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To Gerry and Craig:


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Gentlemen,

There is already a vigorous debate going in this forum's pre-match thread and on Duane Rollin's blog about what "good" attendance for tonight's game is and whether tonight should be a classified as a disappointment or not. A forensic analysis about what could be done better in the future and whether hosting so many games in Toronto is the best strategic policy will undoubtably erupt afterwards. Inside the comfy confines of our hardcore little online Canadian soccer community that is a perfectly appropriate discussion. Everyone here or who reads blogs like CSN, RedNation, the11.ca, and so on is already pretty fully committed to the cause and doesn't need to be persuaded.

That said, how you choose the FRAME the attendance on tonight's broadcast has to be completely different. Far too often I hear words like "unfortunate" or "disappointing" when talking about attendance at Canada games alongside pie-in-the-sky comparisons to "how it is in other countries". This sort of discouraging narrative DOES NOTHING to help sell the game to potential fans. The people who aren't there or aren't invested cannot be guilt tripped into caring. Being told that they "should" be there or that attendance "should" be better will either offend them or confirm their prejudice that Canadian soccer is never going to get there anyways so why bother becoming part of it.

The narrative during the broadcast has to be about the people who ARE THERE! The one thing that we can be relatively certain about tonight, the one thing that is changing in Toronto, is that there will be a very large, colourful, and vocal section of Canadian supporters in the end. The scale of that part of our support is something new. It isn't like 10 or 15 years ago where you might get 40-50 V's alone in a section. Concentrate on that. Concentrate on the fun that people are having supporting Canada and how that's growing and getting better. Sell people on the fact that they can become part of that for the upcoming WCQs.

Beyond the southeast corner of BMO Field don't worry about the empty seats! Again, concentrate on the people who are there. Talk about how it's great to see more and more people in the GTA/Southern Ontario embracing the Canadain team as their own rather than griping about those who don't (yet).

Again, it's a question of how you frame the narrative. If it's a choice between saying:

"It's disappointing to see so many empty seats here in Toronto when in less than a week bars will be full of people cheering for their homelands"

or

"It's great to see support for Canada growing in the country's biggest city. We're so much further than we were a decade ago and with the still untapped potential out there I think Canada has a great future"

GO WITH THE LATTER!

This is your chance. There's three more games this summer and you've got a chance to help sell people on those. Take this opportunity while we have it!

(And if you're not on the broadcast tonight, I apologize. Didn't have time to double check before I head out!)

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Gentlemen,

There is already a vigorous debate going in this forum's pre-match thread and on Duane Rollin's blog about what "good" attendance for tonight's game is and whether tonight should be a classified as a disappointment or not. A forensic analysis about what could be done better in the future and whether hosting so many games in Toronto is the best strategic policy will undoubtably erupt afterwards. Inside the comfy confines of our hardcore little online Canadian soccer community that is a perfectly appropriate discussion. Everyone here or who reads blogs like CSN, RedNation, the11.ca, and so on is already pretty fully committed to the cause and doesn't need to be persuaded.

That said, how you choose the FRAME the attendance on tonight's broadcast has to be completely different. Far too often I hear words like "unfortunate" or "disappointing" when talking about attendance at Canada games alongside pie-in-the-sky comparisons to "how it is in other countries". This sort of discouraging narrative DOES NOTHING to help sell the game to potential fans. The people who aren't there or aren't invested cannot be guilt tripped into caring. Being told that they "should" be there or that attendance "should" be better will either offend them or confirm their prejudice that Canadian soccer is never going to get there anyways so why bother becoming part of it.

The narrative during the broadcast has to be about the people who ARE THERE! The one thing that we can be relatively certain about tonight, the one thing that is changing in Toronto, is that there will be a very large, colourful, and vocal section of Canadian supporters in the end. The scale of that part of our support is something new. It isn't like 10 or 15 years ago where you might get 40-50 V's alone in a section. Concentrate on that. Concentrate on the fun that people are having supporting Canada and how that's growing and getting better. Sell people on the fact that they can become part of that for the upcoming WCQs.

Beyond the southeast corner of BMO Field don't worry about the empty seats! Again, concentrate on the people who are there. Talk about how it's great to see more and more people in the GTA/Southern Ontario embracing the Canadain team as their own rather than griping about those who don't (yet).

Again, it's a question of how you frame the narrative. If it's a choice between saying:

"It's disappointing to see so many empty seats here in Toronto when in less than a week bars will be full of people cheering for their homelands"

or

"It's great to see support for Canada growing in the country's biggest city. We're so much further than we were a decade ago and with the still untapped potential out there I think Canada has a great future"

GO WITH THE LATTER!

This is your chance. There's three more games this summer and you've got a chance to help sell people on those. Take this opportunity while we have it!

(And if you're not on the broadcast tonight, I apologize. Didn't have time to double check before I head out!)

Well said Mike! Some excellent points! I know the pair can come off a tad negative at times and honestly Craig was getting annoying! I had the pleasure of meeting the pair after the V's Cup final last week and was surprised, Forrest was the most personable guy you could ever meet and loved to talk about the MNT!

