Well, for years I have said that Toronto would be a great NFL city. We have a large populartion (about 5 million) and a solid fan base with loyalties to many teams.
When the Bills and Rogers (the company bringing the games here, and owners of the Rogers Centre) announced the 8 game series here (5 regular season, 3 pre season over the next 5 years) there was a lot of buzz in the media. Unfortunately, they must have overestimated the commitment of the fans, because they decided to try to exploit us mercilessly.
Tickets are ridiculously overpriced ($70 - $575 CDN which was close enough to par to make it almost the same in US dollars). But that is only the tip of the problem. They held a lottery to have the opportunity to purchase tickets - there are two games here this year, Pittsburgh pre season and the Dolphins in the regular season. In order to purchase tickets, you were required to buy either a 3 game package or an 8 game package.
The 3 gamer is all pre season. You would be required to buy the Steeler game this week, plus an unnamed opponent in 2010, and another unnamed opponent in 2012. Lay out all the money today for a pre season game 4 years from now!!
The 8 gamer was obviously for all 8 games over the next 5 years. Once again you are required to lay out all of the money up front. Of course, on top of everything else, there were different service charges that ran the price up even higher.
Because I only want to commit to Thursday's game with my 5 year old son, I looked into the 3 game package. The cheapest seats in the house were going to run me in the neighborhood of $750.00 when all was said and done. I looked into some better upper deck seating, and that was going to run me around $1,800.00!! Look, I just want to take my kid to a pre season game, not buy the Bills!!
Obviously I decided not to shell out that kind of dough to take my kid to the game, after all, I can road trip with him to PA for less. A few weeks later, I looked on Stubhub and purchased seats. Now they are even cheaper.
All the people who thought they were going to get into this investment and make big money all got caught - and I know a few. I saw today tickets for as low as $33.00 as time is running out. Anyways, I happily shelled out my money to Stubhub and have my seats. I was not forced to pay today for a pre season tilt between the Bills and 49ers, or Jets, or Browns in 2012.
Anyways, hopefully all the last minute corrections to the market will help bring in a decent crowd. However, I suspect that you will see a lot of empty seats with high price tags around the dome. Moreso, I'm sure that I'll hear a lot of grumbling on sports radio about how badly Rogers is raping the fans. Ironically, the local sports talk radio staion is owned by...you guessed it, Rogers - so I am sure that their opinion of them will be less than honest.
Anyways, just a little rant while I await the game in a couple of days.