2014 will be Breath of Fresh Air for CFL

[url=http://www.sportsnet.ca/football/cfl/2014-cfl-season-full-of-new-beginnings/]http://www.sportsnet.ca/football/cfl/20 ... eginnings/[/url]

A new team, new stadiums and new rivalries are just some of the things that await football fans, with the 2014 CFL season promising more changes than any in recent years.

The season just finished may have had a storybook ending for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who won their fourth Grey Cup on home turf, but it was a challenge for many other teams in the CFL.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers lived up to their name, bombing big time in their spiffy new stadium as they went 3-15. Even Investors Group Field showed cracks, very literally, and less than a year after it opened renovations are taking place to the open-air press box so the city can at some point soon host a Grey Cup.

Despite some record-setting performances from quarterback Ricky Ray, the Toronto Argonauts stumbled on their path to earn a return trip to the Grey Cup.

And the Montreal Alouettes got a peek at life without veteran quarterback Anthony Calvillo and it wasn’t pretty.

But tomorrow is another day and here are a few things expected when the 2014 season gets under way:

Welcome black: The Ottawa RedBlacks will return the CFL to the nation’s capital. The CFL has been an eight team league since the Ottawa Renegades suspended operations before the 2006 season. Other than a brief and unsuccessful experiment in the 1990s, which added American teams to boost the number to 13, nine is the traditional high-water mark of the CFL.

Do I hear 10: The CFL is staying Canadian this time, but it doesn’t want to stop at nine teams. The league is looking for a 10th host city, perhaps Moncton or Halifax. The biggest hurdle to expansion right now seems to be finding a large enough stadium to accommodate a CFL team. Moncton Stadium drew just over 15,000 in 2013 for Touchdown Atlantic between the Montreal Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but its regular capacity is only about 10,000.

Go west young Blue: The return of Ottawa to the CFL allows the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to move back to their historic base in the CFL West Division. The Bombers were always a western team, until Montreal and then Ottawa folded, forcing Winnipeg to bounce back and forth between the West and East for the last 27 years.

New stadiums: Besides the RedBlacks remodelled stadium at Lansdowne, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats plan to christen Tim Hortons Field in 2014, after spending a vagabond construction season as tenants of the University of Guelph. The Saskatchewan Roughriders are expecting their new $278-million digs to be football ready by 2017.

New coaches: The league will see some first-time new head coaches in 2014. Edmonton and Winnipeg both have new coaches in 2014 after finishing seventh and eighth in league standings in 2013. Former Argonauts defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones landed his first CFL head coaching job in Edmonton in late November and the Bombers then tabbed Argos special teams co-ordinator Mike O’Shea for his first top spot. The Ottawa RedBlacks picked Calgary defensive co-ordinator Rick Campbell to lead their debut in the league.

New draft rules: CFL teams will have a better idea whether the players they draft will actually report. For non-imports playing in Canada, they will be eligible three years after completing their first year of CIS eligibility. If they’re playing in the NCAA or NAIA in the United States, they will be eligible after their senior season of eligibility. Teams won’t have to guess whether drafted players who redshirted as freshmen will impress enough to land jobs in the NFL.

Will he or won’t he: Anthony Calvillo has been a fixture in the CFL for 20 years with the Montreal Alouettes. But after concussion issues that made him miss much of 2013, his future in the league looked uncertain at best as he confessed he was pondering retirement. It’s a day the Alouettes always knew would come, but dealing with it is another matter.

I agree the CFL should be breaking their record for season TV ratings as everyone will want to get a peek at the new stadiums in Hamilton and Ottawa. Also an Ottawa franchise tapping into the entire Ottawa Gatineau fanbase as a big part of the marketing plan for the first time will get a huge assist should TSN decide to broadcast all Ottawa games as well as Montreal games on RDS will double the games that will be shown on RDS on a regular basis.

hopefullya little better planning for the Labor day rematch or opening week game at6 RC vs Hamilton on a saturday could see the 40Kplus or more fans come together in the battle of Southern Ontario.
It won't hurt ither that Hamilton and Toronto have made back to back Grey Cup appearances repping the east in 2012 and 2013. When was the last time that happened in Southern Ontario. Both teams with high expectations and meeting them.

Improvements to be made. The continuing of the TD Atlantic with the smaller 16K seating with an agreement for the Argos to play host for two or three season, or as long as they are in RC, vs Montreal. Toronto really needs to eliminate at least one tuesday night game at RC and TD Atlantic is the best solution.

