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May 30 - Edmonton-Minnesota (R)


beachesl

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On a drizzly, cold, blustery day, no more than 3,000 (they are lying if they say there is more, and there were no turnstiles or clickers at the gates so no proper official attendance possible), the A-League and W-League Aviators had their openers. I'm sure the Av's organization will use the weather and the Flames an excuse, but the organization has used almost zero marketing techniques and are going to lead the franchises to ruin unless they make some radical changes.

If the club goes the way of the dodo, they better not blame the Edmonton fans!

In the Woman's game, the small but skilful Womens Avs beat a bigger Heatwave team by using some smart short passing and ground control, as well as winning midfield headers and head passes. This was without using the three U-19 Canadian players at the CONCACAF torunament, Labbe, Jamani and Iacchelli. It was amazing to see how small the Av's were, much smaller than the U19 nationals. The home goals were scored by Sandy Ash, 36 years old. The formation in the first half was 3-4-3, and after the second half second goal the forward Ash was moved from forward to left side defense for the reaminder of the match, 4-4-2. This didn't stop Arizona from getting a consolation goal. The referee was fair and consistent in a game without incident or real roughness, he let play go on for the most part. I could not help thinking during the game that if the WNT had played this way in a windy Costa Rica, they would be on their way to Athens now for certain.

In the men's game, Jaime Lopriesti received a red card at about 38' (estimate) for supposedly backtackling down the diminutive Thunder captain John Menyongar, who looks like he is from southern or eastern Africa. After faking serious injury, he came on after about 3 minutes so as not to make the biased ref look too bad, and played as if he had no ill effects whatesoever. Campi had a strong game in goal, altho' the Av's were lucky not to be scored on a number of times. The Av's were left forming a defensive shell after being reduced to 10 (during which, interestingly, the very solid Rick Titus moved from the central defence to a forward midfield position- Titus was easily the man of the match). The Av's started 2-5-3, but shifted to 3-4-2-1, with a lone striker and two advance midifled players after the red card. The game was rough, but the major victims were the Avs, and the red card made the ref give even more outrageuos calls against the Avs, while ignoring a calvacade of minor fouls committed by the Thunder. The Avs did have several opprotunites on the counter-attack by Chin and Fraser while shorthanded, especially during the 20 minute overtime. The Thunder only brought 3 subs! It was a real quick and close checking match, and both sides used a good ground control game until the Av's were forced into a long areial game due to being shorthanded. They used midfield and defensive headers very proficiently. The Av's are a huge team physically, the Thunder mainly tiny but quick and talented with their feet.

I am glad to see some fair level football in Edmonton, even if the whole organization of the game was bush-league. There was only one ball boy on each sideline, so there were awkward moments when the game had to wait 30 or so seconds while the bouncing ball on the track was chased over the security rails. There was a real irritaing "announcer" called "Soccer Rick?" who kept making commnetary or inane comments on the address system during the matches in a nauseating

quasi-estuary accent---- lose him paleese!

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So much for the "the womens U-19s drew 47000", and "we draw the best crowds for the national team so we are going to be the best drawing Canadian team in the A-League" comments.

Not to mention the infamous "our womens team is going to outdraw MLS teams".

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Uh, I did two row by row headcounts and added both sides together and came away with 3,500 both times, so I'd challenge your first assertion right off the top. The east-side stand was very deceptive, because the top three rows under the overhang were pretty much full, but you can't really see that unless you're up there.

Secondly, the team isn't getting much media help. I'm in the media, I scheduled a story for the upfront section to promote the game, and it got spiked after I left work by some editor who can't keep his biases to himself or assumes mine are why I scheduled the story. The team has been sending out releases all week touting the home opener. Not one local media outlet, outside of the Sun and Journal sports sections, has made any significant effort to support the team.

Third, it was about one degree and pissing down out there, man! You simply can't judge an average Edmonton crowd in that kind of weather at this time of year. We're a fairweather town in the most literal sense -- I was at an Eskies game last year where the crowd was about 10,000 less than they expected, just because it dropped 10 degrees and snowed a bit. Given that I was so cold after the first half I had to buy a hoodie, I'm amazed that many hung in as long as they did.

You're right, the club DOES need to get more organized. If you'd heard some of the in-office horror stories about late tickets, late ads, late everthing, you'd think that even more. But 3,500 for soccer in that weather is not bad. I'd just remind the naysayers that very few leagues on earth draw like england, italy, spain and germany. 3,500 is an average crowd in the English third division, which is a higher calibre of soccer than this.

