Moncton says it will help pay for new end zones, putting taxpayers on hook
With just one month left until the Touchdown Atlantic football game between the Toronto Argonauts and the Montreal Alouettes, ticket sales have been lagging.
The City of Moncton has agreed to pay for adjustments to the field, including the installation of endzones up to a cost of $55,000.
How much taxpayers will be on the hook for, though, depends on ticket sales.
"To see that there's a CFL game coming, kind of shows that Moncton is still on the grid," said football player Cohen Breau.
Earlier this month, the Atlantic Schooners lowered their ticket prices in hopes of attracting more fans. Some say it's now up to the marketing.
"As I come onto the university campus, I don't see any signs," said CFL podcaster Wray Dunn. "I passed three city buses, in other cities, those city buses have advertising on them. We don't have that here."
Any CFL-related hype means good things for the local football association.
"I know whenever these big games come to Moncton, there's always a spike in minor football," said Dennis Ronan, the Greater Moncton Football Association president.
Chris Cameron-Kolter, a coach with the Greater Moncton Football Association, says "It's reassuring that football is still alive and well in Moncton. To bring two professional teams here in Moncton is just motivating for us."
On Monday, Moncton City Council signed an agreement with the Schooners.
And while the city offered no financial incentive to host the game in Moncton, the field needs a slight adjustment.
"We do need to add the turf on both endzones," said City of Moncton spokeswoman Isabelle Leblanc."So, we own those turfs, we've had them since 2010, but we don't have someone on staff who has the expertise to install them."
That installation will cost 55-thousand dollars.
"We do contemplate that the promoter will recover some of those costs, because it is tied to ticket sales," said Leblanc.
Some say it's all about keeping the conversation going.
"You could make these tickets for free, and if people don't know it's happening, they won't be here," Dunn said.
The game will take place at the University de Moncton campus on Aug. 25 at 1 p.m.
The city is hoping the stadium will be full to avoid any extra costs.
As for exactly how much ticket sales have progressed since the prices dropped, it is still unclear. However, those numbers on game day will determine just how much money will come out of taxpayers' pockets, for the installation of the endzones.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kate Walker.