2016 CFL Reboot - How to fix the CFL

I thought with so many negative threads talking about what ails the league, here is the chance to actually provide some constructive ideas that would fix it. If you were given control of the league in 2016 what would you do? Here is my suggestion for a total 2016 CFL reboot:

  1. Schedule: The first thing I would do is move the season up by two weeks. Pre-season would start at the beginning of June, regular season starts mid-June, with the Grey Cup no later than mid November. This would help with weather related issues. With no Women's World Cup or Pan-Am Games there would be no issues with any teams in regards to stadium availability at any point in the season. With Toronto also moving into BMO there will no longer be any issues with their stadium and having to play on Tuesdays. With stadium availability solved the games would be played as follows: In the summer months I would have a Thursday night game, Friday night game, and either double header Saturday or one on Saturday and one on Sunday. In the fall I would eliminate Thursday night. I would move games to Friday, Saturday, and Sundays with one of the days being a double header. I really enjoy the early Sunday morning games from Montreal. Obviously the only other days that would host games are Labour Day Monday and Thanksgiving Monday.

  2. Cost: Right off the bat I would enforce all teams to reduce ticket prices across the board by 10% as a good will gesture to fans. There would be a variety of price points that fairly reflect the seat locations (I have no problem with $150 mid field seats as long as end zone seats are no more than $30 all in). Private suites and club seats can be priced according to the market. Each team must designate a section of their stadium for families and a section for rowdies. Each section will be reduced in price. For the family section it becomes affordable to take a family of four out to a game and build the future fans (2 adult tickets, 2 child tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 pops for $100). A kid under 12 should not pay more than $10 for an average corner or upper deck seat. With cheaper kid tickets adults are more willing to pay a higher price for their own seat and bring their kids. For the rowdies it would be $25 a ticket. The hope is that they would make up the lower price with buying booze and food along with creating an atmosphere in the stadium. The stadiums need to be full. All Eastern teams should be averaging around 25,000 and the Western teams should be pushing for 30,000.

  3. Rules: I'll keep this short as this has been discussed at length and most people share similar opinions. Remove pass interference challenge, tweak the illegal contact on a receiver (10 yard buffer zone, referee discretion, if it's legit call it, if it is inconsequential don't call it), referee discretion on holding calls (if it doesn't impact the play don't fricken call it!!), coaches can call for a measurement but only 2 a game. Coaches can only challenge catches, turnovers, touchdowns, and possession. Referee discretion in regards to objectionable conduct and unnecessary roughness. If it is blatant call it, if it's borderline don't call it. Something has to be done in regards to punts, way to many flags. Overall REDUCE the number of flags whenever possible. Again, If the penalty is legit, blatant, or affects the play call it, if it's borderline DON'T! Let the players dictate the game. Make penalty calls quick and keep the game moving and flowing as fast as possible. This will enhance the product.

  4. Marketing (Players): The players have to be marketed better. More player biographies, stories, interviews, and profiles. Highlight them in commercials and during games. Have them make public appearances. They need to become household names. The league is lacking characters. Say what you want, but when the Stamps had Lewis, Copeland, and Rambo their dancing, celebrations, antics, and swagger got people watching and talking. Create and actually market a trading card set, put their faces on food products, have them endorse products, etc. The key is to retain players to build their recognition factor. This would mean having a slight pay increase. Minimum salary should be $75,000 with a maximum of $600,000. Salary cap should be around $7 million. Whenever possible market the players.

  5. Marketing (League): The CFL needs to reboot its image. It must be the perfect blend of embracing the modern but not forgetting the tradition and history. First create a CFL video game for the love of God. Redesign the league website at all costs. Implement an online internet game streaming system that works. Create a good fantasy football program. Update and promote their Facebook and Twitter account (as much as I hate social media the younger generation loves it). ADVERTISE!! I want to see modern, clever commercials (with players involved) promoting the league. I would also create a 6 issue, monthly CFL magazine that highlights players, teams, stadiums, and league history. Fix the Hall of Fame and celebrate the history whenever possible (looks like they are attempting something in that department). Continue to find good big-name corporate sponsors. Be a little flashy whenever possible but never forget the past. Promote rivalries and build a few more super weekends. We have Labour Day but I would hype Canada Day and Thanksgiving as two additional major weekends where there are rivalry games.

