Friday, November 27, 2009

Going Smaller to Get Bigger

In Canadian Football, the Montreal franchise was resurrected by moving out of the 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium to a small 20,000 seat venue at McGill University. The closeness of the crowd made the team an event again. Instead of getting 25,000 fans in that large stadium (it was ridiculous to look at on television), getting 20,000 in a small one completely changed the optics, and changed the franchise. It was hip and cool to go watch football with 20,000 of your closest friends.

Now I see they might be looking at the same thing in Toronto.

BMO Field, on the Exhibition grounds, hosts some soccer games and the crowd is very energized. It's capacity is 20k. The CFL Toronto franchise might move here, from the Skydome, where it is at best half full for Argo games.

It is no secret that cavernous grandstands at racings old-time tracks are not very friendly to race fans. A long while ago, when we were the only game in town and we could pack the places it was fine, but no longer.

Some tracks have gone to more of a quaint feel - like Mohawk. Right now if we could build a new track, no doubt it would look much different. It makes me wonder; if we somehow could change some of our venues to be closer, more compact and have more of a "be there" feel, can we improve the live attendance?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The CFL is pure trash. Mohawk, however, is the pearl of Canadian Racing. It is without a doubt, the best track in the country, Thorughbred or harness> One of the allures also, is that you need a car to get there, so the crowd is a little classier than the riff-raff seen on the second floor at Woodbine continuously sucking their teeth and uttering profanities against their jockey or driver after every race. Woodbine is such a terrible track for harness racing. So damn far away from the action. It shows the WEG clearly treats the harness group as second-class citizens having them race on a track that can be barely seen from the stands. I go to Mohawk at LEAST 10 times a year for live racing; Woodbine, NEVER.

Pacingguy said...

Yes, it will. Take some newcomers and let them go into an empty grandstand and they will wonder what the heck they are doing coming to the track. Get the same people coming into a smaller track and they will have a different attitude. A side benefit is it will make racing more desirable to the media.

eric said...

It is curious Woodbine has never tried to develop their huge building. Could a portion not be converted into say a destination Bar? It has lots of parking and is located by major highways. The demographics of the Bar patron would be much more desirable than the Slot customer.
The traditional form of live racing with 20-30 minutes between races just doesn’t cut it in the pace of today’s world. The on track experience needs to be enhanced. Using Woodbine as an example, perhaps they could develop 'themed' rooms which cater to specific groups. There could be the 'Horsemen' room, where the emphasis is on the horse, horsemen and the history. A 'Family' room where the emphasis is focused towards children. The 'Island' room featuring food and drinks with an Island theme. The 'Library' where the focus is on the serious handicapper, offering all the handicapping tools available to the horseplayer.
Hey..just an idea…….?