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CDNFootballer

2019 Canadian Premier League Attendance

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1 hour ago, Ozzie_the_parrot said:

4864 showing now.

Has to be fairly disappointing... no? Would it be wrong to be concerned by the drop in attendance that is pretty well straight across the league in the last few weeks? For me its dipping in dangerous territory. Calgary best team in the league struggling to get over 3000 and Hamilton the other top team and to many flagship franchise drawing under 5000. 

I think the league marketers will have to sit down and come up with a plan for next season. There is not much more room for decline.

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2 hours ago, grasshopper1917 said:

Has to be fairly disappointing... no? Would it be wrong to be concerned by the drop in attendance that is pretty well straight across the league in the last few weeks? For me its dipping in dangerous territory. Calgary best team in the league struggling to get over 3000 and Hamilton the other top team and to many flagship franchise drawing under 5000. 

I think the league marketers will have to sit down and come up with a plan for next season. There is not much more room for decline.

Start the season 2 weeks earlier.  Valour can start on the road.  

I would not be surprised if the league had expanded play-offs next season.

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3 hours ago, grasshopper1917 said:

Has to be fairly disappointing... no? Would it be wrong to be concerned by the drop in attendance that is pretty well straight across the league in the last few weeks? For me its dipping in dangerous territory. Calgary best team in the league struggling to get over 3000 and Hamilton the other top team and to many flagship franchise drawing under 5000. 

I think the league marketers will have to sit down and come up with a plan for next season. There is not much more room for decline.

These are exactly the numbers I was expecting, tbh. I hope they weren't banking on much more, not at least for the first few years. A financially profitable (or even revenue-neutral) national league is surely a long-term proposition at best in the eyes of any reasonable soccer analyst in this country.

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10 hours ago, grasshopper1917 said:

Has to be fairly disappointing... no? 

Think it's the tickets scanned numbers that don't get released that will be causing most concern right now. We were being told they were on track to having 5500 season tickets sold at one point. The active sections should be over half full even before any single game purchases and walk ups get factored in. That's not even close to what is actually happening.

Edited by Ozzie_the_parrot

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10 hours ago, nolando said:

These are exactly the numbers I was expecting, tbh. I hope they weren't banking on much more, not at least for the first few years. A financially profitable (or even revenue-neutral) national league is surely a long-term proposition at best in the eyes of any reasonable soccer analyst in this country.

Exactly. Long-time watchers of the local soccer scene understood that teams with paid attendance in the 2000-3000 range is what we can expect from our pro clubs.

If we can't make a league on that then a national league is not viable.

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On 10/6/2019 at 6:49 PM, CDNFootballer said:

True, there's always a small amount of freebie tickets with most sports teams, so should have said revenue from the majority of the announced 4776.

So I attended four professional games this year, a lot less then I planned but sometimes life gets in the way, TFC vs. Independiente, Blainville vs York9, Ottawa Fury vs. HFX and TFC vs Orlando and I only paid for one game, so free tickets are distributed at all levels.

Edited by MM3/MM2/MM

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21 hours ago, The Real Marc said:

Exactly. Long-time watchers of the local soccer scene understood that teams with paid attendance in the 2000-3000 range is what we can expect from our pro clubs...

...and there was no end of ridicule and ad hominen attacks for going against the prevailing group think and suggesting that on here prior to the league launching as a few of us did. Halifax is looking increasingly like a statistical outlier at this point on actual tickets scanned attendance, but is very important to have around because it gives the rest a reason to believe like the 86ers did with the original CSL. That should buy some time to stumble on something that can make things work like Lamar Hunt did with the SSS in Columbus for MLS, which provided better access to gameday revenue streams.

Edited by Ozzie_the_parrot

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6 hours ago, Ozzie_the_parrot said:

...and there was no end of ridicule and ad hominen attacks for going against the prevailing group think and suggesting that on here prior to the league launching as a few of us did. Halifax is looking increasingly like a statistical outlier at this point on actual tickets scanned attendance, but is very important to have around because it gives the rest a reason to believe like the 86ers did with the original CSL. That should buy some time to stumble on something that can make things work like Lamar Hunt did with the SSS in Columbus for MLS, which provided better access to gameday revenue streams.

I would argue that 6-8K people for soccer isn't out of reach for most of the clubs:

1) Halifax - already there

2) Forge & Valour - almost there. If not for weather Forge & Valour would be there. 