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Craig Forrest is as passionate and informed as anyone on the men's national team. He is also as critical as any blogger on this website, no more, no less.

However, you are 100% correct, if Forrest wants to act as an ambassador for the Canadian side, he needs to curb the critical side a touch on air. A lot of his commentary, particularly in game, is about what Canada is doing wrong...they "need to do this better" and that type of thing, that sort of keeper's mindset that every goal is preventable.

It's a hard thing to temper, but I wish that he would at least try, because I agree with Mike and everyone in this thread. I like Forrest...how can you not, but be a better ambassador please. And anyone commenting, hopefully Craig and Gerry read this and take some positive constructive criticism out of it, so don't be jerks in your comments.

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Craig Forrest is as passionate and informed as anyone on the men's national team. He is also as critical as any blogger on this website, no more, no less.

However, you are 100% correct, if Forrest wants to act as an ambassador for the Canadian side, he needs to curb the critical side a touch on air. A lot of his commentary, particularly in game, is about what Canada is doing wrong...they "need to do this better" and that type of thing, that sort of keeper's mindset that every goal is preventable.

It's a hard thing to temper, but I wish that he would at least try, because I agree with Mike and everyone in this thread. I like Forrest...how can you not, but be a better ambassador please. And anyone commenting, hopefully Craig and Gerry read this and take some positive constructive criticism out of it, so don't be jerks in your comments.

You guys are basing this entirely on them acting as ambassadors. Forrest is critical in broadcasts because our team plays like **** most of the time. They point out the empty stadiums when they are empty. They are simply reporting and reinforcing what everyone and their uncle is watching on the television.

I would expect to hear positive comments when there are positive comments to give. If we are sitting at zero-zero against St Kitt's I would expect a healthy dose of criticisim.

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Gotta agree. If the team is crap they should be called on it. Also if little Moncton can draw 7000 for the women on a cold crappy midweek night, big Toronto should be able to get 20G on the weekend. It's not like this is a weekly TFC game, they're playing our mortal enemy.

The Vs are doing their part but the casual fanbase in Toronto has been wanting. I hope I swallow my words and they get at least 20,000 but if not it's time to start spreading the games around if we don't start seeing better crowds in T.O for WCQ.

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...they're playing our mortal enemy...

I suspect you have no concept of what something like that really means and to me that's what is great about Canada. Beyond that agree on the 20k thing. Maybe if the crowd does turn out to be on the sparse side (hope not) a question people should ponder after the game is why the V's have not been able to make more progress in recruiting the "casual fanbase" given TFC has been around for more than 5 seasons now?

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I suspect you have no concept of what something like that really means and to me that's what is great about Canada.
Taken literally, no I don't know what it means but in regard figuratively to a soccer game I don't need a lecture from you on that. Where's juby when you need him? :)
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You guys are basing this entirely on them acting as ambassadors. Forrest is critical in broadcasts because our team plays like **** most of the time. They point out the empty stadiums when they are empty. They are simply reporting and reinforcing what everyone and their uncle is watching on the television.

I would expect to hear positive comments when there are positive comments to give. If we are sitting at zero-zero against St Kitt's I would expect a healthy dose of criticisim.

I suspect if you asked Craig Forrest whether he is doing this purely because he is paid to...or whether he is doing it out of passion for the game, for soccer, and for our men's national team, I am pretty sure Forrest is likely to listen to this thread, because HE considers himself an ambassador. And he is. Pure and simple.

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, big Toronto should be able to get 20G on the weekend. .

20K for a bloody friendly? I dont know what the numbers were tonight. But if you get 10k for a friendly, thats good. If you get 13k, thats excellent. Sports fans know their priorities and some events have more prestige than others. The more prestigious events always have more demand. Thats the way it is, thats the way its always been. Not just for soccer but any sport anywhere around the world. Do you think that they are packing houses even in europe for friendlies? I was going to go and wasnt supposed to go but ended going anyways at the last minute.

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20K for a bloody friendly? I dont know what the numbers were tonight. But if you get 10k for a friendly, thats good. If you get 13k, thats excellent. Sports fans know their priorities and some events have more prestige than others. The more prestigious events always have more demand. Thats the way it is, thats the way its always been. Not just for soccer but any sport anywhere around the world. Do you think that they are packing houses even in europe for friendlies? I was going to go and wasnt supposed to go but ended going anyways at the last minute.

I hope you're right. I guess we'll see June 12.

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I just want to say that Gerry and Craig acted GREAT as ambassadors tonight, just what I would have hoped for. Kudos.

Yup, I came here to say that. Sportsnet did a great job with the crowd shots.

Not to be hypercritical - yes, I'm sensitive to the irony, considering my original suggestion - but I would have liked to have seen a little more pumping of the home game on the the 12th but they really didn't have to. The crowd did the job on their own.

20K would have been awesome but a passionate 15K overwhelmingly supporting Canada shows things are moving, inch by inch, in the right direction.

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I hope you're right. I guess we'll see June 12.