It will be a good year for the CFL. But as for the stadium issue, both Ottawa and Hamilton will realize from day one that the stadia are too small. Even Winnipeg and Regina will soon realize that ~33,000 seats are less than demand will support. Historically teams in any sport moving into new venues experience a bump in attendance for 3-5 years (if the teams are competitive) which some teams capitalize on and others don't. Hopefully Ottawa and Hamilton realize this soon and expand; Regina revises its plans and Winnipeg wil permanently expand to the 41-42,000 the stadium is said to be capable of. And then maybe Calgary will wake the hell up and do something about McMahon.

you said it yourself - 'IF teams are competitive".

no team can be competitive every year. when they are not, 33,000 is too large - as winnipeg found out this year.
33,000 seems like its a good number for western teams, as it’s not too bad in the down years, and still good in the booming years. plus, they can always expland if needed.

i think Hamilton may soon kick themselves for only having 22,000 seats between the goal lines. any expansion will need to be done in the endzones. how much can you really expect to expand that area?
same goes for Ottawa.

Of course teams can be competitive every year. In a 8-10 team league they should be competitive every year. It's only asinine mismangement that allows teams not to be. I'm not saying that teams would challenge for the GC every year, but a record approaching .500 - or an entertaining product on the field at least - should be attainable. If not, in a small league like ours, there's something seriously wrong with the people running the dog and pony show.

As for the seating situations in Hamilton and Ottawa, they've painted themselves into a corner. The designs don't seem to allow for any seating expansion along the sidelines, though both are said to be able to expand to about 40,000 with endzone seats. Problem is, who wants to sit in the endzone?

also, while 33,000 might seem low for the RoughRiders, let's not forget not long ago, they were second last in the league for attendance above only the renegades ( 2005 ). it wasn't until 2007 that they turned it around.

no one knows what the future holds, but 22,000 in a 33,000 seat stadium would look bad enough. imagine that many in a 45,000 seater.....oh wait! it's called 'skydome'.

I think the days of miniscule crowds are largely behind the CFL. If there's a decent product on the field (properly marketed and scheduled, which concepts some teams to have a problem grasping) in a halfway decent venue (which concept some cities seem to have a problem grasping) crowds of 35-40,000 could be easily attained.

Wake up you are dreaming!
It's sad how virtually every team except ours over the last few or next few years has something to look forward to in their respective city.

I'll tell you...My wife and I and/or my buddy and I used to go to three or four Stamps games a year. Now it's a couple in the summer, rarely after Labour Day. McMahon is just such a dump...you're either sitting on a metal bench (not great on a cold day!) or a worn plastic seat with no legroom. Plus there's what, maybe four bathrooms per gender in the whole place. How do get your wife to go to a game when she's gotta spend half the game waiting in line to pee? Concessions are still a joke even though they've improved since the Flames took over. McMahon is a disgrace, particularly for a city like Calgary. If you want to charge people premium prices you've gotta provide premium services. This is where I think the Stamps have gone off the rails in the past few years.

It has worked in Montreal for well over a decade now. Supply and demand. The supply of tickets is lower so the demand for tickets goes up. What happens when you begin to sell out every game. First, as Hamilton has already mentioned and many smaller MLB ballbarks do, is wait until a day before the gaem or on the game day and announce the sale of standing room tickets. Hamilton will have the ablity with space on the patio and concourse for 2,000 standing room only tickets.
If you go into the next season the price of the tickets goes up less people but no minor legue 20 dollar tickets. If people want to go they will pay.
They did in Montreal.
Plus almost every single person who complains about the small seating capacity and losing money forget that these new stadium have prime modern Suites that more than make up for the cost of an extra 10K regular seats that are in the nose bleeds.
Winnipeg has sold out there 40 or so suites and has a waiting list a mile long.
decade ago philosophies are out dated now and with the new stadiums going up. The upgrades and added seats in Montreal as well as the sold out end zone theatre style seats in the end zones at Mosaic have added about 20 more suites and they are packed!

This is great for the CFL, Ottawa is back with spanking new digs and ready to draft a damn good team. I am so looking forward to 2014 and seeing the Bombers back home in the west.

I'll agree with you stampeder67 on one thing for sure - the CFL is the first league in (my) memory to get an expansion draft right. They're giving Ottawa a chance to field a competitive team in their first year back. Usually it's been a such a set up that it's a surprise that the expansion team(s) can suprise past the first six months.

But CFLSteve I don't think the Montreal experience relates well to Calgary at all. The Stamps attendance has dropped staedily over the past few years as a result I believe of the stadium experience. Too few good seats + too high a price for those available = less people in those seats. Or am I misunderstanding you?

