'Gades win at box office

TOBI COHEN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:08 PM ET

Friday's pitiful game against the Edmonton Eskimos wasn't enough, evidently, to keep would-be Renegades season ticket holders at bay.

At $99 a pop, who cares if the team sucks?

"It wasn't the on-field product at all. It's a good deal," said 26-year-old Alvin Boota who got in line at Famous Players Silver City early yesterday to pick up 11 tickets which he plans to share with friends.

Among hundreds of water bottle- and lawnchair-toting fans in a line that stretched more than the length of a football field around the complex, Boota and pal Ryan Gibson, 27, said they were a bit surprised by the outpouring of fans.

FRUSTRATION WITH NHL

"We thought this was the Batman Begins lineup," Boota said. "Then they told us it was for the Renegades."

Rod Parker said he wasn't surprised to see legions of Ottawa football fans line up for cheap tickets.

A Renegades season ticket holder for the last three years and Rough Riders regular for the team's last five years, Parker said $99 certainly beats the $325 he paid last season and the $450 he would have paid this year.

"We've seen a lot of losing games but it's exciting football," he said. "If you're there to see a win every time, you'll be disappointed."

Some fans suggested frustration with the NHL was a big reason so many people turned out for football tickets. Some former Senators season ticket holders even suggested the only way to get them back would be to offer a similar deal.

Though plenty of tickets were up for grabs at three locations, including Famous Players Coliseum in Nepean and Star Cite in Gatineau, and there was no limit to the number one could purchase, it didn't stop some from getting in line bright and early.

At the head when Silver City's doors finally opened at 9 a.m., was Pamela Brown who got there four hours earlier to pick up a pair for her brother.

"I'm just a very good sister," she said cheerfully, noting she hopes her brother will take her to at least one game for her trouble, preferably the next game against Edmonton.

'A FOOTBALL TOWN'

'Gades president Lonie Glieberman said the club sold 5,836 tickets during the one-day blitz that ended at 6 p.m.

"Our goal was 4,000 and we beat it by more than 20%," he said. "We're ecstatic about that. It shows this is a football town. You've just got to make it affordable."

Renegades spokesman Marc Hoey said he wasn't at all surprised at the turnout considering these are the cheapest season's tickets for a professional sporting event in all of North America.

"We just want to make it fun at the park and have a lot of people," he said. "If we can sell a whole whack of these, then we'd have a good base to work from."

While the box office had received a few calls from peeved ticketholders who already paid full price, Hoey said they were given a chance to give up their seats and take the new deal.

-- With files from Don Brennan

tobi.cohen@ott.sunpub.com


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