CFL group prepares to gauge Maritimers' interest by selling season tickets
Halifax continues to inch closer to being the newest home to a CFL team, despite concerns around the cost associated with a proposed 24,000-seat stadium in Shannon Park.
City council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to study the business case for the project.
And even though there's no official team – and the stadium is a long way from being approved – Maritime Football says they feel confident the market is there to support a professional football team and plan to start selling season tickets.
“It is a condition precedent and it been in leagues with other expansion teamsthat you go out and you make sure that the market is there,” said Anthony Leblanc, the president of Maritime Football. “We feel very confident it's there based on anecdotal conversations and also some polling we've done, but the rubber needs to hit the road and we all want to see it. I guarantee it, nobody on council wants to continue a dialogue about a stadium that is anchored by a CFL team if that audience isn’t going to be there for that CFL team.”
Former sports executive Kevin Cameron says selling season tickets is a good early way to gauge interest in a team.
“In any sports franchise, that's your bread and butter,” said Cameron, who used to be president of the Halifax Mooseheads. “People are paying up front whether they are able to make all the games or not, or if they divvy them out to others, that's your money in the bank.”
Maritime Football has not yet released season ticket prices, but a look at some CFL teams across the country for non-club seats can perhaps give fans an estimate.
The cost in Hamilton for season tickets to the Tiger-Cats ranges from $220 to $984.
Saskatchewan Roughriders season tickets will run you anywhere from $333 to just under a grand.
In Ottawa, season tickets run anywhere from $285 to $1,100.
So, how much would Haligonians pay?
We asked a few of them.
“For here, I would say maybe $350, $400,” said Murray Kirkpatrick.
Velma Leslie says she’d be willing to pay “around $1,000.”
“As a student, I probably wouldn't pay more than like $300 for season tickets, but I feel like probably more than that if you're not a student.” said Caleigh Goodwin.
Cameron believes any potential CFL team should be marketed to appeal to all Maritimers, and not just those in Halifax.
“Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto – all huge markets -- have had some real difficulties in the last 20 years,” Cameron said. “So I think we have to look at a mix of our enthusiasm and what's real and what's possible here, and if the numbers still work after you go through that thorough exercise, you know we may see a team here.”
Maritime Football says season tickets will be on sale sometime in November, so potential fans won't have to wait much longer to learn how much those tickets will cost.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Natasha Pace.