How Can The Argos Get More Fans Out?
August 26, 2013
Hey there, Argos Empire. How are ya? Over Friday’s game yet? Yeah, me neither.
Glad you could pop by ArgosEndZone today, because Mr. Dave Randorf of “The CFL on TSN” (@DaveRandorf) got me thinking when he posted this on twitter today:
What do #Argos have to do to win more GTA fans? They have backed up the 100th GC win with some of their best football in years. #CFL
— Dave Randorf (@DaveRandorf) August 26, 2013
Now, I’ve been an Argos season ticket holder for eight years now, and in that time I’ve totally fallen in love with this team. I know, I know, the “L” word. But that’s the only way to describe it. I Love the Toronto Argonauts. On the field, they’re the sixteen time (yes, 16 time!) Grey Cup champions, bringing me to my feet in victory, crushing my spirits in defeat. Off the field, they’re the most accessible, most involved at the grassroots level of any pro sports team in Toronto. When something brings you this much joy, you wanna spread it around. You want your friends and family to share in this amazing experience.
Here’s where the challenge begins.
Y’see, I’ve encountered three types of people in my effort to bring more fans into the Argos Empire: The Uninformed, The Other Guys, and The Haters.
This is what I call people that aren’t CFL fans. Sometimes they haven’t watched the CFL in person, on TV, or just never at all. Perhaps they’re fans of another pro sport and/or franchise, but haven’t given the Argos a chance. The opportunity just hasn’t presented itself yet. Occasionally, they aren’t sports fans at all. They were never exposed to sport while growing up, or have actively avoided it for some other reason. Most of the time, The Uninformed are open to new things. With no previous point of reference for the Argos, they come to the game looking forward to a new experience, as a lot of questions, and will get involved with every possible giveaway or contest in the building. There’s a youthful exuberance with The Uninformed, as everything is new and shiny. An Argos win, followed by an evaluation of ticket prices & the schedule usually turns The Uninformed into an Argos fan, if not a season ticket holder.
The Other Guys
This is what I call the folks that are fans of another CFL team. Sometimes they’re casual fans, perhaps moved to the GTA from another CFL town and they feel nostalgic for the old colours, or they’re the rabid supporters of the Riders, Leos, Als, Bombers, Eskies, Stamps, or Tabbies (No, not the Redblacks. Sorry, REDBLACKS. Jeesh…). These guys know the game, know the players from their team, and the stars with Toronto. The best chance to get them out for a game is if their team is in town. They’ll wear their team colours, cheer on their team, boo the Argos, but all in all will usually have a good time. Some of ’em miss the experience of CFL football from back home enough they’ll get season tickets for their football fix and to ensure they’ve got good seats next time their team’s in town. I have seen some of The Other Guys actually join the Argos Empire after a couple of Argos wins against someone other than The Other Guys other team.
We all know The Haters. If you don’t know ’em, they’re not hard to find. Just mention you’re an Argos fan next time you’re out, and The Hater will make sure to rain on your parade. They never miss a chance to mock the CFL. Be it 3 downs, the 55 yard line, the rouge, or that a nine team league had two teams with the same name…seventeen years ago (btw, Roughriders and Rough Riders are COMPLETELY different names! But, I digress). Usually, The Hater is a fan of another pro sports franchise, sometimes even one in Toronto. You can point out that the Toronto Argonauts are the oldest pro sports franchise in North America, that their sixteen Grey Cups lead all Toronto pro sports teams, and that their “Huddle Up” and “Level The Playing Field” programs http://www.argonauts.ca/page/community have done more in Toronto area high schools than any other pro team, but they just don’t care. Y’see, The Hater gets some sick pleasure from frustrating you. They live to mock your love of the Argos. But you keep trying. This is a great game, an awesome league, and an amazing team. If you could just get ’em to give it a chance. This is the epitome of the problem of winning over The Hater; getting them to the game. Some members of ArgosEndZone have attempted to bring The Hater out to a game with a free ticket, only to be given a list of demands that included a free dinner. Can you imagine that?
So what do you do? You’ve gotta pick your spot. There’s a reason late July and early August are, “the dog days of Summer.” Hockey’s done, basketball’s done, baseball’s at the halfway point, the NFL is still a ways away, and soccer…Well, soccer sucks. I believe this is the time for the Argos Empire to strike. This sports void is when The Hater is at their weakest. Get The Hater to meet you at your favourite watering hole where they’re showing the Argos road game. Grab a couple of pints. Break down the game for ’em. Explain the advantage of having the offense in motion prior to the snap, how the one yard line of scrimmage changes the strategy, the importance of the no yards penalty. When the Argos win (of course) point out to The Hater how great the game day experience is for home games, and that you happen to have an extra ticket for the Argos game this weekend (btw, more weekend games would help, but that’s a scheduling thing we fans have no say in). Get The Hater there in good time so they can get in the Argos tailgate experience. Make sure you get your 50/50 tickets just inside the door. Always pick up the Argos Cheerleaders magazine & ask ’em nicely for an autograph. Get on your feet for the Argos player intros. Cheer on the Double Blue TD’s, and make a tonne of noise for the Boatmen D. Wrap it up with a visit to Shoeless Joe’s afterward to meet some of the Argos. The experience will win ’em over, but you’ve gotta get ’em in the building.
So, to answer Mr. Randorf’s question, “What do the Argos have to do to win more GTA fans?” Nothing. Between the off field community involvement, and winning the 100th Grey Cup, as well as leading the East Division this year, The Toronto Argos are already doing everything they can. It’s up to the fans, the Argos Empire, to get more fans to the game.