Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The Ottawa Leaves

   Waning attendance at Ottawa Senators games is an ongoing problem that continues to bedevil the team’s management. An Ottawa sports columnist recently summarized the main obstacles: lack of a corporate base to buy season tickets, government restrictions on receiving freebies and an arena that’s too big and not centrally located.
     While it’s useful to detail the root causes of the Senators’ attendance woes, it’s time folks came up with some ideas to get more bums in the seats. Eventually we may have a nice shiny new arena centrally located in Lebreton Flats but, in the meantime, I think it’s worth considering these suggestions which I offer absolutely free:
1.  Schedule more Leafs games at the Canadian Tire Centre. Is it just me or is it painfully obvious that the arena is sold out when Toronto is in town? Since there are more Leafs fans than rats in the National Capital Region, an Ottawa vs. Toronto game is pretty much a guaranteed sellout. Plus, every such game is a win-win-win situation as the Senators’ management gets a sellout, local Toronto fans get game tickets and season ticket holders get to sell them their tickets at hugely inflated prices.
2.  As for scheduling extra Leafs games, let’s do what popular musical acts do: if the demand is there, book back-to-back games. That’s right; have a matinee game in the afternoon and a second game at night. If we have to bring in second-tier players from the farm team in Belleville to spell the regulars after game one, so be it. Leafs fans will still gobble up second-rate hockey just as they’ve been doing in Toronto for years.
3.  Don’t be afraid to advertise other games as Leafs games; simply market the opposing teams as the Buffalo Leafs, the Boston Leafs, the Chicago Leafs and so on. Toronto fans are so desperate for Leafs tickets that they’re bound to snap up any extras available. (N. B. – this may only be a one or two-season solution as even Leafs fans aren’t likely to fall for this ruse forever.)
4.  Change our team’s name. I doubt we can get away with calling the team the Ottawa Maple Leafs but maybe the Ottawa Maple Leaves would work and at least has the advantage of being grammatically correct. Barring that, just call them the Ottawa Leaves. That should provide enough similarities to fool Toronto fans while creating enough differences to avoid legal action.
5.  Invest in a second Toronto Maple Leafs team that will play its home games at the Canadian Tire Centre. There should be enough Leafs fans in the region to sell out every game. If not, there are still plenty of Toronto residents willing to drive five or six hours for their only realistic chance to attend a Leafs game.

    Hopefully, one or more of my suggestions will pay off big time and the franchise’s future will be secured. No need to thank me with free tickets or anything like that as I can’t afford to pay for the parking anyway.

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