Argos axe tailgating as part of 2018 changes

The Argos are throwing it back to the SkyDome and Rogers Centre days.

The double blue is kiboshing tailgating at games for the 2018 season.

That was something former president Michael Copeland fought hard to get for when the Argos moved to BMO Field in 2016. It’s the first decision Manning has made publicly since taking over the role.

And BMO Field will have a familiar look for Argonauts fans who attended games at their old home.

Toronto averaged 13,913 fans per game in 2017, the lowest total in the CFL by more than 5,000.

Manning is hoping to boost ticket sales by lowering ticket prices.

Michael “Pinball” Clemons has been appointed by MLSE to help build the Argos brand.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s acquisition of the Argos was approved in January by the league. Incorporating the team into MLSE’s business approach is happening.


52 Comments on Argos axe tailgating as part of 2018 changes

  1. While the other moves are defensible, I absolutely hate the decision to axe the tailgate. Hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it. This is the one thing an Argonauts game offered that no other team in the city could offer. It was an experience you could only get from attending and not from watching on TV (and those are in short supply these days). If Manning had any long-term vision for the team, he would have invested in the tailgate and grown it into a big attraction. Massive mistake on MLSE’s part. Extremely disappointed.

    • Cal Gary Shampeders // April 9, 2018 at 4:37 pm //

      Seriously. How much longer can the CFL survive in what is clearly its weakest market? People in Toronto have better things to do with their time. And the few rabid ones who tailgate have just been shown how loyal the team is to them. Just move them to Saskatoon already where they’ll draw 30,000 a game.

      • Move them to Saskatoon? how can they draw 30,000 fans? is there a 30k stadium there?
        The CFL is DEAD in Toronto and nothing will draw the fans back, it’s soccer and baseball in the summer.
        The Argos are seen as minor league.
        The CFL will be back to an 8 team league soon.

        • Baseball in the summer? Not including the home opener, the Jays are down 10000 a game. Oh Toronto, what a great sports city.
          TFC and their rabid 35000 fans. Past that, nobody cares.
          Watch the media trip all over themselves to make the Raps a big deal. Toronto sports, hilarious!!!

    • But the tail gate did nothing to increase attendance.
      It’s not like it attracted new fans, it gave the few fans that attended the opportunity to buy $4 beers.
      Most stadiums sell beer for around $10 – $12? that is a big money loser at $4

  2. Best CFL Fan // April 9, 2018 at 12:29 pm //

    They should do a tailgate when there’s a home game against Hamilton. BMO field tailgate area is very easy for Hamilton Fans to get to and they were big time participants of the the tailgates.

    I used to go to Skydome often. Mostly to see my beloved, pathetic Alouettes. But I only went once to BMO. I sat on the east side for an evening game and had the setting sun directly in my eyes. COuldn’t see a thing. Never went back. Better experience on TV.

    Recommend putting TV cameras on east side, to show some fans in the (west) stands. From West side cameras they just show empty seats. Looks terrible.

    • Sound like a typical Argo fan looking for an excuse not to go, sun in your eyes so you won’t go to a game? that’s no different than in Hamilton where the stands are east/west and that sun setting in the eyes of the east side stands.
      What difference does it make that you can see empty seats on TV? Putting the camera on the other side of the field won’t increase attendance.

    • I found the same thing the BMO field with the sun on the east side is terrible agree with the cameras on the other side tailgate Ontario Liquor laws dont support that type of activity like the other tailgate locations

  3. Harrison // April 9, 2018 at 12:32 pm //

    The tailgating was a great experience – even for a visiting Ti-Cats fan like me in Toronto. As I am also a Buffalo Bills fan, I can say the tailgating in Toronto compared to Buffalo was good. As someone who doesn’t drink much, the atmosphere was more controlled then Buffalo with the lack of binge drinking.

    Oh well, no reason to get to the game early this year when Hamilton is in town.

  4. Doug Mc Clintock // April 9, 2018 at 12:33 pm //

    Toronto sports fans support the Blue Jays and Maple Leafs big time but not CFL Football. They must think the Argos are second rate, not deserving support from them. Back in the old exhibition grounds, I thought it was better. You would think that BMO Field would be suitable. There is something unexplainable why Argos don’t generate more fans. Maybe Toronto just can’t support 3 major brands, only the big one- the Grey Cup ! Making the field only available to 20,000 might do something, lets hope so. I have always been an Argo fan, just a great team !

    • Doug – in the old days at the old Ex stadium there were no Blue Jays or TFC. TFC is attracting droves of millenials, they come out to BMO in the cold months of March and April in the evenings to watch a game.
      The Jays attract a lot of families. The Argos are hanging in with the older baby boom crowd but they are dwindling every year.
      As for making only 20k available, how does that “do something” ?? that won’t improve attendance or do anything. I assume they are doing this so they don’t show a couple of people sat up there on TV.
      They probably can save some money by not opening the concessions on the east side upper side.
      You say you are an Argo fan? are you a season ticket holder? do you go to games at all?

