Actual suggestions on how to improve CFL attendance/ratings

There has been a lot of talk about the number of games, attendance, TV ratings, etc in a lot of other threads. A lot of people have different opinion on what is working and what isn't. Some have given positive suggestions and ideas while others simply are spouting off garbage with nothing to add. The purpose of this thread is to provide suggestions and ideas of what you feel will help improve the league as a whole with attendance and TV ratings. Here is my eight step guide to creating sell outs in every city league wide while still maintaining a profit (This is not fact but only something I think in theory could work).

  1. New/renovated stadiums: This is already starting to happen and is a huge first step. With newly renovated stadiums in BC, Montreal, and Edmonton along with brand new stadiums in Winnipeg, Hamilton, Ottawa, and Saskatchewan, it only leaves Toronto and Calgary to get on board (Toronto at least seems to be planning something). New stadiums give a positive impression to casual fans and potential fans. They look better on TV for potential viewers, provide much more revenue streams (luxury boxes, team shops, food, etc.) to the owners, and more comforts and amenities for attending fans. They will also help attract better players which in theory should equal a better game. Once every team has a modern stadium things should start to roll.

  2. Ticket prices: I noticed some teams seem to have wacky ticket structures. While some teams (Sask) seem to be able to charge whatever they want and sell out, other teams need to re-evaluate. BC, Toronto, and even Winnipeg's end zones need to be examined. Tickets should be reduced in less popular sections. Ticket prices can't be devalued, but if there are empty seats in the end zones or upper decks, why not slash prices. Promotions MUST be done. Casual fans love freebies, discounts, and special deals. Why not have a pack the park night in Toronto with all 500 level seats $10? The hardcore fans who want the best seats will pay higher prices for the seats, it's the casual fans we need to attract and convert to hardcore. A few games of $10-20 might do that. Worth a try at least. Each team needs to seriously re-examine their price structure either way. Many fans are being priced out.

  3. Advertisement: Teams need to do a better job advertising their product both locally and nationally. A few newspaper adds won't cut it. They need to get on the radio and TV more often. Perhaps the league as a whole should set aside money for team and league advertisements on multiple channels, not just the sport channels. While this may cost money, the long term benefits should recover those dollars. The CFL also needs to ramp up their social media presense (as much as I personally hate it) to attract younger fans. Ads should focus on rivalries, history, atmosphere, and the great game itself. The CFL has had some great marketing moments (Our balls are bigger, this is our league (that commercial was phenominal)) but they didn't push it enough. Players continuing to visit schools is huge. A video game also must be created!

  4. Game Day atmosphere: Each team has some pretty good things going but more needs to be done, especially in certain markets. With only 9 home games, each game MUST be a can't miss event. I would start with tailgaiting at EVERY stadium. Whether it be a parking lot, field, temporary road closure, tent, it has to be done. It also needs to be advertised. While some tailgaiting has developed organically and is successful (Calgary), other teams need to cultivate it from scratch and organize it themselves. I know there are laws in different cities, but attempt to get the liquor license. If booze is a no go then make it strictly a Pop and burger tailgate! Drink in the stadium! There needs to be flags, banners, marching bands, games, players all walking around the outside of the stadium. Food trucks and even buskers enhance the experience (team operated food trucks to gain the revenue). A pre game festival atmosphere needs to be developed so that passing cars and people take note and might want to attend or at least investigate what is going on. Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd! Advertise this atmosphere! Traditions need to be developed and maintained (watermelon heads!!).

  5. In game atmosphere: I can only speak on behalf of Stampeder games, but their half time shows are usually terrible. Hot dog eating contest? Get a local band or marching band, mascot football or peewee football. Throwing mini footballs after TD's, chants, commercial break on field games (interesting games), give aways, special guests, pyrotechnics. Little things add up, especially to casual part time fans. Make them want to come back. Classy promotions that don't devalue or cheapen the product go a long way.

  6. Star power: While this one does not affect me, some fans happen to be sheep. A celebrity or two caught in the stands may portray the league as 'cool' or big league to some people. Perhaps inviting some special guests and celebrities to take in a game or endorse the league may be beneficial. Hardcore fans don't give a rats behind, but some impressionable folks may buy in.

  7. Brand building: The Riders have this mastered. Other teams need to build up their brand. Get the logos out there! Teams can't be satisfied with just hats, shirts, and water bottles. Anything that can have a logo on it should! Promote the history and rivalries of the team.

8) Hardcore fans need to step up: I will credit soccer for one thing, their hardcore fanbase or 'ultras'. Now I don't agree with their backdoor politics of trying to run the team or hooliganism in some European places, but their enthusiasm at a game is infectious. Have a section where hardcore fans can gather (like the Box J boys in Hamilton but bigger). This adds to the energy in the stadium and sounds good on TV.

