Basketball: Final 8 attendance down from '08

This likely rates a post of its own. You can hear the Haligonian tooth-gnashing all the way from Upper Canada (it's all in fun).
Carleton's success on the court hasn't been matched by fan support.

Attendance for the three-day tournament was 73,126 -- including 15,852 combined for the two games yesterday. That wasn't as high as anticipated, said Carleton athletic director Jennifer Brenning, the tournament chairwoman.

"I'm a bit disappointed, but we're head-to-head with the 67's and the retirement of (Brian) Kilrea, so that would be a factor, and it's a beautiful day out," she said.

Brenning said the tournament lost money last year, and she just hoped to break even this year. Carleton has one more year of hosting the Final 8 before it moves back to Halifax for 2011 and 2012.

She didn't bid for those championships, and is debating whether she'll try to bring it back for 2013.

"They changed the funding structure, so the CIS holds over 60% of corporate advertising inventory and the host gets the balance. The concept is the host is to purely concentrate on ticket sales," she said. -- Ottawa Sun
Brenning's comment about corporate advertising inventory explains away the dearth of bids for some national championships; Atlantic University Sport basically was bidding against itself for the 2011 and '12 men's basketball tournament.

Any and all suggestions as to why ticket sales were down are welcome; it could be the novelty wore off, or maybe people thought Carleton would win. Also, maybe it's time to study how time is used; four hours dedicated to two consolation-side games on Saturday is one of those really ... really moments? It is understandable you don't want a team to travel from either coast to play one game, lose and be done, but an all-star game and a skills competition might be more of a crowd-pleaser. With all due respect to coach Dave DeAviero's Ottawa Gee-Gees and John Dore's Concordia Stingers, who engaged in a pretty good consolation final on Sunday, how about a bronze-medal game instead?

Tell you what, the thing with university sports in Canada is people really are there for the game. Getting 8,000 tickets distributed, even in a city Ottawa's size, is nothing to sneeze at, and yes, a lot of sports fans might have opted to be there for Brian Kilrea's final regular-season game, where the Ottawa 67's team beat a team from a certain Eastern Ontario city.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


  1. I sure that if the game was at the civic center within walking distance of both campuses attendance would be over 10,000 per game (FINALS) which would fill the venue . Both Ottawa and Carleton have problems in attacting students too their season games during the year . I would guess that more than 75% of the attendance is made up of the general public not students at games . With both universities having enrolments over 25,000 you would think they could attract a couple of 1000 students to home games .( Especially with the quality of ball both teams play) They can attract 3 to 4 thousand students when they play each other which may be a reflection on the event at Scotia Place not the game itself.(A lot of hype and planning). In order for the regular season games and the nationals event to draw large numbers the universities and student federations have to due a much better job in attracting students to the games and promoting their product.

  2. no excuses: Halifax comes through every year it hosts the CIS Final Eight. Period. End of story.

  3. Attendance was not much better if at all at Halifax especially in pre games and when teams from down east were not playing . The venue and set-up is great and the due a fantastic job in promotion . Much easier when the event is in the heart if the city not 25K from down town . Hard to get any atmosphere . Smaller cities usually can due a better job than lager cities in promoting this type of event ;however, that does not mean larger numbers at games or revenue made.

  4. Not to be too much of a Haligonian tooth-gnasher, but... remember the organizers double-count attendance too. I.e., if you bought one ticket to a double-header, they count you for each game. So the actual number of people who attended the Final 8 is closer to 36,500.

  5. Again halifax is a cis town that is it.So sure they should and do support college sports.

  6. sorry but a bronze medal game would not attract any more people! Canadian basketball needs a makeover period!

  7. Is there any way they could move the dates for next year.What i am getting at could carleton and the cis say ok lets have the tournemant when the sens/67s/olympiques are all out of town.