  6. Marketing (Teams): Teams need to start marketing themselves better in their communities. Local commercials, radio and print ads are a must. Promotional days and giveaway's (bobble heads, fan appreciation, $2 hot dogs, etc). Better half-time acts (local bands, junior football, etc). Keep pumping out a cheer team, mascot etc. Promote tailgating or some form of parking lot party. Create an atmosphere so that people want to attend. Build media interest and create public interest. Continue building, enhancing, and upgrading stadiums whenever possible. Get that 10th team as soon as possible (Halifax preferably).

Sorry for the long post. I love the CFL and think it is the greatest league. We have come a long ways from the dark days and the future is looking bright, however, as mentioned there is still room for improvement. So, any other suggestions?

Increase player salaries by 10% across the board but then they must practice 6 hours a day( the NFL has a 12 hour practice day, so it is still more than reasonable.
Set up a time e system that financially rewards and penalizes players for stupid penalties like roughing the passer, blatent no yards , unnecessary roughness, etc. The league received the fine money and then redistributes it to players who don't comit stupid penalties. Fine referees who make in necessary calls and likewise give the money to good refs.
Get a fuckin video game already... Spend 3 or 4 million from the TV money.. Then redo the game for three or four years before redevelopment.. The total cost will be 1 million per season.
Lower ticket prices... The lower PR ces will bring more fans.. You might just make more money out of this.

I agree with most of the points. However I don't like the player profile spots that are being shown on TSN, they interrupt the play, you miss downs. Even sometimes they conduct ad hoc interviews and sometimes big plays are missed. There are enough commercials being shown and sometimes they even shave a down from being viewed, all of a sudden it's a third down punt.

I think, the marketing part is really unfortunate for the CFL, I think there are fewer kids playing football today than say in the 70's. This is in large part due to the concussion controversy. so a lot of parents are shying away there kids from contact football. If football had more popularity with kids, like in hockey, then yes marketing efforts would make more sense.

It's a brutal game sometimes, some rules have been put in place to tame some of the bad hits, those same rules were not there in the pro and minor leagues decades ago. So all football leagues in general have had to put those rules in place. In my opinion it's good and bad. I was a former football player, minor league, and there were no rules to protect you from cheap hits. Then we did not have 300 lb. athletic types that can deliver big hits in those days.

I say lets not have double headers, too much football to consume like an avid fan like myself, with some games approaching four hours.

The going for the CFL is rough one, geographic problems, dwindling attendance in some eastern cities. Who knows what the future will hold.

Make the league amateur where players don't get paid. Pro sports should cease to exist I'm coming to believe. Worst thing that ever happened to sports was when some stupid person started paying someone to run with a football, dunk a basketball, hit a ball of whatever, shoot a rubber hockey puck, kick a ball, run, drive a car etc.
Time to get the Grey Cup back to it's roots, as an amateur event where universities can play for it like it used to be.

Don’t forget sing a song, dance, act in a show or movie, cook a gourmet meal etc.
Good luck with putting that genie back in the bottle

I know East but I can always dream. :wink: But at least in the CFL when you do pay for a ticket you aren't paying towards some player making millions a year. I mean, what the players should do is buy me a ticket to go watch them when they sign those big multiyear multimillion dollar contracts in other leagues. Like I'm going to pay for a ticket for some millionaire athlete when I am worried if I'm going to have enough money to keep my teeth and pay my bills as I am not retired and on a very fixed income. Another reason I won't pay to go to a movie any more, I'll wait until I can rent it from the library or watch it on TV down the road. A lot of those actors and actresses with the big names in movies are grossly overpaid. And I don't pay to watch big music groups play in arenas and stadiums. I go to small places with up and comer bands that charge a very reasonable amount, or under the radar bands.

CFL really doesn't need to be fixed. What matters is that almost all teams are profitable. Afterall, CFL is a business. People forgot how much the league has improved in recent decades.

Agree, for the most part the CFL needs no fixing, if that Lions game was “crap”, then the league doesn’t need fixing at all IMHO from a game aspect.

Yes, it is a business as is any pro sport. Unfortunately.

No… when you buy a CFL ticket you are paying coaches mid six figure incomes and owners million of dollars… The players are the only ones scrapping by.

Well the league goes broke if they start paying the average joe player $500,000 a year. Is that what you want because I'm certain the league folds quicker than you can say goodnight if that were to occur.