Toronto Not a (CFL) Football Town ?

Discussion in 'CFL League Talk' started by Liske, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. Liske

    Liske Member

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    Here's an op-ed by TSN's Dave Naylor:

    "Over the weekend, one of the most dramatic moments in recent Toronto pro sports took place Friday night.


    The Toronto Argonauts trailed the Hamilton Tiger Cats by 13 points with less than three minutes to play, before rallying for a dramatic come-from-behind win capped by Ricky Ray throwing a 69- yard touchdown pass to win it.


    You may have heard about it, but chances are you didn't see it if you live in Toronto. Even less a chance that you were there to see it live. And when you go back to work tomorrow, it won't be what everyone is talking about.


    In a football city, with a real football beating heart, it would be all the buzz.


    If this were Regina, Winnipeg, Calgary … even Vancouver, such an ending to a rivalry game would create ripples that would last for days if not all week.


    But not here in Toronto the worst football city in North America.


    Don't believe me?


    Where else is there a city where the matter of a football team winning or losing isn't a matter of concern for most of the city's sports fans.


    Nowhere, that's where. Except here.


    Because everywhere else in the US or Canada there's a pro or college football teams that captures the souls of the local populace.


    And think about it, every type of football entertainment there is has failed in Toronto.


    The Argos haven't penetrated the city's mainstream sporting consciousness since the early 1980s. The university game at York University or the University of Toronto draws flies to watch teams that are usually not competitive.


    They used to play the Vanier Cup in Toronto but unless a local team was involved, the crowds were embarrassingly small.


    The NCAA held a college game here called the International Bowl but it turned into a money-loser.


    And even the mighty NFL, the mighty NFL, flopped here when the Bills in Toronto series turned out to be a fiasco.


    The most popular sport in North America, a money sport across the continent, is a consistent money loser in Toronto where there is simply no football rallying point.


    Would it be different if the city ever got an NFL team? Absolutely it would.


    But those prepared to count on that happening someday have to be considered dreamers.


    And don't tell me that this is a great football town because everyone supports their own NFL team which adds up to a massive collective fandom. That's true, but it's also completely soulless and adds absolutely nothing to the fabric of this city because there is no rallying point, no common thread.


    That's what every other city has, except ours.


    Toronto is a wonderful place to live. A place with great music and theater, restaurants and nightlife and sports.


    Yes our home city has an awful lot going for it.


    But gawd, it sure ain't a football town."


    http://www.tsn.ca/naylor-toronto-is-not-a-football-town-1.105964

    I think Naylor makes some good points. Toronto has not been excited about football for a long time. Yet we are left with the question: why?

    Is it because with other US major league expansion teams like the Raptors and Blue Jays in town, that Toronto sports fans in general think the CFL is beneath them?
     
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  2. deuvl

    deuvl Moderator
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    After the Argos won in 2004 there were very good crowds at Rogers until 2008-09 when they'd win a mere 7 games in 2 seasons. Once Braley took over it was never the same and even winning the 100th wasn't enough. The coolness factor has left for the Argos. They need someone to bring it back.

    On a side note while Montreal had its best crowd of the year they still couldn't sell out for AC's jersey retirement and he has been the biggest sports figure during that time. That's not just a failure of the city and the province but of the league as well. This guy is your flagship and he deserved a better turnout. I have no doubt that Cohon will be in the CFHOF but it was definitely time for him to leave.
     
  3. Rids

    Rids Member

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    I like the article for everything except this line:

    I have serious reservations that it would be different with their own NFL team compared to a borrowed Buffalo team. It's a deeper issue than all that and there's a LOT of grassroots work to be done before any football in Toronto will be successful.

    The GTA has 5 million people but the same minor football infrastructure as cities 1/5 their size. A marginally larger high school football league than Calgary with many of those schools fielding rosters of 30 players. You build professional teams from the top down but you build fan bases from the bottom up. The CFL doesn't have the financial backing needed to fix the Toronto issue and I don't think the NFL has the presence that many believe they do to fix it either. I think Toronto is closer to Mexico City in terms of a football town than other potential foreign NFL sites like London, England.

    One of Toronto's issues since the Rocket Ismail days has been the intense turn over of players. There are times when the CFL feels like Triple A baseball with all the new bodies dropping in for half a year to a year and then learning a new roster the next year.
     
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  4. deuvl

    deuvl Moderator
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    That's why a lot of hard core Argo fans wear '00' jerseys. A tongue in cheek way to point out the high turnover of player names and numbers.
     
  5. Jayman

    Jayman Member

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    Naylor has that "big smoke" theory working: we've got a serious problem so lets make it fifty times bigger and that will fix everything
    (OR make it too big to be stopped, sort of a Montreal Olympics/Winnipeg Museum concept.)
     
  6. deuvl

    deuvl Moderator
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    Argos and the city of Toronto don't understand the real reason they won the 100th grey cup. Once they do their survival will be assured.

    Hint: 2009+2010=2012

    Good luck solving the puzzle.

    I have to meet a certain Argo fan this Saturday and make him aware of an important discovery I made which should assure the survival of his team as well as the cfl. Not something Naylor would ever understand.
     
  7. Doogie58

    Doogie58 Member

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    It's too bad that there isn't a viable stadium built and ready to go in the Maritimes somewhere. Or Quebec City. Or even Saskatoon. Then just rip the Argos right out of there and move them to wherever.

    Right now they're a drag on the finances of the whole league, and soon er or later Braley's just going to say to hell with it and close the cheque book, I have seen reports that this has already happened. I have little faith that MLSE will buy them and put them in BMO field, at any point. Southern Ontario can just become fans of the TiCats then, and maybe that franchise will become viable, or at least healthier. I am sure that a lot of people will scream bloody murder if it happened, but if a city doesn't care about them, why beat your head against a wall? It makes no sense that in a City of 5,000,000 people, you can only get 0.2% of the population to go to a PROFESSIONAL league football game, with some of the leagues best players like Ricky Ray, Chad Owens and others playing for them.