3) FCE & Cavalry - Stadium issues but both of those cities are larger than Hamilton & Winnipeg with a similar pro sports setup. 

4) York 9 - again, stadium issues compounded with TFC being nearby and a lack of marketing. Having their own stadium will address quite a bit.

5) Pacific - gorgeous new stadium, good team. No idea why they're not pulling down 6K. Maybe a smaller city?

 

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54 minutes ago, T_Bison said:

5) Pacific - gorgeous new stadium, good team. No idea why they're not pulling down 6K. Maybe a smaller city?

Yes, and some other factors IMO (in no particular order):

  • Stadium location: although beautiful and reasonably easy to get to, for most of the CRD, Langford is a still seen as a place that is "out of town"
  • Dates: so many weeknights where fighting the traffic makes people reluctant to make the trip
  • Times: weekend games kicking off mid-day or early afternoon during the summer is ridiculous. The 18-35 demographic (the core of any effective sports marketing effort) and families are enjoying outdoor activities during the day.
  • New team, new league: this town still remembers the failure of the Vistas and the old CSL and is deeply distrustful
  • Construction: the stadium was not "finished" until late in the season and in fact still has a gravel parking lot and construction equipment on site.
  • Losing record: we need a string of positive results to get some "casuals" to climb aboard the bandwagon
  • Lack of TV: not having the league on network TV screams "bush league" 

On a positive note:

  • Trust is being built as the league and club show they are here to stay. The $5m training facility in particular shows a high level of commitment
  • Highway construction that still bottlenecks traffic to Langford should be done by next summer
  • The emphasis on development should make us stronger for next season
  • For next season the club will have a had a whole year to build relationships with youth soccer clubs (the season here is September - May)
  • new marketing hire seems like a good fit

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So much of what you said applies to a lot of teams too.

I really can't understand why they have so many afternoon games in the middle of summer. The product is going to suffer if teams are playing on turn in 35C+ heat. Afternoon games make sense in the spring and fall, but there should only be evening and night games played during the summer

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7 hours ago, deschamp86 said:

So much of what you said applies to a lot of teams too.

I really can't understand why they have so many afternoon games in the middle of summer. The product is going to suffer if teams are playing on turn in 35C+ heat. Afternoon games make sense in the spring and fall, but there should only be evening and night games played during the summer

I would not have attended as many games as I did for the 86ers/Caps at Swangard if they had been afternoon games.  All those games were evening games back then, no matter what day they were being played on.  I do recall some experiment with late era Swangard days when they had the odd weekend game in the afternoon and the crowds always faltered.  Crappy time to have games.

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8 hours ago, T_Bison said:

I would argue that 6-8K people for soccer isn't out of reach for most of the clubs:

...

2) Forge & Valour - almost there. If not for weather Forge & Valour would be there. 

...

 

Easy to forget how badly Forge got hammered (Ha!  Yeah...um...) at the beginnning of the season.  It was brutal. 

It was a rough launch in almost every way.  As has been mentioned, many of the venues had some serious issues.  Valour's launch, Hell, entire spring season had next to zero advertising around it.  It's been improving but the team still has next to zero market presense in Winnipeg.  Its encouraging that the business community in Winnipeg seems to be contributing in a number of different ways but what I would call corporate Winnipeg still very much needs to be tapped into. 

Speaking of tapping into markets, as diverse as the Valour crowds are I don't think the team has even come close to drawing in the ethnic support it can.  There's an outreach there that is going to need to be conducted over the close season.  A ton of money being left on the table.  

Lots of potential out there still.  I hate always sounding optimistic about this subject but it feels like there really is a lot of upside, too much upside not to be.  Lessons learned from 2019 and a functioning HO between the season shoulds be put to full use for improvements to 2020. 

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45 minutes ago, Stanley said:

I would not have attended as many games as I did for the 86ers/Caps at Swangard if they had been afternoon games.  All those games were evening games back then, no matter what day they were being played on.  I do recall some experiment with late era Swangard days when they had the odd weekend game in the afternoon and the crowds always faltered.  Crappy time to have games.

There probably aren't many better places to watch a football match than Swangard on a beautiful, summer evening.

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2 hours ago, Lofty said:

Valour can eventually get to 10k IMHO. 5.5k already and Winnipeg barely knows they exist. The league is still percieved as a novelty rather that bona fide professional sports but with the right approach, that will change and I think the crowds will balloon. CPL has a lot going for it and the very reasonable price point is definitely one of those things.

