The least we can say is that the Alouettes’ president, Mario Cecchini, is not idle.
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Hired a few weeks after the arrival of a new owner in 2020, its primary mission is to increase the popularity of its club among Montreal and Quebec residents. After the Sparrows’ glory years in the first decade of the century, supporters left the club after a succession of poor campaigns.
The reconquest mission is still ongoing and the initiatives seem to be bearing fruit.
“All of our key figures are improving, whether it’s season ticket sales or single tickets. […] TV ratings and radio market share have also increased,” revealed Cecchini in a generous interview.
However, the big challenge for the President and his team is at the box office, as fans are still a long way from filling Percival-Molson Stadium to its full capacity of 25,012 spectators.
In their first three home games this season, the Alouettes drew an average of 16,416 spectators per game.
“Of course we want to make faster progress in this area,” Cecchini made no secret, noting that the fans were more present than in the two previous seasons.
In order to attract more spectators to the Percival Molson Stadium, the President depends on the results of his team on the field.
It’s no secret that Greater Montreal sports fans are primarily drawn to winning clubs.
“I was on a panel with Geoff Molson [président et chef de la direction du Canadien de Montréal] and Gabriel Gervais [président et chef de la direction du CF Montréal] a few months ago, Cecchini said. It was Geoff who first said that the best marketing wins.”
“Imagine if that has implications for the Canadian as it applies even more to the CF or us…”
“We’re 3-6 as we speak but we’re filled with optimism.”
A busy owner
Cecchini also has to deal with an owner who has repeatedly stated on his Twitter account that he wants to see the stadium full when his team plays there.
Gary Stern has been multiplying escapades on the social network since the beginning of the season. It is also not uncommon for him to directly challenge his President to ask him to act in a situation X conjured up by a supporter.
How does Cecchini live with the possibility of being called like this at any time of day or even night?
“I don’t really see it as added pressure,” he replied. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t need any external pressure to push myself to the max.
Though he admits he’s not particularly fond of Twitter, Cecchini still makes sure to reply to fans who ask him questions on his Facebook page. He also makes sure to listen when he encounters a fan at practice or during happy hours with season ticket holders.
“I like that we have a close relationship with our fans. Whenever I have the opportunity, I ask them what we think we should improve. They have something to say to me and we listen to them.”
Just as Cecchini’s mission of reclaiming can sometimes be one supporter at a time.