Alouettes Looking For Attendance, Attention Bump With Manziel
The CFL Montreal Alouettes will start QB Johnny Manziel for Friday's game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and though coach Mike Sherman has deemed it as a "football, not marketing decision," it remains to be seen whether this will have a "palpable effect" on attendance, according to Herb Zurkowsky of the MONTREAL GAZETTE. After trading for Manziel, the Alouettes saw an "increase at their ticket office for the middle of the summer, generally a slow period," and had 16,654 fans attend a recent loss to the Edmonton Eskimos. Alouettes VP/Communications & Community Relations Louis-Antoine Paquin said, "We've seen a definite interest. Whether it's going to morph into sales, that's still to be seen. ... I welcome the interest it triggers for our organization. But the goal of this is not to sell jerseys." Zurkowsky noted there were four TV cameras at the Alouettes' practice Tuesday, as there have been "virtually every day since Manziel took the field" with the team for the first time July 23. Those cameras have been there "exclusively for Manziel." With Manziel's "celebrity status," the Alouettes are "not used to being this popular," not even when the team played in "eight Grey Cups during an 11-year period." The attention is "uncharted territory" for the team (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 8/1). In Montreal, Jack Todd wrote the team "desperately needs someone" who can both play QB and "sell tickets." Manziel is "already the most famous (or infamous) player in the CFL and he has barely seen action." But Montreal is a city that "likes its charisma hot," so Manziel "should be a perfect fit, assuming he can play" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 7/29).