I can’t believe what I am seeing in the stands on TSN tonight. There are empty seats all over BMO Field at tonight’s Toronto Argonauts-Ottawa RedBlacks CFL game. To give you an idea how bad it is, in one grandstand you can easily see the white maple leaf in the middle of all those red seats.
This looks really bad on TV — it’s as empty as Rogers Centre used to look. To be honest, though, this reminds me more of Sam Boyd Stadium for Las Vegas Posse games in the Nineties.
I don’t know what to say about this. Moving to BMO was supposed to solve the Argos attendance problems, and schedule problems, and all the rest of their problems. Now, it looks like the CFL is stuck with the same problems as before in Toronto. Unbelievable.
What boggles my mind is there’s literally no sports competition to speak of. This is All-Star week, the deadest sports week of the year in North America! Baseball is on its break, and while there are MLS soccer games on, the fact is Toronto FC is out of town in Columbus!
Moreover, this Argos game is against a division rival who played in the Grey Cup game last year. This ought to be a good marquee matchup for the league. You would think there’d be a captive audience for the Argos tonight in Toronto, but no.
As for why this game is not being held this weekend instead, keep in mind this is Indy weekend in Toronto and this is always a big deal with streets blocked off and so on. In fact, it sounds like a lot of streets around BMO were blocked off tonight, too, because of the Indy races coming up.
So why is attendance so bad tonight? Is it the location of the stadium? Is it ticket prices? The street closures? Perhaps it is simply because at the end of the day football is a fall sport, not a summer one, and sports fans simply aren’t going to be as excited to see a football game played in the middle of July.
It could be all these things, for all I know. All in all, as a longtime fan of this league and as a former Toronto resident myself, this is discouraging to see.