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Uh, I did two row by row headcounts and added both sides together and came away with 3,500 both times, so I'd challenge your first assertion right off the top. The east-side stand was very deceptive, because the top three rows under the overhang were pretty much full, but you can't really see that unless you're up there.

Secondly, the team isn't getting much media help. I'm in the media, I scheduled a story for the upfront section to promote the game, and it got spiked after I left work by some editor who can't keep his biases to himself or assumes mine are why I scheduled the story. The team has been sending out releases all week touting the home opener. Not one local media outlet, outside of the Sun and Journal sports sections, has made any significant effort to support the team.

Third, it was about one degree and pissing down out there, man! You simply can't judge an average Edmonton crowd in that kind of weather at this time of year. We're a fairweather town in the most literal sense -- I was at an Eskies game last year where the crowd was about 10,000 less than they expected, just because it dropped 10 degrees and snowed a bit. Given that I was so cold after the first half I had to buy a hoodie, I'm amazed that many hung in as long as they did.

You're right, the club DOES need to get more organized. If you'd heard some of the in-office horror stories about late tickets, late ads, late everthing, you'd think that even more. But 3,500 for soccer in that weather is not bad. I'd just remind the naysayers that very few leagues on earth draw like england, italy, spain and germany. 3,500 is an average crowd in the English third division, which is a higher calibre of soccer than this.

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I wouldn't be making a big deal about the size of the crowd if you guys hadn't made big claims. 3500 isn't bad but you yourself said on the Aviators board:

quote:Having said all of this, I'd suggest that the biggest factor is still weather. If it's drizzling and cold, it'll be around 9,000. If it's hot and sunny, they could challenge the league attendance record.

and

quote:It could go either way based on the weather, but I'll be shocked if it's only 7,000, as our friend from Calgary suggested.

Then after I pointed out that we are only talking A-League here, Martin Lechelt agreed with you saying:

quote:I am with Jeremy. The Aviators will outdraw every A-League team in Canada. The A-League is as good as it gets in Canada, and this will be enough.

:D

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quote:Originally posted by Jeremy Loome

And here's another challenge specifically for you, Kram: find me one post you've ever put up on a board that wasn't negative and post it, just so I know you're not terminally unhappy.

Stop being such a *****.

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They have to do something, I don't care how they try to justify 3,500, I can quarentee that their cash inflow predictions weren't ready for it. They seem to be making the same mistake the Drillers did in expecting people to beat a path to the door just because they're there.

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I said cold, not near freezing. Whyte Avenue was practically empty today, and usually on a Sunday it's one of the busiest shopping drags in western Canada. I took a friend to Montana's for lunch and there was one other couple in a restaurant that, on a typical Sunday, has about 150 patrons.

I was also counting, somewhat egotistically, on 200,000 Sun readers reading an upfront story I'd slated for the paper. But as I said, someone spiked it after I left, an issue I will be addressing at work tomorrow. If you get the PR -- and don't kid yourself about how people knew to attend the worlds, or any other Commonwealth event -- you get the crowd. The club didn't get the PR, and there are a lot of reasons for that. Suffice is to say, though, they mostly amount to lousy media.

K, you didn't answer the question. One positive, non-griefy quote, anywhere?

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quote:Originally posted by Jeremy Loome

K, you didn't answer the question. One positive, non-griefy quote, anywhere?

Whats it to you? Perhaps I am terminally unhappy.

It's pretty sad though that even you have to resort to making personal comments about me instead of being able to discuss the lack of a huge crowd in Edmonton today.

Great way to get away from the discussion at hand.

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quote:Originally posted by Jeremy Loome

Yeah, that's right, I'm just a pssy. It has nothng to do with you being an a-s-s-h-o-l-e, does it? WHenever anyone challenges the wisdom of Kram, they are automatically a pssy. Whatever. You probably sat home all afternoon on the internet anyway.

Actually I called you a p-u-s-s-y because instead of discussing the attendance issue, you immediately started in with the lame "why don't you show us a post that isn't negative" post.

But hey, go back into this thread and show me where I was being an "a-s-s-h-o-l-e". Because for the life of me, if you got so upset by my what I said in this thread then it's perhaps you that needs help with being unhappy.

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Beachesl,

Commonwelath Stadium is using barcode scanners now to check tickets. Rexall Place has already been using that. It's seen as a more accurate way to keep attendance numbers.

It has been a bad weekend for the city. I knew it rained on Friday when I got back from Calgary on Saturday morning. I went to work a few hours later in a massive downpour. I was lucky to have a car for use that day. People were either at home or indoors. No one has really ventured out this weekend at all.

The media hasn't been that co-operative either. The Sun, which is supposed to be a media sponsor, hasn' done much. The Journal relegated the home openener to the middle pages. It gave the front to the flames.

