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Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:31

Overexposure? Less green for Jolly Green

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A fair question these days could be “what’s wrong with the Saskatchewan Roughriders?”
The Riders are underwhelming in attendance this year as they opened the year with only 19,285 people in Mosaic Stadium June 30. The was the first game in a rematch of the 2013 Grey Cup with 32,621 attending the second game July 25, a win over the injured-riddled Toronto Argonauts.
What’s the problem? It could be a Grey Cup hangover. Fans did spend a lot of money on the team last year.
There was pure euphoria in the Wheat Province in 2013 as the Saskatchewan Roughriders were a top flight team. They won the Grey Cup in Regina against a vilified former member of the team who won the Riders a championship as a player (1989) and as a coach (2007).
Wow, how could it possibly get better than that?
They set financial record after financial record.
According to the team, the Riders had a record profit of $10.4 million including a net profit of $9.3 million.
The team also sold more than $13 million in merchandise (record), led the league in gate receipts in the attendance and also set a new record exceeding $43.8 million in total operating revenues. The club saw record revenue from ticket sales as a result of an expanded capacity and led the league in gate receipts totalling $15.4 million surpassing the prior year’s record by 17 per cent.
In today’s day and age, everything is about marketing, merchandise and getting one’s name out there. Is there something as having too much of a good thing?
The Riders are everywhere. One can buy everything from chips to alcohol and antifreeze to tools and garden gnomes. If one names it — the team can slap the Rider logo on it.
For the purists out there, it’s a little sad. In the old days, everyone looked forward to the game and even the daily newspaper or radio reports because that’s all there was. There was some sort of anticipation for the big game and any story about a member of the roster.
Because of social marketing, the method of sports coverage or any ‘news’ ranges from absolute fluff pieces to speculative ‘stories’ filled with innuendo, and opinion and now more important than the games themselves. There is so much hype that all of the lead up is almost leaving the games as a let down.
Maybe therein lies the problem with the poorer attendance this year. Maybe people are treating football like a basketball game and will until the end, in this case, the latter part of the season, to come out more frequently i.e. people want to wait until closer to the playoffs ‘when the games matter more.’
Maybe fans are waiting until the next stadium is built in three years. Perhaps it’s the loss of a couple of big stars in Weston Dresslar and Kory Sheets to the NFL and Geroy Simon to retirement.
Or maybe it’s because the Grey Cup was the ultimate in football experiences, it will take some time before the enthusiasm comes back, despite the best efforts of the Rider public relations juggernaut.
November will be the telling tale. If the Riders continue the mediocre season, they don’t do well in the post season and their profits (inevitably) drop maybe it’s not the most devastating thing. No one or group wants to suffer from burnout.
Everyone needs to have a rest, slow it down and perhaps take a knee in the endzone instead of bringing it out full tilt —it may be better in the long run.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Read 1260 times Last modified on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:33