EDMONTON – The president of the Edmonton Eskimos is calling for a change to the Canadian Football League schedule.
Len Rhodes wants to see the teams kick off the season earlier so that more football games take place during warmer weather.
“I believe, based on facts, that if we were to start the season two weeks earlier and finish two weeks earlier, that we’d sell more tickets,” said Rhodes.
“Let’s help set up the winning conditions so that more fans come watch the games.
“Selling tickets when it was -20 degrees proved to be a little difficult.”
CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon said the issue is on the long-term agenda.
“It came up last year in Saskatchewan. The Saturday of Grey Cup weekend was -35.”
“In terms of long-term, this will be on the agenda,” Cohon said. “I think these are the type of things the future commissioner and the presidents need to talk about, and our board of governors.”
“If you move the season up a few weeks, it could address some of the cold weather issues.”
“I think it has an effect … most teams should package it with their seasons tickets, but I think obviously cold weather does have an effect,” said Cohon.
“When you have your 70-inch, high-def TVs, and you have your man – and I guess I should say lady caves too – people want to stay at home, so we have to make sure the environment is great for people to come out to the stadium as well.”
Rhodes explained ticket sales are the primary source of funding.
“The facts, year after year after year, show that when it’s cold, there’s a certain barrier that keeps a lot of fans from coming live to the stadium.”
“You hit a certain age, and it gets more difficult when you’re outside now,” he said, explaining the Eskimos have a very universal demographic.