Ian Allison, Cavalry FC president, and Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Cavalry FC head coach and general manager, hosted a Q&A session for Cavalry FC members/fans following the Canadian Premier League #GotGame trials stop in Calgary last week.
The club’s president provided club updates and news regarding the venue and tickets, while the coach stuck to the on-field product and how the club is being built.
The following is a portion of Ian Allison’s address to the membership group.
Stadium and pitch updates
“We’re in the final stadium designs for the Meadows on the Green,” said Allison, President & COO, Spruce Meadows Sports & Entertainment. “We learned a lot of things when we held the Al Classico prospects game out there. Our FIFA pitch works very, very well. It’s already had 38 cm of snow on it. The new drainage system works well, which we didn’t think we’d be able to test prior to Thanksgiving, but indeed we were.
“The pre-game experience, with respect to some of the things you have to implement for Canada Soccer and FIFA, containment of the stadium, pre-game ticket taking and security checks all worked very well.
“We did have problems at half time. The typical Spruce Meadows equation doesn’t have everything stopping at once and having a 15-minute window for people to get their food and beverage and get back to their seats. So, we are working on that and have some solutions to be able to handle that.
“We also learned…a lot about the fan behavior on that particular pitch. While many supporters’ groups like sitting behind the goals, most of the fans enjoyed sitting on either the east or the west side. So, as such we have made the decision that we are now going to construct the main grandstand on the east side of the Meadows on the Green. So, the white building will be re-purposed and there will be a 26-row 4,000 plus seat grandstand going on the east side.
“Locker room design has been looked at and evaluated and those will be under construction starting next week.
“I think, we walked all of the coaches from the CPL out on the stadium (Thursday) evening, and they’re all envious, I can tell you. It’ll be one of the most intimate experiences in professional soccer you can have anywhere. Alex Bunbary (Canadian former professional soccer player who attended the Canadian Premier League trials in Calgary) has played in Europe in all the big venues and he can hardly wait to experience a game there.”
Cavalry FC match tickets and membership conversion
“We’ve also been through our ticketing processes with every other franchise in the league.
“I think everybody will, hopefully, be satisfied with the variety of different ticketing and game experiences you can get. Again, we’re dealing in that 6,000 (fans) per game area. There are going to be six corporate seats in the grandstand. There’s going to be a variety of seating arrangements, basically starting at $20 per unit for season tickets all the way through.
“Within our membership group that conversion will start after Remembrance Day. Prior to the new year you will be contacted. You’ll be able to take advantage of your place in line on the membership.
“The league will start play after Easter (2019) and it will run to about this week next year. Every venue will have different blackouts, whether you have CFL games, or in the case of Spruce Meadows, June is tough for us. But August, later July and September are excellent.
“There are only a few franchises that have surpassed 1,000 members and this is one of them. And we’re most appreciative of that.”