New president wants to create soccer atmosphere around Argos

New president Bill Manning wants to recreate the Toronto FC atmosphere around the Argonauts.

“Our plan is to make the Argos just as important,” Manning told Kurt Larson of the Toronto Sun. “The Argos are going to be a priority in a lot of ways.

“Can we get to the point where we’re selling 25,000 tickets a game and the team is competing for (Grey Cups) year in, year out? That’s my vision,” he said. “How long does it take? I don’t know.”

The Argos averaged less than 14,000 fans per game in 2017, which was down from just over 16,000 in 2016, the first season at BMO Field.

“The one thing I keep challenging myself with is that this is a market with six million people,” Manning said. “Can I find 25,000 people a game, eight times a year, who will come?”

Television numbers for Argos games are strong, averaging over 450,000 viewers per game last year.

“How do we convince those people to come out to the game?” Manning asked. “What I do know, though, is that the folks at  [Argos head office] are really good. I have a lot of faith in that group.”

The double blue won the 2017 Grey Cup victory and hoping to capitalize on it.

“How do you continue being a contender and build some buzz in the marketplace so people want to come out and spend some money and buy tickets?” Manning said. “That’s the challenge.”