Originally Posted by isaidso
Long term, the success of any CFL franchise rests on cultivating a solid 20,000+ solid die hard fans that will stick to their team through thick and thin and -15C blizzards. Everything above 20,000 is gravy.
How many die hards do you think there are in Halifax? In Nova Scotia? In the Maritimes?
These two comments are by isaidso
, posted in the Halifax Stadium thread. I decided to respond to them here because I thought this was the more appropriate venue and I didn't want to hijeck the Halifax thread any more than it already was.
I lived in Halifax for nearly a decade and Halifax is
a football town but
the only time I ever saw the passion for football displayed by the town was during the regular Atlantic (Uteck) Bowls. The rest of the time, it wasn't nearly so evident.
I've now lived in Moncton for more than 20 years and I would have to say that the raw passion for the game is more present here than in Halifax. High school football is big here. Regular games routinely get about 1,500 people out. The provincial championship game (that my son's team won) had 4,500 in attendance and was standing room only at Rocky Stone Field. Moncton Minor Football has about 2,000 participants and all six city high schools have varsity teams.
Unfortunately, Mount Allison University football is not so well supported, rarely getting more than 2,000 people to come out to watch. This could be because:
1- the university is 30 minutes away.
2- the team has only had one winning season in the last decade and didn't win a game this year.
3- Mt A does not have a proper stadium.
Just how many diehard fans are there in Moncton? That's somewhat hard to say but it would be valid I think to state that probably 2/3rds of the 20,000 plus people that attended the two Touchdown Atlantic games were from the local area.
Given this, there are probably at least 15,000 locals willing to attend professional football games. That figure could grow given fan loyalty to a home team, rather than carpetbagging teams coming in for a one-off game.
But would these people actually buy seasons tickets? Would out of towners buy seasons tickets to a Moncton based team?
The beauty of football over hockey is that there is less of a time commitment necessary to be an ardent team supporter. There are 41 home games per year for an NHL team. There are only 9 home games per year in the CFL. The stadium only needs to be filled every second weekend. That's a lot easier to do than every third night like in the NHL. The seasons tickets for the CFL are also considerably cheaper than the NHL.
The CFL therefore is considerably friendlier to a small market situation than the NHL would be. Tickets are cheaper, and the fan base would likely stretch further into the hinterland than it would for a hockey team because fans would only have to travel every second weekend to a game.
My guess is that there might potentially be 8,000 season ticket holders in metro Moncton, with at least an equal number of fans who would frequently (5-6x per year) attend games. This is not enough to support a team and the viabilty of the franchise would depend on casual local fans and out-of-towners.
Is this enough for a franchise? I don't know, but I do know that the hard core support for a Moncton franchise is probably similar to what it would be in Halifax. The difference would be in engaging the interest of casual spectators and getting support from out of town. Halifax is certainly a mecca for regional travel, but Moncton is also a popular destination and a recent report quoted in the Moncton thread mentioned that in 2010, the growth in hotel room rentals in greater Moncton was higher than any other small to medium sized city in eastern Canada, even Quebec City!
The jury therefore is still out. Both Moncton and Halifax are football towns, but I think Moncton is more passionate. Halifax is larger and more prosperous but Moncton is more central and every bit as much of a regional destination. This will continue to be an interestimg story to watch unfold.