Redblacks Pleased with 80% Season Ticket Renewal Rate

In their inaugural year, the Ottawa Redblacks sold an impressive 17,000 season tickets, proving to naysayers around the league that Ottawa is, always has been and always will be a CFL city. In fact, Ottawa had the largest season ticket holder base in the East last season, just edging out the Ticats.

Typically renewal rates for expansion teams run about 50%, as many people get caught up in the buzz, excitement and novelty of a new team but once the hype dies down don’t have interest in shelling out cash for a season long commitment in year two.

Luckily for OSEG (Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group) and team President Jeff Hunt, Ottawa isn’t a typical market. In a season preview conference call with the media last week, Hunt revealed that the Redblacks have sold 15,500 season ticket equivalents so far, which comes out to around an 80% renewal rate. That’s even more impressive when you factor in that the Redblacks are coming off a 2-16 season, and one in which the team struggled mightily to put up points at home, only scoring 13 TDs through 9 games at TD Place. Also, though the stadium was complete, Lansdowne itself was still under construction, taking away from the game day festivities. This year, fans will have tons of options to “tailgate”, with numerous restaurants and bars now open right beside the stadium.


Let’s dig a bit deeper into the numbers. It’s worthing noting that last season’s 17,000 season tickets included tickets sold in a 3 game home opener pack, which is once again being offered. 80% of 17,000 is 13,600, so with the Redblacks currently sitting at 15,500 season ticket equivalents, that means just under 2000 fans have bought 3 game packs. That number is very likely to continue to rise, as training camp kicks off, hype builds for the home opener vs BC on July 4th, and OSEG works the phones.


Hunt isn’t just relying on his sales team to work their magic either, as he’s personally getting in on the action.

“Every single season-ticket holder that has not renewed, I’m calling personally to get their feedback and opinions on the season that was, to thank them for their support in Year 1 and try and persuade them to return as a season-ticket holder. I would say I’ve spoken to about 15 people and left about 100 messages.”

I don’t know about you, but if I had the president of my team take time out of his day to personally call and chat with me, there’s a real high chance I’d at the very least pick up a 3 game pack. It’s little things like this that exemplify the lengths OSEG will go to be successful in this community.

R-Nation sold out TD Place 9 times last season, making Ottawa the only team in the CFL to sell out every home game. The fact that the Redblacks already have 15,500 season tickets sold with a month and a half remaining before their home opener bodes well for the future.

Santino Filoso

Santino Filoso

Born and raised in the 613, Santino has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know.)
Santino Filoso
Santino Filoso
About Santino Filoso (225 Articles)
Born and raised in the 613, Santino has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know.)

16 Comments on Redblacks Pleased with 80% Season Ticket Renewal Rate

  1. steve desio // May 19, 2015 at 3:09 pm //

    What a credit to what Jeff Hunt has done. He has not done it alone. As president he has been a great lead man for Ottawa REDBLACKS, As well as Ottawa football history, CFL in general, and placing the right people in the right places to make it successful.
    Being up to date with sports trends. Highlighting the 3 game pack is a stroke of genius. Not everyone can get to every game. Traditional full season ticket holders in every sport end up giving or selling tickets.

  2. Great point Steve, the 3 game pack is a really smart way to get around empty seats and scalping tickets. The entire OSEG team deserves a ton of credit for everything from their branding, to the marketing plan to their community involvement. Ottawa finally has owners it deserves.

    • steve desio // May 19, 2015 at 3:37 pm //

      You got that right. the OSEG group is not just good for Ottawa. They also are a great group for CFL and pro sports in general.

      • steve desio // May 19, 2015 at 3:43 pm //

        Unique also is OSEG group of franchises is highlighted by CFL team with OHL and NASL synergy. An unoficial hand in CIS football. Could be followed by CIS basketball leading to a much better NBL of Canada team in Ottawa in the future.

  3. steve desio // May 19, 2015 at 3:34 pm //

    -In year one I thought they did everything possible to get the best players they could.

    -The hardest position to fill was WR. there was just not that many available of any Nationality with experience for them.
    Top FA rec were hesitant to go last year CFL, NFL, Canadian or Import.
    Adding Padden form the AFL was a great signing IMHO. Rec and DBs coming from the AFL has had success recently. Not a blockbuster name though.

    -Addressing the rec situation in Block Buster fasion this FA and I would be 1st in line to renew.

    -They fell short as well in finding Import OTs via CFL, NFL, or AFL. There are a ton out there they just did not find the right ones in year one. Getting SirVincent from one of those sources also huge. re adjusting neg list and another year of scouting and more will follow.

    -DBs/LB as well they were able to obtain a few so it was not as glaring as the rec spot in year one.
    -Quietly obtained all star WillLB Munoz after half a season in NFL camp. Eric Smauels was a great pick up. releasing him may likely be do to injury sustained last season

  4. Steve holmes // May 19, 2015 at 5:56 pm //

    Had season tics last year, growing up in Toronto, my pops had Argo tics for 27 years, as a kid growing up, I looked forward to a game w him every year. So living here now, I supported the comeback, got to about 7 games myself last year and loved the envirement and see the future of this franchise and Hunts vision. This year I have bought 4 more seats, full season, to give to friends, clients and local teams to help show the fun times! Can’t wait for season to start!