    Just do a Robert Irsay, and pack them up in the middle of the night and move to wherever. No on will ever notice.
     
  8. Doogie58

    Doogie58 Member

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    Duevl - tax write-off for Braley for years where they lost their shorts??? Just a guess.
     
  9. redwhite2005

    redwhite2005 Member

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    They need a new city outside of Toronto!
     
  10. redwhite2005

    redwhite2005 Member

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    I agree when they had the Bills in town most of those that went to a game were given tickets! There are other cities in the USA that have a bigger draw then TO would ever muster up. Thats face it TO is a dead sports town except when it comes to hockey. The fans are not smart enough to spread their entertainment dollars. Ya they have the craptors and the blue jays but for a city of 5 million they are about as interested in sports as a small town in BC. LA, Vegas and Portland are on the NFL radar and TO well they are small bananas when it comes to football. Just maybe move the team to another city in the vicinity will work but if those in the smaller cities do not go already what will lure them in. Winning does not seem to work?
     
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  11. Liske

    Liske Member

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    I don't think it's a sports thing in general. The Raptors set NBA attendance records from 2000-2003. They still have great crowds. The Blue Jays have MLB average or above average crowds most seasons. When I lived in Toronto in 1993-1995, the Jays were the hottest ticket in town. And of course the Leafs, despite being perennial losers, are sold out almost every game.

    I wonder why it's just football?
     
  12. Rids

    Rids Member

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    The Argos were the hottest ticket in town once upon a time too. They used to average 45,000 at Exhibition Stadium in the 70s even when handicapped by hosting two pre-season games.

    After SkyDome opened they did well in there for a few years too. Something flipped in 1994.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. redwhite2005

    redwhite2005 Member

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    By the sounds of it they would support losers instead of an argo team that wins.
     
  14. ArgoCister

    ArgoCister Member

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    I say any move to a new stadium .... if it isn't BMO should be to the outskirts of TO .... like Markham or Mississauga.
    There are way too many fans in the GTA that provide numbers for the TV and its sponsors , to move the Argos from TO.
    Many fans don't like rogers ... in fact on the ticat forum they were discussing the reasons not to go to the skydome. .... rogers security is irritating. .... the drive is crap .... we will have to see if ticat fans show up next sat.

    The stories coming out of rogers owned media were just that.... stories with a negative twist...... yes Braley wants to dump the team but if he had closed the cheque book, why would he leave the team out west between the Stamps-Lions games?
    Please don't make me become a Ticat fan ..... that means I'd have to agree with my husband .... YIKES!
     
  15. ArgoCister

    ArgoCister Member

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    I sometimes think that is exactly what TO fans enjoy .... complaining about a loser. They don't celebrate the Argos nor do they celebrate the Rock ..... both winners in the past few years. Mmmmm ..... maybe i will take the winning Argos over a full stadium. ... just keep the TV ratings up .

    Toronto fans are rather apathetic .... maybe its an Ontario thing. .... TSN radio was commenting on the Leafs home opener sounding rather .... well no sound at all.
     
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  16. Tundra Mustang

    Tundra Mustang Moderator
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    I'm old enough to remember going to a game as a teenager in August, 1969 (it was actually just the week before Woodstock) at the old Ex, when Leo Cahill and the Argos were all the rage and the stadium was jam packed with 33,000 screaming fans of the double blue.

    Man, how times and the CFL's fortunes have changed in the Big Smoke.

    And not for the better. :(

    It's really gotta be tough for the loyal core of Argos supporters (like Argo Cister) to continue to try to do their best to show support for a team few others give a damn about...:blackeye:


    TM
     
  17. Doogie58

    Doogie58 Member

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    Because the flying takes away practice days both ways - especially going from TO to YVR. The team would have been thrashed physically with time changes and and getting to and from airports in all three cities. As it was, they got a split on the trip, and should have had a sweep. They have come out west and stayed a month before I believe, in 2012 or 13.

    I won't make you switch teams, but why can't devoted fans such as yourself or Lori Bursey get more people out to games - you have to use it or lose it in pro sports. No owner wants to sustain losses forever.
     
  18. redwhite2005

    redwhite2005 Member

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    Stamp fans can relate to a degree remember the Save our Stamps! Sitting in the down pouring rain watching coach Larry Kuriach giving fans the finger while his team that was not playing sitting in the stands they could pick any seat in the house because there was hardly any one there. You could put football tickets on your windshield no one would take them. ArgoCister might very well know the reason is the fans do not dislike the Argos on field but what they do not like is the ownership and the venue owner thus no support. The other problem is access to and from the stadium. Many people will not put the effort into going if it is a difficult to get too. What I like about Calgary is access by car, ctrain, bus and of course all the bar buses. What the ARgos need to do is tap into making it fun going to and from the games not just making it fun at the games. It truly makes sense can you imagine if you remove the access to games making it difficult to get to games to the point it is big problem only to have your team get beat. How long before that fan gives it up? Look at Montreal outside stadium fun atmosphere did they bail when the ALs started so poorly? Not in your life because they had fun! If Leaf fans can accept a losing team since 1967 why not the Argo's who have show they can entertain and win? ArgoCister whats your take?
     
  19. Liske

    Liske Member

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    Rogers Center can be pretty cavernous. It's good for baseball, but probably the least suited to football.

    A different stadium would help, especially if it was smaller (around 35,000-40,000). If they moved the team to a new stadium, they should build it in North York, away from downtown, and near the university there. Toronto could still always host the Grey Cup at Rogers.
     

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