The CFL is the best game and league in the world! Continuing to improve the officiating, rules, and players will only enhance the game. While a lot of the teams do many of the above, I think there is always room to improve. I think the game sells itself, but perhaps implementing some of the strategies may give it the kick start it needs. I'm done rambling!

Its already the most watched sporting event of the year most times in Canada, and definitely best out NFL's regular season numbers.

I think attendance will start trending upwards like it was before Ottawa left. New stadiums all around, there's no stadium to laugh at anymore except maybe Rogers Centre which as bad as it is sure isn't the old Lansdowne Park of 2005, or Ivor Wynne, or Canad Inns which have both since and are being replaced as we speak.

The only place left really would be Calgary I think as Saskatchewan is going to build their's. Of course a 10th team in Halifax will make things even more interesting and help those numbers more.

The biggest thing the Riders have done was take on their own merchandising. There is one other team that does this, I don't recall which for sure at the moment, but I believe it is BC. Shivers made this step when he was in Regina, and the club has not looked back. I don't know why a club wouldn't want to take this on. The league could help promote this by slashing the revenue sharing on merchendise sales IF a club managed it in-house. These 2 clubs still have to pony up the same as everyone else. There is no way around it, when you manage your own marketing, you are genererally going to hit home with your market better.

The thing with slashing ticket prices is many time it does not end up working well the betetr thing is to tarp off those areas making stadiums smaller make that means the Rc has a cap of 18,0000 for football.

Stop scheduling games on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

tell that to Rogers Corp.

and in full agreement BM.

Fans need to stop making excuses, games are no good on a Tuesday in Toronto, or the holiday Monday in BC , even though it was in the evening and not a big deal to leave a few hours earlier to make the game, the wknd is over :roll: . Just go to the games. Anybody can make a excuse for any day of the week, for not going. The schedule comes out month's in advance, it's 10 or 11 dates at the most, figure it out !

Tell it to the CFL. If the league would make it's schedule in advance like every other pro league they would have a better chance of avoiding these situations. The Argo/Ti Cat Labour Day situation may not have been avoidable as Rogers and the Jays had no expectation the Argos would want a game that weekend, however, there is a rematch in Toronto every year, Rogers knows that, but because the league dragged it's feet on their schedule they don't get it this year because an event got there first.

The CFL made the mistake of not scheduling a Labour Day game between the Argos and Ti cats 2 years ago and fans were vocally upset, yet they made the same mistake this year. If they did their job in a timely fashion there would be no need for Tuesday night games.

Months in advance for every other major league, but less than 3 months for the CFL. The schedulers are as compitent as the video review officials. Maybe it's the same people. :wink:

the CFL knows that it's not the Most important league in the list so it has to wait for MLB (which schedules it's games WAY ahead of the CFL) and there are other things too that get in the way.

Blackouts are the way to improve attendance

There's no easy way to do it, but to fix southern Ontario, you need to break the mindset that the CFL is bush league and the NFL is king Gorilla. TSN has done a good job of presenting a professional product and marketting the league, despite the efforts of Rogers to do the exact opposite. The only way I can think to do that is expose the people in Ontario to more of the fanatical following the league has in the West and link the league to our own sense of patriotism.

I brought this up when the schedule first came out. I’m not suggesting the Argos could get everything they want if the league made their schedule earlier, but it would help and in situations they had to compromise, give them more time to find a good alternative. Like one that doesn’t include Tuesday night games.

The Tuesday night game was an exception, but I still don't know what the big deal was. Do the Bluejays have games on Tuesday? I haven't checked, but probably.

I've said it before, bring back the designated or marquee player. That will bump up attendance and ratings.

Agreed! New stadium for the boatmen will help out with that one.

They are serious about staying within the salary cap so that could be difficult. How about allowing 1-2 imports to be classified as non imports if they have been with a team for a specified period of time. Somewhere between 5 and 7 consecutive years with the same team and they can be called non imports until they leave that team.

F**K NO!

That was exactly the kind of marketing that nearly killed the league in the early 90s. The cheap shiny object ahead of the real quality product. People came for the novelty once or twice, then said, 'now what?' and stayed home. As soon as the league made a concerted effort to change their marketing to quality football and quality product, elevating the value of the CFL brand rather than cheapening it, they've never had to look back.

I think the league could do more to market its players, but NEVER EVER market your players above your brand or your game or even your teams. Players come and go (especially in the CFL), your game will be here forever.

And I won't even mention the stupidity the marquee player exemption carries in regards to the salary cap.

sure...in Toronto. On the flip side when they did that the rest of the teams had to bail that paycheck out and it alienated a lot of fans. I know I for one would not be as supportive of the CFL if it took this step, and it sounds like others here are on the same page.

in-house marketing + continued CFL branding.

Marquee player , equals desperate ontario teams , throwing money they don't have, at players that are past their prime and then going broke .

A way to get the TV ratings up would be to get rid of Rod Black and Duane Forde. Unfortunately I'm not kidding about that.