It's best to try to see both sides of The Globe & Mail report Calgary and Queen's were initially told they would only get 100 tickets apiece, which isn't even enough to accommodate the coaches and players' family and friends.
"... it was discovered that not enough tickets had been put aside to meet the demands of the finalists.Tickets are going for as much for $445 for a pair on eBay. It is an easy way out to chastise Laval after the fact for not setting aside 2,000-3,000 tickets to sell this week. Sure, they could sell them no problem if the hometown Rouge et Or were in the big game. However, Laval was trying to guard against being stuck with a large stock of unsold tickets. There's no shame in wanting the money up front. In all honesty, most took it as a testimonial to the passion of Laval fans and the program's business know-how when a sellout was announced in mid-October. Who knew that Queen's uniforms would apparently cause Laval's offensive line to go blind and thus be a step slow making their blocks last Saturday? (Well, some of us had a hunch, but it's not like Queen's could ask for tickets before it won the game.)
"And, there are complaints that powerhouse Laval University, organizers of this year's event, was so certain that its team would play in the final that it only set aside enough tickets to accommodate one outside team.
" ... Gilles Lepine, the Vanier Cup committee chairman at Laval, denied that not having the Rouge et Or in the game created the ticket crunch for the outside teams.
" 'Our first mission was to fill the place,' he said.
"Both Queen's and Calgary were initially told that they would have to split an allotment of 200 tickets between them – or 100 for each school.
" 'You're kidding?' (Queen's athletic director Leslie) Dal Cin said was her initial reaction when she first learned her school would only be getting 100 tickets.' " (emphasis mine)
Dal Cin said it goes to straight to the top:
"I can tell you we've expressed our views to the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) and asked to ensure that the interests of the participating teams are taken care of and that has to be an absolute mandatory item of any bid going forward."The rub is Canadians often tend to be last-minute ticket buyers. More than a third of ticket sales for the Mitchell Bowl came in the last 24 hours before kickoff; attendance was 6,972 and ticket sales were at 4,500 about 24 hours before the game). The challenge in Canada is trying to guarantee sizable gate receipts for a national event when amateur and university sports tend have a largely local following. It's not like the U.S. where a bowl game or NCAA basketball regional sells itself.
Morris Dalla Costa, bless him, wrote a column after last season's Vanier Cup (which drew only 13,873 in Hamilton) that pointed out that reality. He also offered a solution.
"Those who run Canadian university football need to recognize that location is everything when it comes to a championship.It's a good idea, but you see the irony. People thought going to Laval would ensure the home team was involved; how many "one-team league!" comments have we had on this site? A further unintended consequence of said suggestion, which has some merit (having a two-week bye could also help get the Vanier on a separate weekend from the CFL's Grey Cup) is that it might have traded one set of issues for another.
The only way to ensure a product sells is to ensure the home team is involved.
" ... When the playoff system is based on single elimination, you can't guarantee a specific team makes the final, but there's nothing to say you can't guarantee the final will be played in a specific place involving the home team.
"Find some alternative to the regular season that will allow the playoff season to end a week earlier, leaving two weeks to prepare for the Vanier Cup.
"Since you know before the season begins which conferences will play in the semifinals, you can plan generally where the game will be played. It can alternate every year. For instance, this year Laval and Calgary played in the Uteck Bowl, while Saint Mary's played Western in the Mitchell Bowl. So the Vanier Cup could have been played at the home of the Mitchell Bowl winner. It can alternate depending on which conference and which team wins."
Calgary could not host a game this Saturday, due to the conflict with the Grey Cup. Queen's "ramshackle" and "rickety" Richardson Stadium (as described by the same Globe reporter) would probably be insufficient. They would likely have to rent Rogers Centre and then you're back to having 18,000 people in a cavernous dome just like in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
It's an intractable situation, to say the least.
(By the way, talk on the dot-org is that Hec Crighton Trophy finalist Benoit Groulx might step into the role of becoming Laval's QB coach. He knows their system as well as anyone after five seasons of running the offence.)
Football's hottest ticket isn't the Grey Cup; Sold-out Vanier game in Quebec City has few seats for fans of finalists from Queen's and University of Calgary (Robert MacLeod, The Globe & Mail)
The most important Canadian in history (Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post)