  5. Edward Leslie // May 20, 2015 at 6:54 am //

    Signing an exciting star like Chris Williams will help keep the seats full in Ottawa. The Redblacks added other tremendous talent at the receiver position by adding Greg Ellingson, Brad Sinopoli, Maurice Price and Ernest Jackson. In fact, last year’s top receiver Marcus Henry might have a hard time cracking this year’s lineup! The O-line should be better with the addition of SirVincent Rogers and First round draft pick, Alex Matteas. The one area that they could make an improvement is at Quarterback. Henry Burris may very well be playing his last season in his long and illustrious CFL career. Who is the up and coming replacement? They should try and acquire the rights to Canadian Kyle Quinlan, who has indicated that he would like to give the CFL another try.

    • Do the Als still hold Quinlan’s rights? If not, I agree that Ottawa should definitely invite him to training camp! Where’d you hear/read he’s thinking about giving the league another shot?

      • Edward Leslie // May 22, 2015 at 1:28 am //

        I forget where I read it, but he was being interviewed about coaching in the C.I.S.. He mentioned that a return wasn’t out of the question, if the opportunity happened. The Als do still own his rights because he wasn’t released. He is still listed on their roster as “suspended”. With Brandon Bridge, Andrew Buckley and Jordan Yantz suddenly all getting opportunities, this might be the time for a comeback.

        • steve desio // May 22, 2015 at 2:15 am //

          You are exactly right. I personally not sold on Bridge even coming to the CFL. With Montreal keeping him on the suspended list to keep his rights. With AC plugging him personally during his time at camp with Montreal. I would not be surprised if the lines of communications have stayed open between Popp and Ptaszek with Popp letting Steph and Quinlan know that once everything is settled after two very unlike years of coaching changes that the time may be right now.
          AC and Popp I would not be surprised to have had this on the back burner awaiting for AC to join the staff with a well expereinced QB coach and OC and former QB Shonert working with them.
          Toronto and BC both gave Shutter a legit look. I suspect that Toronto interest may lie in Will Finch for next season. With Shutter having all the tools training and pro arm to be a year away of the next team that will see the benefit of having a Canadian QB as not just a ratio thing.
          IMHO Yantz, Shutter, Finch, and Quinlan have the right mind set and skill set to become QBs in the CFL in an important role. Quinlan and Montreal was in a very bad ideal situation with Trestman leaving and Hawkins coming in but that has changed. A bright future ahead as well with the kid from Penn State transfering to UBC with Blake nill and should be the guy the Lions will look to wen his time comes.

          • steve desio // May 22, 2015 at 2:23 am //

            Also with Sinopoli moving onto receiver things may have been different if the REDBLACKS expansion timing coinsided with the arrival of Bo Levi in Calgary. Hunt and OSEG I also believe has the forward thinking to give a qualified Canadian QB a fair shot should he be equal to any of the other lower level NCAA QBs opposed to dismissing him as a QB to move to another position.
            So that may very well be the place where Quinlan or Shutter may appear very quickly.

          • Mark Fulton Mark Fulton // May 22, 2015 at 2:46 am //

            @ Steve Desio – The main issue with Quinlan’s departure & leaving Montreal has to do with his invitation to MTL’s mini/FA camp in Florida and being asked to pay his own way there. It was clear he was only going to be a “camp” arm in his mind at that point and he wasn’t going to be given a real opportunity. That’s when he decided to return to MAC to coach. Until such a snub & snide is reconciled there will not be any return to the Als for Kyle. And that has nothing to do with the olde coaching regime if anything. That’s between Popp & Quinlan.

            And as far as MTL releasing him from their suspended list to allow him to play elsewhere, well those are other negotiations to be explored yet would come with a cost to any acquiring team.

  6. Edward Leslie // May 22, 2015 at 5:52 am //

    Mark, I never heard about Montreal asking Quinlan to pay to go to the mini camp. Quinlan’s reaction certainly would make sense, if that was the case. I would come to the same decision myself. Hamilton originally invited him to training camp a few years back, as part of that Canadian University quarterback apprentice initiative. Maybe they’d be interested, especially after losing Dan Lefevour.

  7. steve desio // May 22, 2015 at 8:01 am //

    @ Mark. Oh yes i know the situation at the the time and I cant say I blame Quinlan. I truly believe though that Trestman, Popp and even imput from AC that they were ready to make a commitment to him.
    The Trestman left and the whole Dan Hawkins Fiasco started. I truly believe it was Hawkins who was not interested. His action’s causing all the confusion spoke to that as far as I am concerned.
    You could tell the players were uneasy at TC with Hawkins. Watching ACs frustrations during the games were way out of character so you know something was wrong.
    I believe now that Popp his back on his game and has all the right people and as many players as he could in place.
    Thats why I believe that there has been some communication going on. Otherwise why would they keep him on the suspended list if they were still not interested. They could have just let him go after year one off the suspended list and moved on.
    The super secret CFL leaves us with no hard evidence as usual but keeping him on suspended list means they and possibly other team(s) have interest.
    Since Hawkins firing both Popp as HC and then Garcia/Shonert both bumped him down and a new guy was brought in to play over him. Marsh was a Hawkins signing and really is no better and played agains no better competition in University than Quinlan

  8. I was glad to see football back in Ottawa, and it’s great news that ST renewals are strong. Been on a few road trips to the nation’s capital to see games (including a Grey Cup) and it was always fun… and I hope to visit the renewed stadium very soon for a game.

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