    • Jays are down 10000 a game not including the home opener. Once the Jays are on their way to a losing season, attendance will be under 15000 a game.
      Good thing Toronto’s a baseball crazy city. Hilarious.

      • CFLfirst // April 9, 2018 at 11:19 pm //

        Early season baseball games are not that well attended, especially on the weekdays. The Jays have averaged 25K excluding the home opener. The did have a couple games below 20K during the week against the white sox. The Jays have a much better team than you think and they will be drawing well in the summer months.

        • None of the White Sox games made it to 18000. Early season games doesn’t make a difference. My comparison was 2017 to 2018.
          Attendance is down substantially year over year. If they continue to do well, I agree, the crowds will grow. Why, the band wagon blue jays!!!

        • You can’t compare bball with football. If somebody wants to go to an occasional bball game, he can pick almost any day of the week, as walk-up attendance is spread over 81 games. CFL walk-up is spread over 8 or 9 games. So, the CFL should draw substantially more fans per game…but, not in Toronto.

  5. Barry McCawkiner // April 9, 2018 at 12:40 pm //

    All 12 Argo fans will be very upset with this decision…

    • Yet another loser troll

    • Strange how they almost sold out the Eastern Final. Big difference between 12 and almost 24000.

      • While 24k is a step in the right direction, that was for an important playoff tilt. They need to do, AT LEAST, that for every game. Closing off the higher seats won’t create interest in the game. They have to sell the game to all the foreigners, and now generation who are happy to be glued to their phones/devices for entertainment.

  6. Feeling Blue // April 9, 2018 at 12:40 pm //

    Big Mistake….tailgating has grown over the last two years….attracting a younger group of fans….cost??…Come on….It’s not just going to the game…it’s part of the experience….Wow…you have to do things that make your experience different in a competitive market place and this won’t help.

    • Grown? attendance has dropped!!
      No proof that a tail gate helped attendance.
      If they averaged just under 14k with the tailgate would they have been much lower without it??

  7. Scottsask // April 9, 2018 at 12:48 pm //

    You need to spend money to make money at times. Bad idea Argos, you’re shooting yourselves in the foot.

  8. Double blue through and through // April 9, 2018 at 12:48 pm //

    Disappointed in the loss of tailgating – that was truly different from other sports experiences. Hopefully those who tailgated in years past will continue to do so (on their own rather than in the Argos-administered zone).

  9. Feeling Blue // April 9, 2018 at 12:49 pm //

    All right…let’s start the unofficial tailgate!!

  10. Scottsask // April 9, 2018 at 12:53 pm //

    Happy to hear Pinball is back on board though, they got one thing right.

  11. #BringBackArgoTailgate tweet and Facebook this and maybe MLSE will notice and rethink.

    • anthony hillier // April 9, 2018 at 3:14 pm //

      2 things right – the appointment of Bill Manning to president, replacing the ridiculously overrated Michael Copeland

  12. solara2000 // April 9, 2018 at 1:02 pm //

    While tailgating may a popular activity, to me the real mistake is lowering prices.
    Whiff of the ‘race to the bottom’. Early season ticket discounts, multi game discounts, group discounts, package deals (hotel, ticket, etc) yes, but discounting tickets – diminishing your product and partner products – no.

  13. Guess because Toronto FC doesn’t tailgate the Argos can’t ?

  14. Wade Tomlin // April 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm //

    Frankly, this is a smart decision. There just isn’t enough of a fan base for a tailgate to do anything other than remind people that the Argonauts don’t have a lot of fans. Also, I like the lowering of ticket prices, it sounds like MLSE is being realistic about creating a long-term business plan for the Argonauts that’s about creating new fans, not pretending the Argonauts have more fans then they do.

  15. Bad call by Argos to do away with tailgating.

  16. Went to a tailgate last year and it was okay but pretty empty so I understand. Glad I got at least one in though! Beers were only like $3 or $4 bucks as I recall.

  17. I attended 3 Argo games last year. Now that tailgating is gone put me down for none.

  18. “Costs associated were not worth benefits”… as in the team feels they will get more money from inside-stadium concessions than from the fees associated with “official” tailgating (beer sales, tailgate passes).

    I wonder how many fans will still do it on their own terms, like at other stadiums. And how many police and bylaw officers will look the other way, so long as things are kept fun but not out of hand.

  19. Brad Greenshields // April 9, 2018 at 2:37 pm //

    This is so tone-deaf and deflating for all argonauts and CFL fans that would come to BMO. I purchased season tickets this year on the understanding – as advertised – see – that tailgating would of course continue to be part of the game experience. I will be cancelling my 3 seats as a result. Wonder how much MLSE will lose as a result of cancelled/forborne season tickets given this bonehead move.

    What a huge disappointment after the big announcement of MLSE taking over. Thought it would save the state of the franchise, but looks like it’s just greed as usual for MLSE.

