November 30, 2023

End of season press conference recap

Montreal Alouettes head coach Jason Maas, left, president Mark Weightman and GM Danny Maciocia, right, speak to the media at their end of season press conference Wednesday, November 29, 2023 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

On Wednesday morning, Montreal Alouettes president and CEO Mark Weightman, general manager Danny Maciocia, and head coach Jason Maas met the media at Olympic Stadium to recap the 2023 season.

Obviously, when you take home the Grey Cup, the tone of the press conference and the questioning is almost always positive. There were serious matters to discuss though.

If you missed the press conference, here are some of the key points that were discussed:

On the business side, things are heading in the right direction. According to Weightman, the numbers are up in almost every aspect of the business.

Even though season tickets decreased from December to March, overall ticket revenue increased by 16 percent.

Here are the specific numbers:

24 % increase in individual tickets sold
53% increase group sales
28 % increase luxury suite sales

The organization has added roughly 700 season memberships since the Grey Cup victory.

The team also added 21 new corporate partners.

“This win is going to be great for us as an organization,” Weightman said in his opening remarks. “It’s going to help us in everything that we do business-wise, it’s going to help us celebrate, but it’s not the only part of the solution. We’ve been through a cycle where we won the Grey Cup on the football side, but we’re eight months into a five-year plan.”

Maciocia: The Alouettes aren’t rebuilding

Maciocia did a great job of putting this roster together over the last few years, but everything came together perfectly in 2023.

The Als, like every other team in the CFL, have several key free agents they need to re-sign, but they believe they have the nucleus in place to have sustained success.

“When I take a look at the big picture, we’re not rebuilding anymore,” Maciocia said. “We’re going to reload. We have a good nucleus; we have a good foundation. We’re all aware that there are choices that need to be made. With the nucleus and foundation we have in place, we just need to add a few pieces and then hopefully get on a run and compete.”

Maciocia also admitted that the team is working to bring back several players. He mentioned that signings could be announced in the next few days and/or weeks.

When it comes to specific free agents, Maciocia said that he and running back William Stanback are scheduled to meet this week.

He also added that the team has already touched base with defensive end Shawn Lemon as well as linebackers Darnell Sankey and Tyrice Beverette.

“We’ve already begun working on it,” he said of negotiations with those three players. “All three are part of that foundation we’ve been talking about. The good news is that the organization wants them back and they want to be back.”

Maas: Sustained success

First, Maas said that he expects the entire coaching staff to be back next season.

Second, it was exciting to hear about how the organization is trying to become the standard in the CFL. To be the standard, you need to make sure that you keep working hard and pushing the right buttons.

Maciocia mentioned how he and Maas talked about continuing to push each other on the ride home from the airport the day after the Grey Cup. It’s easy to become complacent after winning a championship, but this group wants to ensure that they have continued success.

“(The players) have to work and come together,” Maas said of next year’s squad. “You try to build a vision of championship teams, and that’s where it starts. It’s about the team learning each other, working hard for each other, but putting in the work and the time. That’s what we’re built on. Those core values won’t change. That’s what I’m excited about. That was the vision this year, and we accomplished our goal. Now, we’re going to have a lot of like-minded people coming back with the experience.”