"The fear of seeing Ronald McDonald’s picture every day drives me on"
- Simeon Jackson
I don't think the problem for the Impact is the location. The Alouettes steadily built their audience after moving to Molson and that is what the Impact need to do. A lot of the success of the Alouettes after almost being dead was in moving to a small stadium with a great atmosphere and eventually having ticket scarcity. The atmosphere has been great at the new Saputo even when only 12 000 was there are people who I brought for the first time were really impressed. I think Montreal will catch on.
Like most North American cities people here are not really football fans but occasional tv football fans. They watch the WC/Euro every 2 years and a smaller percentage watch some Euro league on tv. They are not raised in the culture of going to the stadium every week. Once they start having that stadium experience they will want to come back.
Plus another big difference from Toronto is that TFC really benefitted from the fact that the Lynx had almost no presence in the Toronto sports scene. Thus, TFC could be marketed as a new team in a major sports league. In Montreal many people see the Impact as a continuation of the NASL team which is in fact what it is. This is good from the standpoint of those people who were Impact season ticket holders previously but the team still has a bit of a minor league image with those who were not Impact fans in NASL days. It will take some time (and some big name players coming to town and also playing for the Impact) to change that image.
Seems to me that the Impact would have benefited from rebranding itself for MLS. Problem with that is that there were championships associated with the Montreal Impact name which you dont want to throw out and disregard.
Then again, the whitecaps came into the league with the same name and backgound as the Impact. As far as i can see, they have gotten a big boost in attendance
Last edited by Roger miller; 06-26-2012 at 09:15 PM.
That being said I don't think the main problem with attendance at Saputo is branding and I think the history of the Impact name will be good in the long term marketing. I think for the most part it was the Olympic stadium that hurt the present sales at Saputo. People like new and in a best case scenario you get a lot of people to a new stadium where tickets are hard to get and the atmosphere is so amazing that people want to come back. Even when it is full the atmosphere in Olympic stadium is not that great. The seats are far from the pitch, the pitch is terrible and the sound does not carry. The Ultras section is also miles from the pitch, shallow and spread out and with the sound not carrying very far it is hard to create a really good atmosphere. So people came and saw a decent soccer game but it wasn't an awesome soccer atmosphere experience that will make them want to come back to the next game.
They did an excellent job renovating Stade Saputo but while the old fans of the team were excited about this, a renovated stadium opening midway through the season is not the same as a new stadium at the beginning of a new season in marketing terms. The atmosphere in the new Stade Saputo is amazing, much better than before the renovation and far, far better than that in Olympic stadium. Yet Olympic stadium was the atmosphere most fans who attended due to the MLS new league buzz experienced. Yes there would have been less people at the opening MLS and Beckham games but had they been in Stade Saputo the people attending would have been blown away by the atmosphere. Just think of what the ticket scarcity situation of having Beckham come to a 20 000 seat stadium would have done to Impact season ticket sales compared to him coming to a 60 000 seat stadium in which tickets were available even at game time (despite having sold 60 000 by this time). Most of the other games we played at Olympic stadium had close to 20 000 and the attendees at those games would have had a far better experience had they been in a full Stade Saputo than in a 1/3 empty Olympic stadium.
The situation we are in now is that we are in mid-season which is naturally a low point for buzz and attendance and have just moved into a renovated stadium where the atmosphere is great at the same time that many of the casual fans interest is dropping off because the buzz factor is gone and Olympic stadium was a mediocre experience. I am not worried though, I think we just need a slow steady building of the fan base and as people experience the Saputo Stadium atmosphere they will want to come back. The people I have brought to the last two games all said stuff like, I have never experienced something like that before or I didn't know a soccer atmosphere existed like that in Montreal. Once more and more people in Montreal have that experience I am confident attendance at Stade Saputo will rise even if it is gradual.
Grizzly is spot on. Olympic stadium is not where I want to see a game........marketing department should get rid of those stupid cardboard shields. When the fans do show up at Saputo they will come back as the atmosphere is fantastic even with 12,000.
What I like is free parking is easy to find within a 10 minute walk.