23-25,000 on Friday, and got 29,852 thanks to a good push in the three days leading up to the game.” Still, somewhat “disappointing season ticket renewals has left him baffled, given the club’s magical run last year.” Rudge said that he and team Owner David Braley are “actively exploring alternatives to the Rogers Centre, and he credits Braley, who bought the team in 2010, with giving the franchise the stability it hasn’t always enjoyed over the last couple of decades” (TORONTO SUN, 6/29).
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