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I'll say this.

If I had a nickle for everytime I wanted to kill a dim-wit stadium announcer at the Fury games last decade (or was it the decade before?) I'd be going to Kingston this month wearing red. Absolutely brutal memmorys reborn. Thanks Beachesl. Thanks a lot.

Forget the crap weather. Two hours of that prick well kill the club quicker than ebola.

"Corner kick. North York."

No!!! Wouldn't have caught onto that, yah twit.

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quote:Originally posted by Cheeta

I'll say this.

If I had a nickle for everytime I wanted to kill a dim-wit stadium announcer at the Fury games last decade (or was it the decade before?) I'd be going to Kingston this month wearing red. Absolutely brutal memmorys reborn. Thanks Beachesl. Thanks a lot.

Forget the crap weather. Two hours of that prick well kill the club quicker than ebola.

"Corner kick. North York."

No!!! Wouldn't have caught onto that, yah twit.

At least that announcer has passion and a brain.

Unlike the guy the Mustangs have.[}:)]

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I think the fact that it was so cold and wet all weekend really did have an impact on the attendance. I gotta admit, I was considering not going while getting soaked out on Saturday.. and I've been waiting for this day for over a year.

I also have a feeling that once the word gets out about the Aviators exsistance we'll have quite a better draw. There hasn't been a media blitz, that's for sure, but once things get rolling it'll be better.

As for the attendance numbers... I have a feeling we're much closer to the 3000 number. They did have scanners at the gate, but the one I went through the scanners weren't working. My ticket wasn't scanned and neither were those of the people around me. I also heard the lady tell one of the event staff to "Get Larry, these things aren't working again". So who knows how many weren't counted. I'm also trying to figure out how they counted the the fans who came in for the W-League game and stayed for the A-League game.

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Both local newspapers had fairly extensive coverage of the Aviators' opening day including front page photos in both and a front page article by the Journal.

There does not appear to be much of a "buzz" locally about the return of professional outdoor soccer to these parts. Of course, starting off the season with an extended road trip has not helped. Mind you, given the weather that was probably just as well.

Have to admit that I am one of the apathetic masses who may or may not head out to watch a game or two. The W-League holds absolutely no interest for me but if it is a nice day to sit in Commonwealth and quaff a few ales then I might be tempted to give a double-header a go.

.

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quote:Originally posted by bmac

Both local newspapers had fairly extensive coverage of the Aviators' opening day including front page photos in both and a front page article by the Journal.

There does not appear to be much of a "buzz" locally about the return of professional outdoor soccer to these parts. Of course, starting off the season with an extended road trip has not helped. Mind you, given the weather that was probably just as well.

Have to admit that I am one of the apathetic masses who may or may not head out to watch a game or two. The W-League holds absolutely no interest for me but if it is a nice day to sit in Commonwealth and quaff a few ales then I might be tempted to give a double-header a go.

.

Yes, sitting under the sun quaffing ales is a plus. I'm going to start sneaking in beer in cans (bottles would not go through) as they changed from the largish plastic glasses they had last year at all the events,to the small, same price, at least at the east stand. There is only one beer concession in each stand due to the low numbers, and the Sherwood Park Elks stand was really chintzy with the beer.

Creating or aiding "buzz", especially in Edmonton, is a definite necessity, and the Av's organization, which started out last year with such promse, has completely missed the flight.

Sign at the ticket booths:

"General Admission Prices

Adults $16.00

Youths (6-17) $14.00

Seniors $14.00

Children Under 6 Free if Accompanied

( $4.00 for Tax and Administration Charges added to Each Ticket) "

For those doing the mental arithmetic, remeber that there is no provincial sales tax in Alberta.

The Av's front office were apparently taking sleaze lessons from Ralph Klein.[xx(]

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Those are pretty steep prices. The Avs front office may be in for a real rude awakening if things continue on the present course.

Anyone selling red pens may want to drop by their accounting deptartment, might make a helluva commision.

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I have to admit I'm very disappointed by the high ticket prices. I'm almost ashamed to ask any of my "casual fan" buddies to come with me to the games at $20 a pop. That's way too much in my opinion. I was thinking around $12.

Wonder how long it'll take for them to realize that that's too steep.. and if it'll be too late to draw all the fans they've missed.

As a mental comparison, the Trappers charge the following..

Game Day Ticket Prices:

Adult Youth/Senior

Grandstand $11.00 $8.00

General Admission $8.00 $5.00

I dunno the ins and outs of business models of AAA Baseball and A-League Soccer... but I can say that most people will make the mental comparison regardless.

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