Monday, July 11, 2005

Football's alive and well in Alberta!

With week three in the books, a quick look at the CFL attendance lists shows that if you're a true CFL fan you must live in Alberta.

Both Alberta franchises had healthy crowds for their home dates in the last three weeks.
While each have only played one game thus far, a crowd of 36,912 leads the league so far. Not too far behind are the suddenly hot Calgary Stampeders, who with new management in place are bringing the fans back to McMahon, the home opener last week attracted 34,102 of the Stamp faithful.

The former wasteland of Southern Ontario is now a solid home of CFL fans, The Ti Cats home opener pulled in 29,032 to Ivor Wynn Stadium, down the 401 the two Argo games thus far have averaged 28,465.

The contender status of the BC Lions has the fans lining up again for tickets to BC Place, with Vancouver hosting the 2005 Grey Cup the smart Leos fan is getting his season ticket packages set up for the Grey Cup tickets to come. First game in the Dome at BC Place found 27,506 fans in their seats to watch the Leos take on the Renegades, with Toronto coming in on Friday many are anticipating the upper sections to be opened to the public pushing the crowd totals towards 40,000 or more.

The prairies continue to be fertile soil for the Canadian game, both Saskatchewan and Winnipeg had decent crowds for the opening weeks of the season. Two home dates for the Bombers gave them an average crowd of 22,661, while over in Regina, Rider Pride brought 23.067 to Taylor field for the season opener.

Montreal continues to play before sell out crowds at Percival Molson stadium, the usual 20,202 suspects taking to their seats at the McGill campus to cheer on their Als. If Larry Smith could wish his upper deck dream he'd have those seats in place yesterday. The always competitive Alouettes continue to be the hot ticket in Montreal, if Smith had the room he probably could sell another 10,000 seats per game.

And then there's the Renegades, mired in an off season of controversy and absentee ownership the Rens did nothing to sell season tickets, nothing to promote the team and nothing to create a sense of event a Frank Clair stadium. With the Gliebermen boys now in charge that should change, but it may take a bit of time to woo back the already snake bitten Rens fan. Fortunately for Lonnie and Bernie the Rens appear to be far more competitive than many had suspected at the start of the season. A few more efforts like that against Montreal and BC and a few more souls than the opening night crowd of 18,889 may wander down to the best little stadium in the CFL

Three weeks in and the football has been exciting and with attendance trending upwards in most cities, it may be a rewarding year for Tom Wright and the league office. With the major rivalries of Labour Day and Thanksgiving yet to come, not to mention the final weeks of the season and the divisional semis and finals, this may be a stellar year for attendance in the CFL!

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