Monday, March 16, 2009

CIS Corner: Taking a bit of a bath at The Bank

This likely rates a post of its own:
Carleton's success on the court hasn't been matched by fan support.

Attendance for the three-day tournament was 73,126 -- including 15,852 combined for the two games yesterday. That wasn't as high as anticipated, said Carleton athletic director Jennifer Brenning, the tournament chairwoman.

"I'm a bit disappointed, but we're head-to-head with the 67's and the retirement of (Brian) Kilrea, so that would be a factor, and it's a beautiful day out," she said.

Brenning said the tournament lost money last year, and she just hoped to break even this year. Carleton has one more year of hosting the Final 8 before it moves back to Halifax for 2011 and 2012.

She didn't bid for those championships, and is debating whether she'll try to bring it back for 2013.

"They changed the funding structure, so the CIS holds over 60% of corporate advertising inventory and the host gets the balance. The concept is the host is to purely concentrate on ticket sales," she said.
Brenning's comment about corporate advertising inventory explains away the dearth of bids for some national championships; Atlantic University Sport basically was bidding against itself for the 2011 and '12 men's basketball tournament.

Any and all suggestions as to why ticket sales were down are welcome; it could be the novelty wore off, or maybe people thought Carleton would win. Also, maybe it's time to study how time is used; four hours dedicated to two consolation-side games on Saturday is one of those really ... really moments? It is understandable you don't want a team to travel from either coast to play one game, lose and be done, but an all-star game and a skills competition might be more of a crowd-pleaser.

Tell you what, the thing with university sports in Canada is people really are there for the game. Getting 8,000 tickets distributed, even in a city Ottawa's size, is nothing to sneeze at.


Anonymous said...

Only one bidder for the 2011-2012 b-ball tourney.

Only one last minute bidder for the 2009-2010 Vanier Cup game.

Clearly the CIS is not doing something right. They are not doing anything to make these show case events nationally appealing, so that cities across the nation want to host them.

As for attendance being down in Ottawa. They simply did not put in is much marketing effort this year as last. At least I saw no evidence that they did.

CIS sport will never grow until they market the hell out of it, all day, every day.

Anonymous said...

I know the 67s pushed hard to make Brian Kilrea's last game a sellout, which is understandable. I honestly don't know if that took potential fans out of SBP. The Olympiques also had a 4:00 game that day. Too many great choices for the Ottawa/Gatineau sports fan on one afternoon.

My family toyed with the idea of going to the game, but what ultimately decided against it was the Brier. (I know, it was an 8:00 start, but I wasn't going to miss a shot. Too bad the final couldn't match the rest of the week...)

On Saturday night we were going back and forth between the Carleton-UWO game and the Howard-Stoughton game. After the fact it dawned on me that it was March, and here we were furiously changing channels between two Canadian sporting events, and neither was hockey.

Congrats to Carleton. What a programme...

Andrew Bucholtz said...

The 67s point is interesting. As others have mentioned, there's a lot going on in Ottawa for the tournament to compete against in terms of media coverage and fan interest (believe me, I know from my stint running media relations for the U17-U18 volleyball nationals last year). That's another element in favour of perhaps considering a place like Winnipeg in future, where the finals would be the dominant event for the weekend and get a lot of buzz.

Anonymous said...

It just comes down to there is alot going on in ottawa.You had the 67s with 10,000 plus the olympiques with a game and the list goes on.I know pwople say like in halifaxc they get great crowds sure but is there anything else going on.Aslo with the atlantic fans a little advice all the bashing your gicing ottawa you better sell out all games when its back there.If not there could be alot of questions asked.

KML said...

Sure, there was a lot going on in Ottawa, but I think the main factor was the lack of student attendance.

Carleton had a loud cheering section, but it was relatively small. If the school really wanted to turn the game into an event, they should have worked to import quite a few more fans as they seem to do with the annual game against Ottawa U.

Having attended Ottawa U and knowing a fair bit about Carleton, I know well that both schools spend a great deal of time, energy and cash on building so-called school spirit. However, random promotions on campus will never have the impact of paying for students to attend a big sporting event, providing for their transportation (key factor given the venue's distance from campus) and ensuring a boisterous crowd.

This isn't to say that the disappointing attendance was all Carleton's fault, but I certainly think that more could have been done.

Anonymous said...

yes that's the issue, no real plan to get the students interested in attending the game. No buzz whatsoever on campus

Dennis Prouse said...

It strikes me that it would be a lot easier to get students over to the Civic Centre than out to Scotiabank Place. When you are talking about a non-NHL sporting event, it is awfully difficult to get people to venture all the way out to SBP. For folks in Orleans, for instance, you are talking about a 90 km trek round trip. The other problem is that SBP is so big, making it difficult to create an intimate atmosphere with 8,000 fans. Put that event in the Civic Centre, and you would have a better buzz.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand Dennis, uOttawa has very poor attendance at football games at the Civic Center--that is Frank Clair. They do not often fill the small venues they have for Basketball and hockey right on campus. I believe that attendance for the champion B-ball team at Carleton's gym was down some this year. Other Carleton sports draw flies.
Yet they put 10,500 into SBP for a regular season game in a snowstorm. Probably because it is a novelty, a cross town rivalry reminiscent of the old Panda days, in a big, bright modern venue that most students seldom have the means to go to. Sens tickets are priced out of the range most students can afford to buy very often.
In my opinion the location of the event has surprisingly little influence on the attendance of most university games(Hoops Classic being an exception because of its novelty)). It is SELLING the sport, the game, the event that is important. You have to have the will , and know the way to sell it.
Our unis seem not to have the will and certainly do not know the way.
Perhaps some day they will see the light, but things look pretty dim for now.


Anonymous said...

As for the geegess football frank clair stadium is not in great shape.I think that is part of the reason not many go to there games.I have said this before there is just to much going on in ottawa 1 nhl team 1 ohl team 1 qmjhl team 5 jr a teams 2 cis teams.So now i don't think you can expect each team to sell out every night.The senators do very well the 67s do very well the olypympiques do well.

So what about the people in the west end that go to the evnts.YOu move it you may lose some of those fans.