To be honnest. I too wish that all of these games would have been spread around a little. Judging from from my unofficial straw poll, i didnt hear one person say that they wanted to see all the games played at BMO field. Granted, no one is complaining too loudly. I understand and appreciate the players desire for natural surfaces. As such this is just kind of game that could have been played in Moncton.

But as far as complaints from a certain poster on this thread who over the years has shown to have hang up on this topic (games played in Toronto), the reported figure was 15.2k. Which, if compared to was to you see around the world for international freindlies, is damn good.

http://www.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2012-06-03-can-v-usa/recap

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^ Playing surface aside (and that is an VERY important consideration this year at least) the fact of the matter is no other city in Canada has the scale of organization amongst the supporters groups that Toronto has.

I hope and pray both Montreal and Vancouver can match what has happened in Toronto as far as the SG have done, and translated that club support towards supporting the National Teams, but until the others can Toronto has to pip all other venues at this point. Like it or no.

Playing surface + supporters groups activity=World Cup Qualifiers.

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Judging from from my unofficial straw poll, i didnt hear one person say that they wanted to see all the games played at BMO field.

From fans yeah, but to be honest, I did hear some players say they were happy to have a home base. As opposed to travelling and get used to different pitch surfaces even on their home turf. Always negatives and positives to everything.

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15,247 was not that bad. Maybe time people adjusted their mindsets and expectations where home crowds for the CMNT in the GTA are concerned. The cultural baggage that used to surround soccer as being something for recent immigrants who hadn't fully assimilated into the truly Canadian way of doing things (i.e. hockey, CFL, curling and baseball) appears to finally be fading away. If the CSA gets its act together on marketing there is no reason why sellouts at BMO Field can't be the norm in future.

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To be honnest. I too wish that all of these games would have been spread around a little. Judging from from my unofficial straw poll, i didnt hear one person say that they wanted to see all the games played at BMO field. Granted, no one is complaining too loudly. I understand and appreciate the players desire for natural surfaces. As such this is just kind of game that could have been played in Moncton.

But as far as complaints from a certain poster on this thread who over the years has shown to have hang up on this topic (games played in Toronto), the reported figure was 15.2k. Which, if compared to was to you see around the world for international freindlies, is damn good.

http://www.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2012-06-03-can-v-usa/recap

It is the opinion of the players that is most important. And they want Toronto. From them it was travel, facility and family.

Also to grow the game, Toronto is needed. New sponsors, new players. Do you really think Hoilett and family were going to take in a game in some where else?

Anyone saying otherwise is stuck in the corupt "spread it around" theory that does not work.

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20K for a bloody friendly? I dont know what the numbers were tonight. But if you get 10k for a friendly, thats good. If you get 13k, thats excellent. Sports fans know their priorities and some events have more prestige than others. The more prestigious events always have more demand. Thats the way it is, thats the way its always been. Not just for soccer but any sport anywhere around the world. Do you think that they are packing houses even in europe for friendlies? I was going to go and wasnt supposed to go but ended going anyways at the last minute.

I didn't tune into the game so when I first tuned into this thread I figured with the complaints we had some terrible attendance like 8 grand or something.

Then I look it up and it is 15k. For a friendly.

In the face of nother game next week, a nd then two more before the year is out.

Ten years ago we were drawing 5k for a friendly in Toronto.

I want the games spread around too. That's how we're gonna make a Canada-wide following, and play off the prestige of having a Nats game in some of the smaller markets. But Joe, sorry, you're way off on this one. Craig too - does he forget some of the crows he played in front of?

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Anyone saying otherwise is stuck in the corupt "spread it around" theory that does not work.
Well for one it hasn't been tried. When was the last time they played in Moncton, the new BC Place, the new to be completed Winnipeg stadium?

It's like people here think we're taking shots at the loyal NT fanbase. I'm not, I'm saying the casual fanbase in Toronto is not doing the job. All I'm asking is for other places (aside from Montreal) to be given a chance. I really can't understand why that upsets certain people so much.

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Then I look it up and it is 15k. For a friendly. Ten years ago we were drawing 5k for a friendly in Toronto.

I want the games spread around too. That's how we're gonna make a Canada-wide following, and play off the prestige of having a Nats game in some of the smaller markets.

And that just tells me how crappy the support is in such a big market. What if they played a game in the new Winnipeg stadium and in the first game drew 20,000, what would people here say? And if they drew 5000 I'd be the first to come here and cross Wpg off the list.
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People need to keep their eyes fixed on the prize on this. During the World Cup finals if you are in any big city in southern Ontario (you will get no argument from me over whether the same applies in Montreal and lower mainland BC so please don't get all regional on this) you can see the genuine passion for the sport. It's all around you. If the CMNT can ever tap into that effectively the sky is the limit for soccer in Canada. Getting MLS teams in the three major media markets opens up new possibilities. The key initially is getting the season ticket holders who follow our three D1 domestic pro teams to also be fans of the national team. Then the solid base is always there to have crowds dominated by fans cheering on Canada rather than the opposition.

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