Canadian Football League to test Atlantic expansion with exhibition game

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Canadian Football League released details today concerning the June 11 exhibition game dubbed Touchdown Atlantic between the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Huskies Stadium in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The game is planned as a gauge for expansion east to an Atlantic city but with ticket prices at $40 and $62.50 (Canadian), CFL commissioner Tom Wright admitted they were considerably more expensive than the average price for other season-ticket holder single games which, he said, is "in the mid to high $20 range".

At the news conference in Halifax, Wright defended the prices as necessary to break-even with the additional costs required to set-up the game and temporarily expand Huskies Stadium from 2 000 to 10 000 seats and comparable to similar, one-time events.

Events Halifax chairman Fred MacGillivray said he is confident that the showcase game will be a success. "I think the general public's reaction to this event will tell the CFL that there are a lot of people in the Maritimes who want to see CFL football and we feel very confident we'll have a full house for that event in June", he told the news conference.

Hamilton head coach Greg Marshall agreed and said he thinks expansion to Halifax is viable. "Halifax is the natural site and it's just a matter of coming up with the facility", he said. "I think there's a lot of interest here and I think there's a lot of interest in the CFL to put a team here."

Events Halifax and the CFL have also set up a number of events surrounding the game including a Friday-night kickoff party, a schools program, open team practices with player autograph opportunities and a pre-game festival.

CFL fans watch with interest how ticket sales will do when they go on sale on April 8 as the league considers expansion in 2008.