  20. bill pinder // April 9, 2018 at 4:01 pm //

    I have been an argo fan since they played in varsity stadium. have season tickets for the last 28 years. putting the moron from tfc in charge is a big mistake. obviously he cares about only the bottom line when it comes to the argos. clearly a step backwards. other than the leafs this is the only true Canadian franchise and the oldest by far. you clowns wouldn’t know a good thing if you fell over it. I already have this years season tickets but I will re evaluate for 2019. what a joke. not happy.

  21. Tailgate YYC // April 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm //

    They tried to cancel tailgate at McMahon a few years ago and lost literally thousands of fans.
    Now that tailgating has been allowed the attendance has grown slowly but many have not returned.

    Fair warning MLSE.

  22. You need to do it for more than one yr.

  23. The only way i was able to get my football buds to a CFL game was the excellent tailgate experience. I never saw 1 fight or disturbance of any kind. Its a weird move by MLSE, The worst decision I have even seen done by a professional sports team. Is Manning insane? I see the facebook boards Lets talk Argos and the official Argonauts fan club pages are going crazy too. Fans are mad, it is such a massive step backwards on something that was unique and really working. I hear there is a protest #bringbackargostailgate


  25. #bringbackargotailgate

  26. just got the notice from the argos – looks like they dropped season tix by around 25-30%? says there will rebate back to fans who already purchased them – dosnt same the rebate will be in form of cash mind you! Other than the tailgate every thing looks ok.

  27. Carole criss // April 9, 2018 at 5:18 pm //

    So upset about this !!! Really … this is how we build up the team that has the worst attendance ? The fans that attended were real fans . And children were starting to come as well …. I’m so disappointed in our city ‘s support .
    Shame on you …. and I’m a mother of a player !

  28. Seoulman // April 9, 2018 at 6:28 pm //

    Not going to hate on ppl trolling the Argos, but to be fair, the thousands of fans who do love the team and the CFL are passionate, dedicated fans. The rest of the city/GTA needs convincing and decades of mismanagement and missed marketing can’t be fixed overnight. I’ve been a STH for 21 years, right out of university, but I’ve seen blunders in marketing and business fights over the done and new stadiums sabotage any traction. I hope some day we’re as loud and numerous as the great fans in Saskatchewan and Hamilton (no they’re not all drunk aholes, so let’s not paint everyone the same). As for the tailgating, it was pretty fun, but I was only able to make it twice and I can’t drink so it wasn’t a deal breaker for me anyway. That being said, I hope the Barracks pregame party that they’re reviving does well in place of it (but I will miss the kind fans who offered to feed me and my daughter when we had no cash on us). I hope that ALL markets thrive, I hope the maritime team is a huge success and I hope this great game lives on coast to coast. And for the record I go to support all Toronto teams, and honestly, tfc fans I hope you realize that some of us love both and want a good schedule and environment for all of the players. Sorry for the soapbox, everyone. Thanks for reading if you got that far.

    • Steve J. // April 9, 2018 at 7:04 pm //

      Seoulman, Toronto needs to clone you about 20,000 times! I’m a lifelong Ti-Cat fan and the CFL would be pretty sad without the Hamilton/Toronto rivalry. It’s fans like you who make the CFL great. See you at the TO end of the Labour Day Home & Home.

  29. If they want to introduce new fans, it has to start with the very young. Perhaps a free kids tick for every adult, especially for season ticket holders. Or give away kids tickets in public schools…with reduced prices for adults who take their kids to a game. Young kids who have a good experience will continue to be fans.

  30. Edward Leslie // April 10, 2018 at 10:45 am //

    The one positive in recent years is that TV numbers are good for the Argonauts. While a long way behind the Maple Leafs and Blue Jays, I’ve heard that tgey are equal to the Raptors and far ahead of Toronto FC. So, the trick is getting the fans to attend the games.

    Lowering ticket prices might work. Promotions might help too. But doing away with tailgating seems counter productive to me.

    An average crowd of 14,000 simply isn’t enough, and they have to get those numbers up by any means necessary. In the NCAA, the Argos wouldn’t even qualify as a Division 1-A (FBS) team. One of the pre-requisites to move up from Division 1-AA (FCS) is a guaranteed average attendance of at least 15,000.

  31. You can’t compare baseball with football. If somebody wants to go to an occasional baseball game, he can pick almost any day of the week, as walk-up attendance is spread over 81 games. CFL walk-up is spread over 8 or 9 games. So, the CFL should draw substantially more fans per game…but, not in Toronto.

  32. As a Redblacks fan, the was one of the biggest things I was looking foward to when I would go to Toronto for games. Several of us tried getting Jeff Hunt to do the same because the experience, the people and everything about it is amazing. I met several Argos fans that I had an amazing time with, and you just can’t get the same thing in Ottawa. Montreal’s tailgates are amazing too, where everyone is a couple mintutes away from the stadium. Tailgating is part of the sport, and makes the experience more enjoyable. Take that out, and you give fans less of a reasons to want to go out of their cities to games, or sometimes fans in their own city to go to games. It makes watching it on the TV more worth it.

  33. canadianfootballfan // April 10, 2018 at 9:07 pm //

    Way to dwindle a fanbase that is already the smallest in the CFL.

    Is the double blue front office full of morons?

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