Rick Zamperin: Toronto Argonauts giveaway might backfire on them

I give credit to the Toronto Argonauts for giving back to their fans, but the team might want to rethink one of the promotions it has planned for this season.

The CFL club announced Monday that it will play its home exhibition game against the Montreal Alouettes on May 30 at Varsity Stadium.

Varsity Stadium was the home of the Argos from 1916 to 1958 and has hosted 30 Grey Cup championship games, by far the most in league history. CNE Stadium is a distant second with 12.

The preseason game on May 30 will be an 11 a.m. kickoff and is being billed as a ‘school day’ game with tickets being sold to students at schools throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

As part of the announcement, the Argos say they will be giving away 2,000 CFL leather footballs this season. That is a great keepsake, as long as fans hang on to it.

We’ve seen our fair share of sports promotions gone wrong in the past.

Remember the Hamilton Tiger-Cats ill-fated fireworks and skydiving stunt at old Ivor Wynne Stadium? Good times.

The Chicago White Sox held ‘Disco Demolition Night’ in 1979 and encouraged fans to bring their old disco records to old Comiskey Park and a local DJ would blow them up between a doubleheader. The explosion tore a massive hole in centre field and fans rushed the field and and looted the dugouts — forcing the White Sox to forfeit the second game.

I was at a Blue Jays home opener against the Boston Red Sox several years ago where fans received refrigerator magnets with Toronto’s schedule on it. When Boston won the game in controversial fashion, thousands of those magnets suddenly became dangerous projectiles.

I just hope that if the rebuilding Argonauts are getting blown out by their arch-rivals from Hamilton on June 22 that fans don’t chuck their footballs onto the field in protest.

Then again, most of the fans in attendance will be Ticats supporters, so that might just happen.

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