The Toronto Argonauts’ inaugural season at BMO Field is quickly approaching, but it’s approaching silently; there’s been a noticeable lack of major marketing for the Argos in Toronto.
Despite the importance of this season for the Argos, you really wouldn’t notice if you lived in the GTA. Toronto has other franchises, of course. Last fall, the Blue Jays stole the city’s hearts again, reviving fan interest in baseball. The Raptors are in the playoffs once again, with their catchy “We the North” slogan and their “ambassador” Drake constantly spotted courtside – it is suddenly cool to be a Raptors fan in the 416.
The other franchise the Argos are battling for local media spots are the Maple Leafs, who have a knack for stealing attention away from their CFL cousins. The Leafs currently hold the top draft pick for the 2016 draft. All of Canada is about to be enraged with the amount of coverage the last-place Leafs will receive after their big moment.
But it’s not just the competition for Torontonians’ minds and dollars; there’s a complete lack of direction in showing that the Argos still matter in Toronto. This will prove costly when the CFL season starts in a little under two months.
It will be a constant challenge to battle for media space and relevance in Canada’s biggest market, there just isn’t enough space, time or money for everyone.
The team’s new home in the smaller BMO Field may seem romantic to league fans out west, but the renewed stadium’s lustre will surely vanish when the season proceeds into late October frost, or a home playoff game in the rain for the Double Blue in November.
The Boatmen are entering arguably the most important season in their 140 plus year history. The excuse that the Rogers Center isn’t a football stadium is no longer valid. Perhaps the next excuse will be that it’s too cold or it’s raining when attendance dwindles begins to dwindle at BMO.
Chad Owens was the face of the franchise for numerous seasons, but the flashy slotback is now playing for Hamilton and will be making his Ticat debut at BMO during the Argos’ home opener.
The face of the Argos for this season should be Ricky Foley; he is a leader on defense and plays with heart and passion, something Owens always did as well.
It has always been difficult for the Argos to gain major media coverage, this season will be no different. We all witnessed last year how the Blue Jays captured the hearts and imagination of a city; it’s up to the new ownership group and management to replicate that success but for the Toronto’s oldest franchise.