Blue Bombers' dismal season keeping some fans away
Some Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans are thinking of not renewing their season tickets, saying they're fed up with issues at the new stadium and a dismal record on the field.
The Bombers were trounced 53-17 by the B.C. Lions at Investors Group Field on Friday night, bringing the Blue and Gold's record this season to 2-11.
With two home games remaining in the Bombers' regular season, fewer fans appear to be packing the stands.
There were still thousands of tickets available for Friday night's match.
A total of 28,859 people — about 4,000 short of a sellout — attended the Bombers' last home game on Sept. 20, in which the team gave up a 20-point lead to fall to the Edmonton Eskimos 35-27.
The game marked the Bombers' lowest attendance at Investors Group Field during the CFL regular season. The team's first pre-season game against the Toronto Argonauts had an attendance of 28,642.
Those figures are based on paid tickets, not fans through the gates, which would help explain the thousands of empty seats at the Sept. 20 game.
The football club is relying on 31,000 fans per game to stay in the black and pay for the new stadium, which opened earlier this year.
Fan not renewing season tickets
Perry Gilmour, who has had season tickets in his family for four decades, says he is reconsidering his commitment.
"I am not renewing my tickets, no," he told CBC News on Friday.
"It's not about the product on the field — well, maybe in the way they're dealing with the product on the field … until I see some significant changes that they're going to invest in the club, they are going to start building talent."
Gilmour, like other fans, said he believes the football club is not catering to paying patrons.
"The experience was really degrading for us in a lot of aspects," he said, citing full searches and other rules at the new stadium.
"The feeling there was, I don't know, a bit of apathy towards the fans."
Gilmour said he thinks even players aren't being valued by the club.
"There's just that feeling that they don't want to be part of the club. Why? Um, you talk to a few of them, you hear it in the paper," he said.
"You get here, you have to pay for your own pop as a player. You go to Calgary or something like that [and] they've got full meal spreads out for you."
Others remain loyal
But other fans say they will continue to support the Bombers, win or lose.
"It probably hasn't been their best season, but just look at the opportunity for improvement, It's endless," said Nick Slonosky.
Slonosky, who has been a season-ticket holder for two years, said he loves the experience of watching the Bombers live.
"Everyone that I know that has season tickets is certainly looking forward to seeing the game," he said.
As for why there aren't as many fans in the seats these days, Slonosky has a possible explanation.
"As we move forward through the season, it gets colder and colder, maybe the enthusiasm gets a little less because of the weather," he said.