  8. Dates could not move . Not sure it would make a lot of difference any way. Ottawa is a hockey town just have 67 's play away . Senators never play Sunday afternoon and if it's at Scotia place it does not matte. Ottawa media did a good job in covering event but did a horrible job in promoting lead up to the event . (Citizen ) If you are a true fan of basketball CIS ball is excellent . It is not NCAA . It is what it is . Entertaining and played at an excellent level. Final games in tournament were exciting as any NCAA game . Not as athletic but highly skilled .They may have to change tournament format but not sure how or if it would really make a difference in support.

  9. Any comparisons between Halifax and Ottawa aren't fair - Ottawa hasn't had the chance to host the tournament every year, since the beginning of time, like Halifax had up until two years ago. If Ottawa was given the opportunity to make the event *Ottawa's* in the same way Halifax was, you might see different results.

  10. Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought I read somewhere that Ottawa (nor anyone else, bid for the tournament in 2011/12. That leads me to believe that it wasn't financially successful in Ottawa. Halifax has always done a great job at hosting the tournament. I look forward to seeing it back in Halifax.

  11. I just hope some halifax fans are not bitting off more then they can chew.If all games are not sold out are close to it i think there will be alot of questions asked.


  12. They changed the rules in how revenue is shared after Ottawa got the tournament . I'm sure it is less expensive to run in Halifax and I'm positive that if it was a city of Ottawa tournament run at the civic center not a Scotia Bank tournament run threw the Senators organization it would be cheaper . I'm really not sure how much money it brings too Ottawa or the Universities. If it was a lot Ottawa City would be on board. Carleton just hopes to break even this year after losing money last year . I wounder what type of deal CIS they get at Scotia Place . Since nobody else is biding for tournaments Halifax must be financially supporting tournament. If it made money you would be sure other cities would want it. It's a shame it could not move around Canada . Carleton should be given credit for bringing tournament to Ontario/Ottawa . It's too bad that attendance did not increase but as mentioned in other blogs Halifax attendance was about the same. City of Ottawa was treated to some great bb . Looking forward to next year and will be in Halifax 2011

  13. You just can't overlook how far the arena is from either uOttawa or Carleton. If you hope in a car it will take you 20 odd minutes (and add much more time if you are on the 417 during rush hour to Kanata) and then you have to pay for parking. Of course this all assumes you have access to a car to get there in the first place. The public transit out there sucks, they run these special buses but the popularity and the scheduling of them sucks. So what this all means is that it essentially removes any walk up crowd from going to the game and as any student knows you aren't often planning well enough ahead of what you are going to do on the weekend.

  14. For the afternoon games on Friday and Saturday, the actual number of asses in seats was nowhere near the announced attendance.

    The atmosphere was eerily dead in an arena of that size when you only had a couple thousand fans, the majority of whom weren't rooting for either team. Holding this an event in an 8 - 10,000 seat faculty would greatly enhance the atmosphere.

    As others have pointed out, Scotia Bank Place is in a dreadful location. Public transit access (or lack thereof) aside, there isn't even a bar nearby to which one can easily walk between the 2:30 and 6 p.m. games to slake a thirst.

    (P.S., how in the Christ do they think an MLS team will work out there?)

  15. Anonymous
    The senators are a very very successful team out in kanata.Aslo concerts and evts are success for the most part.The only thing that does not seem to be sucessful is cis.


  16. Taking other points, and I'm happy there are a lot of good ones, one-by-one.

    • Brenning's point about how revenue is divvyed up should be on people's radar screen ... 60% seems a bit on the high side for the national organization, and it's a

    • This site is well aware of the double counting since we posted on it. People seem to be taking it to mean that if they announced 8,000 for a given two-game block, that means there were at most 4,000 people there. That's simply not true; the lower bowl on each side, between the baskets, was pretty full, with enough people sitting in the end zone seats and 200-level to make up a crowd of 8,000 people.

    Was it a bit low? For sure. The location of SBP, the lack of public transit (one of our writers had a 20-minute walk after getting off the bus), the discretionary fans who might have gone to the 67's, were contributors. I also wonder if there's not some small, lingering effect from the transit strike; if you were a student who couldn't go to games in January, that might have hurt interest.

