Saturday, 3 December 2011

A Test Of Impact For The Montreal Sports Fanatic

Two of the contributing factors that led to the demise of the Montreal Expos were” 1) the lack of attendance and 2) the general malaise on the part of some sports fans in Montreal. Of course, people showed up for opening day in April to pack the stadium; however, nights saw approximately 8000 hardcore fans in attendance. The other 17 000 sports fans had better things to do in April, May and June. No doubt, these fans were too busy focusing on the Montreal Canadiens and their playoff push.

Why am I rehashing this issue? Earlier this week, I was surprised to learn that the Montreal Impact will open its inaugural season in Major League Soccer at the Olympic Stadium on March 17th, 2012. March? Really? I always thought that soccer was a summer sport; but I digress.

With the way that the current edition of the Habs are playing, will sports fans be too busy hand wringing in worry to be interested in the new soccer club in the spring? In the event that the hockey team makes the playoffs, what can the Impact do to compete to gain the attention of sports fanatics in the spring not to mention the rest of the soccer season?

In an interview with the Sporting News, Joey Saputo, President of the Montreal Impact, stated that the organization wants to market games as “big events”. Call me cynical (and please do), I highly doubt that a Montreal Impact vs Chivas USA match-up in the first week of October can be sold as a “big event”, especially if the home team struggles in the standings. One may argue that once the team begins to win consistently and maybe win a championship, fans will pack the stadium. I do not know if that scenario holds water anymore regarding the Montreal sports market. Look what happened to the Alouettes this past season at the box office. After winning two consecutive Grey Cups and putting a competitive team on the field for the last ten years, the organization found it difficult to sell out a 25 000 seat stadium for only 9 home dates. One pathetic reason that was given for the lack of attendance was the road construction around the stadium.

The expanded Saputo Stadium will have a seating capacity of 20 000. Assuming that the Impact has a season ticket base of 13 000 (comprising of their existing fan base from their days in the NASL), 7 000 tickets has to be sold to sports fanatics. Will these fanatics have “uncritical enthusiasm or zeal” to buy tickets weeks / days before the “big event” or in typical Montreal fashion, wait until the last minute to walk up to the ticket wicket?

Final Taughts:
  • Palko est pourri. From some bizarre reason, I’ve been enamoured with Kansas City Chiefs QB, Tyler Palko. (Maybe it is because of the name, say it with me, “P-A-L-K-O”). I had the occasion to watch two Chiefs games in past weeks and the quarterback is awful. I wonder if hardcore Chief fans know that Palko is a CFL reject that did not have a sniff of league play but yet he is a starter for their own NFL franchise.
  • The NBA is back and it sucks to be the NHL. Christmas Day would not be Christmas Day without NBA games. The league will return on the 25th with a triple header to kick off a 66-game schedule. NBA fans’ gain, NHL loss. NHL apologists thought that hockey would have replaced the hole left by the NBA in the new year in terms of vying for the attention of sports fans in the United States. Wrong. If television ratings are indicators, the hockey league has not been able to pull in new fans. Nice try National Headshot League!!!
Follow Ian on Twitter @sportstaughts

No comments:

Post a Comment