New Brunswick

Cohon non-committal on CFL's future in Moncton

The Canadian Football League is not confirming whether Moncton will have the chance to host a third straight regular season game next year.

The Canadian Football League is not confirming whether Moncton will have the chance to host a third straight regular season game next year.

Almost 97 per cent of the 21,000 seats at the University of Moncton’s seats were filled during Sunday’s match between the Hamilton Tiger Cats and the Calgary Stampeders.

However, there are questions surrounding why Moncton could not fill the stadium considering last year's match was sold out in a matter of hours.

Mark Cohon, the CFL’s commissioner, would not address the possibility of another regular season game in Moncton next year.

"It's [the] 100th Grey Cup, so we're going to be very busy," Cohon said.

"We haven't determined whether we'll do this event just cause there will be so much going on across the country."

The CFL has been playing regular season games out of the University of Moncton’s stadium for the last two seasons.

The University of Moncton opened a $20-million stadium last year that hosted the IAAF world junior track championships.

The city has used the excitement generated by the CFL to attracted other high-profile football events in recent years. The University of Moncton stadium will host the Uteck Bowl, which is the national university semifinal game, in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

The fact that there were still about 800 empty seats in Moncton is raising eyebrows around the league.

Buzz wearing off

Dave Naylor, a football commentator for TSN, said it's unfortunate that the dominant theme nationally has been that Sunday’s game didn't sell out.

"I think that caught a lot of people by surprise because you had an event last year, I mean, they sold out the entire stadium in about 30 hours. The vibe was terrific," Cohon said.

"There was a lot of energy and excitement about the fact that this wasn't a one-off, that they were going to go back. You had the buzz about the long-term possibility of a team playing out of Moncton."

A year later, Naylor said that buzz around Moncton seems to have died down.

"I don't think it raises alarm bells but I think it shows there's good reason for caution," Naylor said.

"But ultimately the measurement is how many tickets do you sell and if you don't sell it out I think there is a bit of an asterisk on the game that well we've got to be cautious going forward."

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