Thursday, April 29, 2010

Surprisingly HST to result in more ticket revenue for Ticats

There's an article in the Spec today about the HST and what it applies to that actually has a Ticat angle. Currently there is a provincial tax of 10% on movies and pro sport tickets (I believe it is called the amusement tax) that will be replaced by the 8% HST (5% GST is already charged). So with the final price already set, tickets sold for Cat games after the HST comes into effect in the beginning of July should get the Cats an extra 2%. Not bad from the Cats perspective, more revenue without an additional increase in ticket prices. Could be better for businesses buying tickets for entertainment as they can get the entire 13% back rather than just the 5% GST, although I'm not sure how GST and HST rules apply to entertainment expenses.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

CFL Power Rankings, April Edition, Part 2

5. Edmonton Eskimos
There's not a lot to be particularly confident about going into this season. The Eskimos have a competent quarterback in Ricky Ray, but whose best days may be behind him. The Eskimos have a big question in running back Jesse Lumsden, both in how much he will play and if he doesn't get the ball as much as he likes, what happens. Richie Hall isn't a bad coach, but in the West, Calgary and Saskatchewan are just plain better. The Eskimos also traded receiver Maurice Mann to Hamilton and whether they have an adequate replacement remains to be seen.

6. BC Lions
Surprisingly low ranking for a Buono coached team, but the Lions have a lot of question marks. Last year they crossed over and beat Hamilton in Hamilton with Casey Printers at the helm before being bitch slapped by the Alouettes in the East conference final. How well will Printers do this season? The Lions lost both Canadian defensive end Rickey Foley and import running back Martell Mallett to the NFL which doesn't help for continuity, although import running backs are a dime a dozen in the CFL. Will the Lions be worse than the Eskimos in 2010? Close but I prefer Ray over Printers over the entire season.

7. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Not really a lot to like here, although the coaching change to LaPolice from Mike Kelly should see some improvement. The Bombers had a change to get in the playoffs at the end of the season, but honked it up at home. The Bombers released Michael Bishop which is probably addition by subtraction and picked up former Rider quarterback Steven Jyles and former Lion quarterback and frequent infirmary patient Buck Pierce. Not really a lot to like here, but their defense isn't atrocious and maybe Pierce gets lucky and strings together a few injury free games. Still better than Toronto.

8. Toronto Argonauts
The Argos were abysmal last year with Bart Andrus as head coach and have now replaced him with veteran CFL head coach Jim Barker. This should be an improvement. The Argos ditched all their quarterbacks from last year and the best looking is probably the former Bill third stringer who I am too lazy to look up. The Argos also signed Queen's quarterback Danny Brannigan to a deal, who actually will look OK versus the other dregs the Argos have trolled the NCAA for their second and third stringer. The Argos also lost their import punter and kicker, Justin Medlock to the Redskins. The Argos have a lot of draft choices in the early rounds, and they need at least one of those players to make a difference in 2010. Probably better than than the three wins last year, but the Argos could easily have won a few more games if Andrus only understood the Canadian rules a bit better.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tigercat Season Ticket Pickup Party

The Tigercat season ticket pickup party has been announced to be Sunday, May 16 from 1 to 3 pm. My advice, get there early and check to make sure your tickets are in the envelope.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lulu IPO Delayed

Looks like the IPO of Ticat owner Bob Young's firm Lulu is delayed. A little odd considering the markets are doing fairly well right now.

It is good to see Marcel Bellefeuille signed a contract extension through the end of the 2011 season. Good that it wasn't through 2012, because it now seems a lot of CFL teams, see the Bombers and Argos, end up having money troubles paying the years left on contracts of departed head coaches. That hurts even more when teams are paying money to people like Bart Andrus and Mike Kelly. Anything can happen with the Cats this year, so no point handing out long term extensions.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

CFL Power Rankings, April Edition, Part 1

The first power rankings of 2010, based on not a lot, but most of the free agent signings are done so there are definitely some indications on how the teams will do.

1. Calgary
Picking Calgary as the top team each year is similar to picking the Red Wings. They usually do well in the regular season and win a championship every few years. Having one of the best quarterbacks still pretty much at the top of his game coming into training camp never hurts. If Ken-Yon Rambo can come back from a knee injury successfully, the Stamps have excellent receivers plus running back Joffrey Reynolds. Not too shabby. No doubt the Stamps wouldn't mind crashing Edmonton's Grey Cup party like the angry drunk spilling stuff all over your carpet. That's some extra incentive.

2. Montreal
One could certainly argue that Montreal coming off a Grey Cup victory should be number one in the power rankings. But and it is a big but, Calvillo is just getting too damn old. Sure he was able to put it together last year, but as a Cat fan I've seen the Danny Mac story play out and it wasn't pretty. Similar to Hamilton in the Danny Mac years, Montreal has never really developed a credible backup quarterback. Montreal still has a great team, loaded with Canadian talent, but they will have more trouble this year during the regular season than the asswhippings they handed out early last season. Plus they start out on the road due to stadium construction.

3. Saskatchewan
I'm not really convinced that Darian Durrant is the real deal as a starting CFL quarterback, but he proved me wrong last season. The Riders have always been strong on defence, but losing John Chick and Stevie Baggs to NFL is going to hurt. Picking up an aging Barrin Simpson doesn't seem like the defence will improve this year. What the Riders do have is a fabulous complement of Canadian receivers that can play (and probably have some decent Wonderlic scores to boot). This allows a range of wacky possibilities with the ratio. If Dressler can come back healthy, that's a lethal offense.

4. Hamilton Tigercats
Hamilton went 9 and 9 after back to back 3 and 15 seasons, which was preceded by seasons of varying level of suck. Sabremetrician Bill James has as one of his tenets that a MLB team that makes a massive improvement will invariably fall back the following season. Hopefully that won't happen to Hamilton this year, but having the jump on Toronto and Winnipeg should be enough to prevent that from happening. The Cats picked up receiver Maurice Mann from the Eskimos this past season, who combined with Arland Bruce III should make for a better than average receiving corps, provided Dave Stala can stay healthy. The defence is relatively intact, avoiding any southward migration during the offseason. The Cats are also relatively set at quarterback with Kevin Glenn backed up by Quinton Porter, plus DeAndra Cobb is back at running back.

US Media Coverage of the Gore Park Tiger Stunt

Even newspapers south of the border are reporting on the Cats public relations stunt. Some people seem really upset, but I'm doubting they are Cats fans or have many IQ points to rub together. Maybe the tiger could eat some of the drug dealers in Gore Park. That would be a start.

Still not sure how much this will help to sell tickets, but getting people talking about the Cats in April can never be bad.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Winnipeg Signs the Glassman

Winnipeg signs one of the most fragile men in North Amercia, Buck Pierce as their new (starting?) quarterback. I guess it makes Winnipeg better, in terms of the number of wins this year, elevating them over the Argos. I would suggest that the Bombers keep their run first offense from last year at least somewhat and obviously no sneaks for Buck. What's the over under number on Pierce starts this year? I say nine.

Also O'Billovich signs a new deal with Hamilton. Considering the Cats success last year, good move.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Winnipeg Loses Money in 2009

Excellent article from Sportsnet about the Bombers losing $1.2 million in 2009, with almost a million in severance costs, no thanks to Mike Kelly. With rumblings of a lockout, rather than squeeze the players, the CFL should work on containing front office costs on the football side, perhaps with a salary cap as well. Apparently some teams need protecting from themselves.

The Bombers also violated the salary cap in 2009, the only team to do so, but not enough to lose a draft pick. Interesting that the money from the CFL declined slightly, but the economy couldn't have helped.