I feel as though the Winnipeg weather was actually pretty good overall. My take is that Valour's determination to not win at home in the first two thirds of the season really hurt the attendance. I know that not everybody can be a winner but you can't be crap at home. If Valour were in the running I think you could add 1k to 1.5k to the average. Those people who came out early to get the average way over 6k would still be coming out. Too bad they didn't start the way they are finishing. Winnipeg is starving for a winner.

It's true. It also doesn't help that their marketing efforts have been mediocre at best. They're really not advertising themselves to the entire city. We have a huge immigrant population that could benefit from seeing Valour not just as a local club they can root for besides their own in their home country, but also as affordable entertainment. It's kind of unfortunate that Valour is run by the Blue Bombers, because even if they own both teams, they need to realize that they can't market to the same demographics.

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On 10/7/2019 at 8:46 AM, The Real Marc said:

Exactly. Long-time watchers of the local soccer scene understood that teams with paid attendance in the 2000-3000 range is what we can expect from our pro clubs.

If we can't make a league on that then a national league is not viable.

So the poorest drawing teams are what you thought we would get??  As most lowest teams are in that 2500-4000 range, with Forge, Valour and Halifax begin a lot better.  That almost sounds positive.  

Breaking into the market is always hard, but with some easy tweaks with schedule and scheduling timesand better local marketing by probably every club we should see improving numbers next year.  Prior to launching there were 100 things to be negative about.  But the soccer is better than most expected (not semi-pro as suggested by some), the games are fun (my times at IG field were OUTSTANDING), and with good showings in CONCACAF and Can championship the league got some instant credibility.  Pacific will have a full season with the new improvements (maybe no pole too), I think Halifax is supposed to expand (maybe 7500 seat sellouts next year?), plenty to be excited about and we still might have an 8th team announcement.    

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It wasn’t a negative comment (although if I were to bold anything in that sentence it would have been the word “paid” which takes some of your average attendance numbers down a smidge and makes 2-3k more average than low.)

Cant speak for others but attendance is exactly what I hoped for TBH - Im very happy, as long as the league was founded on similar expectations and the reported numbers are not being significantly juiced.

It only seems negative in the light of some of the more wishful thinking here, like the projections before the league started, the poster above targeting 6-8k for everyone (including York9!) or the idea that that pole vanishing actually matters. :)

It’s been a great first season but we need to be ready for attendance drops as the novelty factor drops and we expand to more marginal markets. For attendance, populations and demographics mean that new teams will be more Pacifics than Hamiltons

 

Edited by The Real Marc

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Doubt the numbers work on a fully pro team in a coast-to-coast league below 4000 at a push if players are earning minimum wage (CSB is unlikely to be all that lucrative if genuine tickets scanned crowds are significantly below that) and 6000-8000 if they want to do something significantly above just surviving from season to season. Also very much doubt that the investors are doing what they are doing because they care deeply about adding depth to the CMNT roster. They will be expecting to make money off this eventually and are probably anticipating that it really takes off in an MLS sort of way in franchise/club value terms after 10 or 15 years or so. 

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The pole vanishing will help the TV optics if not the attendance. The glare off the pitch was really bad some games.  And on the spectrum of wishful (everyone will get 6-8000) to the other end where aholes were saying the league wouldnt go at all,  I think 90% of us were nicely in the middle.  Its all just us endlessly speculating.  We dont know the economics at all.  We dont know what they spend on wages, we dont know what revenue they get from TV etc, so attendance is our one stat to try and judge the health of the league.  

From watching other foreign leagues (USL included) I see tons of empty stands and wonder how do they stay afloat??  I guess we just have to appreciate having soccer in our back yard again.  Which means more to us that are not in major centers and have had MLS/NASL etc for years.  That might be one reason why Halifax shouldnt have been considered an outlier or a surprise.  Smaller markets desperate for sports can be capable of getting 6000+ out every weekend.  That bodes well for Saskatoon and wherever the Quebec club eventually starts up.  

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6 minutes ago, Bison44 said:

From watching other foreign leagues (USL included) I see tons of empty stands and wonder how do they stay afloat?? 

Other than the higher tier English leagues, and maybe big Derby matches this is pretty much the way it goes the World over.

I've been trying to get back into Serie A again because its available on TLN and I notice the same things in Italy. By the way half time shows often feature interviews with York 9 players.

Even MLS has some awful amount of empty stands.

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