    • Definitely, more students are needed at games. CIS events can be weird; if you're not school-aged or middle-aged, you don't fit in.

    • @ Anon 9:31 ("no excuses: Halifax comes through every year it hosts the CIS Final Eight. Period. End of story.")

    They had about 5,000-6,000 at championship games which didn't involve the AUS, whereas it used to be 8,000 in the late '90s and early 2000s.

  17. What really pisses me off about these Halifax people is that smug sense of entitlement they have.
    Look, I've been to many tournaments down there and often you couldn't get a corporal's guard to the noon time games on Friday.
    And some championship games I've seen were less than half full when it didn't involve an AUS team.
    The reason why Ottawa lost money is probably because they have to guarantee so much money to the CIS.
    Back in the 80's the CIS didn't treat it like the cash cow they now believe it has become.
    Personally, I don't care if it comes back to Halifax two years from now...that suits me just fine.
    In fact, I'd love to go down there to see the Ravens kick some AUS ass.

  18. Didn't Carleton-Ottawa U draw 10000 at SBP back in January on a weeknight?

    Obviously Friday day games and consolation round games are going to be sparsely attended; that's a fact of life no matter what city hosts. It was a little disheartening to see so many empty seats with a host team in the final though, game being in Kanata or not. To give credit where it's due though, the crowd seemed to be all over it in the 2nd half of the final and the noise and passion started to come through on TV.

    People seem to be forgetting as well that a significant commute is involved for fans of a number of AUS schools when Halifax hosts as well. Fans of X, CBU, and UNB needed to travel 2-4 hours to see their teams, and quite often did. In terms of population density and venue, Halifax can't keep up...but the games there certainly looked better on national TV.

  19. The Feb. Scotia game drew 10,000 because it was between home town rivals and it is a huge event .It is a tammer version of the Panda football game of the 70's and 80's. Both universities bus students out in droves(especially Carleton) . The hype in the media is bigger than the lead up to the nationals. If as much planning was put into the final 8 as the Feb. game at the universities numbers could have been greater . Carleton did a decent job in getting students out ;however, if they did not make the finals numbers would have dropped off. Ottawa's biggest game to get into the nationals was against Windsor at home . There may have been only 500 people at the game ,half of them students . In the consolation round there was no cheering squad for Ottawa or mascot and very few Ottawa students in the crowd . Carleton's home games are mostly adults with not many students attending games . Students will come out to play-offs but I'm sure the are out numbered 4 to1 by non students . The small number of students going to games is more a reflection of the overall interest in university sports in general in Ottawa both by students and the public .

  20. It just amazes me people seem to love to bash ottawa,Would this tournemant have done better in toronto no it likely would have done worse.Yet people bring up the lack of interest in ottawa by the public and students.Again people have to keep in mind ottawa has alot of sports.It justs eems that does not matter eacht eams should get great support even if there all playing on the same night.If there was no nhl/ohl/qjhl/cjhl etc and only cis would there be more support yes with out a doubt.


  21. Only one bidder for the next Final 8.
    Only one bidder for the next Vanier Cup Game.

    These are supposed to be the marquee events for CIS sport.

    The CIS is handling them badly.

    Hardly anyone wants to host them. No wonder they have a low profile and garner little fan interest across Canada.

    It is fine that Halifax will get a few thousand fans per game in the seats and that Quebec City will fill the Peps, but these are local phenomena, and does not change the fact that CIS sport has little interest across Canada.

    The CIS has done little to grow its sports and is unlikely capable of doing so in the near future. A whole revamp of the CIS structure, new people, new strategies, are needed if ever Canadians apathy toward the CIS is ever to be overcome.
    Individual universities need to do more to promote their teams for sure. However, an old Atlantic saying is that "the fish stinks from the head first". The CIS HQ is the head and the stink has permeated downward.

  22. I think in the case of the CIS; the stink is all the way through; from head (CIS) to tail (each individual school)....