Weekly Digest: Blue Jays average 37,514 fans, 975,000 viewers for opening series vs. Yankees


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Blue Jays take flight: average 37,514 fans, 975,000 viewers for opening series vs. Yankees

Outside of poor PR surrounding a new deal with StubHub, the Blue Jays had a successful opening series vs. the Yankees, averaging 37,154 at Rogers Centre and drawing an average minute audience of 975,000 viewers on Sportsnet throughout the weekend. However, if attendance for the team’s second home set of the season is any indication, there will be a significant drop off at the gate this year compared to the past two years when the team drew north of 3 million fans each season. The team averaged 17,116 against the White Sox this week which, to put it into perspective, is almost 7,500 fans less than the lowest attendance the Blue Jays recorded in 2017. Blue Jays’ President Mark Shapiro has said on the record that season ticket totals have dropped from 20,000 to 13,000, which can be attributed to a combination of performance on the field and ticket price hikes.

The Memorial Cup returns to Halifax

Despite a new arena opening in Moncton this summer, The QMJHL announced on Thursday that the Halifax Mooseheads will host the the 101st edition of the Memorial Cup, taking place May 16-26, 2019. The Mooseheads were considered, along with the Moncton Wildcats, following a formal bid presentation made on March 2nd, 2018, to the Site Selection Committee which was comprised of Scott Smith (President and COO of Hockey Canada), Glenn Stanford (President of Stanford Communications), Nancy K. Orr (Chief Provincial Judge of PEI Provincial Court) and Tom Cullen (President of Purity Dairy LTD). The last (and only) time the Mooseheads hosted the Memorial Cup was in 2000, when Brad Richards lead the Rimouski Oceanic to a title at what was then the Halifax Metro Centre. The facility was renamed Scotiabank Centre in 2014 as part of a naming rights partnership that included renovating the concessions, bathrooms, and the original seats. The only other Maritime city to ever host a Memorial Cup was Moncton in 2006 when the Quebec Remparts defeated the Wildcats in the championship game.

Calgary’s Olympic bid gets government support

The Government of Canada, the Province of Alberta and the City of Calgary announced their support for the establishment of a bid corporation that will continue the development of hosting plans and a fully costed event budget that will inform a bid to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Calgary. According to The Calgary Herald, the provincial and federal governments will put forward a combined $20.5 million, but the Province of Alberta’s $10 million investment is dependent on a plebiscite to gauge support for the bid. The International Olympic Committee announced earlier this week that seven National Olympic Committees have expressed official interest in hosting the Olympic Winter Games in 2026.

The Canadian Premier League (CPL) launches Canadian Soccer Business (CSB) 

The Canadian Premier League (CPL) announced the launch of Canadian Soccer Business (CSB) – a new sports enterprise representing commercial assets and inventory for marquee soccer properties in Canada. CSB now represents all commercial interests for the CPL, and all corporate partnerships and media rights for Canada Soccer – including the Women’s and Men’s National Team Programs, the Canadian Championship, and grassroots programs that reach millions of Canadians. Canadian sports executive Scott Mitchell, who one of the founders of the CPL along with the tech entrepreneur and sports team owner Bob Young, has been confirmed as the CEO of CSB. Joining Mitchell on the executive team are accomplished sports partnership leaders Ian Charlton and Dave Keeley.

“It is truly a pivotal time for soccer in Canada and we are excited that Canadian Soccer Business will be at the forefront of this exciting movement,” said Mitchell. “What the CSB is all about is representing soccer in Canada not only locally in communities, but nationally and globally as well. The CPL’s upcoming launch, along with the strength of the Canada Soccer brand have created a unique opportunity for us and our partners to provide an integrated platform that reaches from the grassroots to the professional level across the country on a year-round basis. We look forward to a series of exciting announcements and partnerships in the coming weeks.”

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Sports Business Canada

Covering the top stories at the intersection of sports and business in Canada.