I have written about the coming of the Ticats and the expansion of Alumni Stadium here, here, here and here. Most of those stories and the accompanying photos focus on the shiny new bleachers, the $450,000 payment the school will receive, plus the huge intangible benefits for the University and the football program from the national media exposure.
The Tiger-Cats will leave behind some much smaller, or at least less-noticed, things as well. For example, all of the seats and sections in Alumni Stadium are now numbered. There is brand new signage, bearing both a Gryphon and a Ticat logo, on each section and in other parts of the stadium as well. If you refer to the Tiger-Cats seating chart you will see that the existing seating of Alumni Stadium is divided into Sections 102 to 106.
The numbering of the seating means that the U of G can sell reserved seat tickets. At the current time that may only be significant for Homecoming or playoff games. But if the Gryphons can grow their fan-base and attendance going forward, it will allow for tiered ticket pricing. If I recall correctly only McMaster, Western and Queen’s do that now and even then only to a limited extent. Seating in other OUA stadiums has always been on a general admission basis. Being able to guarantee premium seats can be an incentive for fans to buy season tickets and a benefit to offer donors and sponsors of the program.
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A check of the Gryphon Box Office @ gryphons.ca shows that 2013 Football Season Tickets are still not available. [The 2012 games are still listed on the site.] In other years season tickets were on sale before now. Last year the ticket sales started early then were put on hold until the stadium renovations were complete. Questions over the status of The Hill, and thus the crowd capacity limits, needed to be resolved. One possible explanation I have heard is that the Athletic Department is considering using the Tiger-Cats ticketing system.
For this one season at least, Guelph has the same 13,000 seats available for sale as the Tiger-Cats do. So the symmetry of that makes sense. Mind you I heard that rumour two months ago and I’m starting to wonder what the delay is. If it turns out to be true then I think the benefits may be worth the wait. I’m all in favour of the Guelph Athletic Dept learning whatever they can from the Ticats. But at the same time 2013 presents a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.
Coming off an amazingly successful 7-1 season in 2012 [9-2 overall] and with 13,000 seats available Guelph should be focusing on setting attendance records and building its ticket-buying base. I know that the Athletic Dept realizes that because AD Kendall said as much when the Ticats-to-Guelph announcement was made back in March.
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Writing about Gryphon season tickets got me to thinking about our 2013 road games. I checked out the websites of our four OUA road opponents – varsityblues.ca, varsity.uwaterloo.ca, goravens.carleton.ca & gogaelsgo.com.
What I learned: Currently, UofT and Queen’s already have tickets for their matches with Guelph on sale. Meanwhile, in 2013 Waterloo still doesn’t offer on-line ticket ordering. And the revived Carleton Ravens program’s ticket site displays the following message: Ticket sales begin 8/16/2013 @ 1:00 PM ET .
The links for tickets: