SBD/August 26, 2014/Franchises

CFL Team To Hand Out Free Tickets To Upcoming Games After Losing Guaranteed Win

The CFL B.C. Lions are now "on the hook for thousands of free tickets to any of their remaining home games" after losing Sunday to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a game Lions President & CEO Dennis Skulsky guaranteed the team would win, according to Mike Beamish of the VANCOUVER SUN. A season-high crowd of 33,196 attended the game after it had failed to draw more than 25,231 for any of the Lions' first four home games. However, it is unknown whether the crowd boost "was a result of the Roughriders’ natural drawing power, or marketing gimmickry" (VANCOUVER SUN, 8/26). In Vancouver, Ed Willes notes some have argued that Skulsky "succeeded in moving the Lions to the front of the city’s sporting consciousness while creating a genuine buzz around" Sunday's game. Willes: "That’s true, to a point." But there is a "larger issue involved here, one that speaks to the state of the Lions." Until this year, the club never "needed a guaranteed win to sell its product." The Lions brand was "built through a series of successful, exciting teams that earned the support of the community." There was "no need for gimmicks, no need for hype." But since moving into B.C. Place in '11, attendance has "decreased every year and, barring a miracle over their final four home dates, it will fall again this season" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 8/25).

: In Winnipeg, Paul Friesen wonders if anyone else notices the CFL "has become difficult to watch many nights, downright boring on others." Scoring is "at a 29-year-low," as teams have "combined for 45.8 points per game, down nearly a full touchdown per game from last year." CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon has acknowledged TV viewership is "down from last season." Cohon: “We started off the season up against the World Cup, which is obviously an international phenomenon and continues to grow. But the numbers are starting to pick up" (WINNIPEG SUN, 8/26).
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