LONGTIME Blue Bombers season-ticket holders are wondering why they're being treated like second-class citizens during the seat-allocation process for Investors Group Field.
The Winnipeg Football Club is currently transferring 21,000-plus season-ticket seats from the old Canad Inns Stadium into the 33,500-seat facility under construction at the University of Manitoba. Some fans are upset at the process used to determine where they'll be sitting in the new stadium, however, questioning why season-ticket seniority isn't being factored into the allocation equation the club is using.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg," offered John Borys, a season's ticket holder for 41 years and counting. "The majority of season-ticket holders who haven't achieved the seniority we have are in for the same type of disappointment.
"Especially if they're currently situated on the east side of the old stadium."
Borys, 63, has four seats in Section V, row 32 at Canad Inns Stadium, which puts him on the 55-yard line. Filling out the ticket-preference survey the club provided earlier in the off-season, Borys and his son Dean indicated they wanted the same seat location, in the lower bowl of Investors Group Field, with P2-designated pricing ($795 per seat).
Neither wanted to shell out the $1,546 per ticket in the pampered "stadium club" block of seats that take up most of the middle-of-the-field seating on the east side. One "club" seat is more than triple the price of one 2011 Platinum season ticket, the elder Borys said.
According to the Bombers' website, the club took into consideration "season ticket holder seniority, current seats and the survey answers submitted" when determining new seat locations at Investors Group Field. These criteria, specifically the seniority, should have landed the Borys family near centre field on the west part of the lower bowl, they figured, as there are no "stadium club" seats on that side.
Last week, they received an email from the club. Their new seats are in Section 105 in the new stadium, to a spot that sits them on the 25-yard line.
Take it or leave it.
"We haven't been given any real options," Dean added, noting the club offered upper deck seats on the 25-yard line as an olive branch. "I informed the Bombers that we would reluctantly take the seats in 105 they've given to us. What were we supposed to do? If we don't take those seats, we might end up with worse ones.
"Frankly, it feels like there's been no consideration to the fans who have supported this club through some very lean times over the last 40 years."
While some season's ticket holders with decades of seniority are being accommodated, Borys and son say the Bombers are inconsistent in their allocation formula, believing that season's ticket holders on the east side are being drastically displaced, while others on the west side -- many with less seniority, they say -- remain in the same seat location.
"The club is basically telling longtime ticket holders that they don't appreciate commitment and loyalty," Dean said. "Very disappointing."
The Borys situation doesn't appear to be an isolated case, either. A quick scan of the various Bombers fan message boards reveal an undercurrent of displeasure with the ticket transfer and the lack of clarity from the club.
One jilted longtime fan, frustrated with his 15-yard move away from the 55-yard line and with lack of communication from the Bombers, sent this message into the Free Press Tuesday:
"I feel that my loyalty over the last 35 years is carrying no benefits going forward," he wrote via email. "We obviously love our football team, but are tiring of the treatment we receive from the front office. Players seem to understand that were it not for us they would not have their employment opportunity, the front office does not seem to understand this."
Numerous requests sent to the Bombers communications department for clarification on the ticket allocation process -- comment from someone like transition officer Jeff Thompson, chief operating officer Jim Bell or director of ticketing Curtis Ash -- were not granted Tuesday.