That's the ticket! 2-for-1 deal's on

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

Even CFL commissioner Tom Wright would have to admit Lonie Glieberman saved the league and Renegades considerable embarrassment with a gamble he took last June 25.

Imagine how pathetic attendance numbers would have been had it not been for his one-day only, $99 ticket sale -- given that six of the team's nine home dates were played under rain.

As it is, the Renegades were the only team in the nation to draw less than 20,000 fans for a game, and they did so seven times. Without the promotional blitz, they might have been performing before more seagulls than humans on most nights.

Glieberman is hoping lightning strikes twice, so to speak, when the Renegades hold a 2-for-1, seven-hour ticket sale to attract new clientele tomorrow.

He doesn't expect nearly the same response he received that Saturday in June, when 5,800 fans turned out to essentially pay $11 a game for a season pass, but he would like to have 1,500 new season ticket holders by the time the 9 a.m.-4 p.m. offer available at four local theatres (Silver City, Coliseum, Gatineau's Star Cite and Galaxy Cinemas) is over.

"We're excited, the buzz is starting to grow," said Glieberman, who continues to whittle away at the CFL-high ticket prices set by the team's original owners. "We think people will see this as a great opportunity to get the best seats at a reasonable cost. Either for themselves or as a great Christmas gift.

"It's unheard of, it's unprecedented, and once again it's a chance for us to connect with the fans."

Only 4,500 of the team's current 12,700 season-ticket holders are regular Joes -- that is, non-corporate or non-$99 accounts.

But then, the fan base took a tremendous hit last off-season, when Wright allowed the Renegades' dawdling ownership to remain in a state of indecision until just days prior to training camp.

Now, under majority shareholder Bernie Glieberman, the Renegades are making up for the silence that followed the 2004 season. They have hired a new, flamboyant coach, John Jenkins.

Their quarterback situation remains up in the air and they have yet to re-sign stars Korey Banks and Josh Ranek, but they have otherwise attacked their list of potential free agents with a very unique approach, inking five of them to either four- or five- year contracts.

And while there was no obvious marketing done by the Renegades all last winter, ads for the 2-for-1 sale are everywhere you look and listen.

Still, a number of fans are going to demand improvement from the product before coming back to the park.

Even though the 7-11 finish in '05 tied the best record an Ottawa pro football team has had since the 1992 Glieberman-owned Rough Riders checked in at 9-9, the way it was put together -- losing eight of the last 10 -- left a bitter taste in the mouths of customers who are starving for a playoff-game hot dog.

With the East Division shaping up as a competitive one next season, Glieberman is wary of making a prediction on how many games his team will win. But he's pretty sure people will enjoy the type of game played by a Jenkins-coached team.

"It's going to be wide open," Glieberman said. "It's going to be exciting."

And odds are it's going to be played in more favourable weather.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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