I thought Ottawa was going good until they released their ticket prices. Half of the stadium is essentially free tickets. I have no idea why the prices are so low. They are about half of Montreal ticket prices. Obviously its going to be hard to fill that stadium unless they are confident that with low prices they can build up a waiting list and then raise prices at will.

Half stadium? free? if you check the virtual you can see that the End Zone seats work out to around $20 for season tickets and only a few hundred available, seats on the goal to 20 are close to $50. Looks like the overall average will be around $50 for regular tickets. Where they will make their money is going to be the 900 Club Seats at an average of $300 a seat, if they sell out the Club Seats it's the equivalent of a regular crowd of 5,400. Field seating is $132.
If you include the Suites, Clubs, Field and all the regular seats the AVERAGE seat price is over $80
They can afford to "give away" the end zone seats at $20 they are subidized by the premium seats.

[url=http://www.seats3d.com/cfl/ottawa_redblacks/#/p_aa_2/level_2/]http://www.seats3d.com/cfl/ottawa_redbl ... 2/level_2/[/url] http://www.ottawaredblacks.com/stadiumseating

Check out the Premium Prices


And the Private Suites at $35,000 a suite will generate a lot of revenue.

Good post Drummer !

Well it seems more normal now... It was just the way the press release came out where they really undersold the product making it sound amatureish. They stated that over half the seats were under 40 bucks and that you could walk in the park for less then 20..Sounds like CHL prices and not CFL prices. Basicly the Redblacks could of made the stadium 20K and been just as successful. These posters who want 40000 seat stadiums don't see the reality that the middle class in this country is disappearing and they don't even need us to go to games. They just need the corporate people to shell out 300 dollars a game and to hell with the rest of us

Bombers still had over 91% attendance in a 3-15 year, in which they weren't even competitive for many games. Had the Bombers been anywhere near respectful it would have been 99% of capacity.

Anything up to 40K can be made to work on the prairies imo, but yes if you went beyond that it would be too much, I'd hope the Riders are making their new stadium built expansion ready, so if demand gets there over 10 years then they could add an extra 3-5 seats until get to 40K... heck for the Riders or Bombers, even with a 40K capacity stadium you're guaranteed 1 sell-out a year regardless of record, the issue is yes if you're eliminated from the playoffs and have a late season home game(especially at/below zero C).

From walking around IGF, it looks like it wouldn't be to terribly hard to add a few K seats if demand got + stayed there over the next decade. But for right now, IGF is the perfect size.

I agree with the Hamilton/Ottawa part in that their ~24K capacity stadium were slightly smaller then they likely should have ideally gone, having an extra 1K seats on each side would have been better between the goallines to get to ~26K total capacity. But hopefully the stadiums were build so an extra ~1K can be added on each side, although I'd expect it would be adding an extra section of upper deck to the corners if they do.

I've said it before, but hopefully the Argos get their new stadium worked out so something is announced in '14 and they get a new, partially covered, stadium between what is being built in Hammy/Ott and what's built/being built in the prairies.
a partially covered stadium with a capacity ~28K would be perfect for TO IMO, with 2K+ luxury seats between boxes/club seats, built ready so it can be expanded to get up to 35K if demand gets there.

Why would Hamilton and Ottawa spend millions of dollars to generate another 400K a season. Look at the debacle in Montreal where they spent 30 million (Wettenhaul only put in 6 million) to add 5000 seats to generate less then a million a year in additional revenues. As far as I know, they have not sold that stadium out once since they blew all of that money

Can't speak for Hamilton, but in Ottawa's case, they want the stadium in use as much as possible, with as many people as possible, in order to help sell commercial and residential space. There's more to it than just living off gate receipts.

I agree I was speaking more to the east teams new stadiums as for the capacity. Montreal has set a good example with a solid plan of supply and demand for tickets. The expansion to 25K from 20K has not hurt their attendance the same are coming as season ticket holders when it was 20K and although they do not sell all 25K they have now an avg attendance of about 23K plus the revenue from the new suites.

Calgary is a different monster all together and now that the Flames own the Stamps we will see some movement on the stadium situation. The ddi complet a big $$$ State of the Art Locker room and training facility for the Dino’s and Stamps.
Taking a cue from Edmonton and Saskatchewan investing in fan expereince stadium upgrades I beleive will be on their way.
I can see the stamps putting some new seating in where needed. Also with the small concourse the Washroom and Concession issue will be answered. I could see them taking a cue from Tim Horton’s field and putting something behind the end zone(s) in the way of an expanded concession and Washroom area with a view of the field to keep fans in the stadium and not in the parking lot at Halftime