CFL Expansion to 10+ teams (within Canada)

Then commissioner Larry Smith was more behind the team ending up in Montreal than anything else but the opportunity was there. The losses were not much better as the league had to beg the Wettenhal family to buy in a year after they returned.

I will agree there wasn't any long term places in the US to go. Any city that lost their team like Cleveland and Houston would have had the same fate as the Stallions once the NFL returned

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The CFL was officially named on January 19, 1958, upon the merger between the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union or "Big Four" (founded in 1907) and the Western Interprovincial Football Union (founded in 1936).

Sask. Est 1910 (Pop. 30k)
Wpg. Est 1930. (Pop. 215k)
Cgy. Est 1945. (Pop. 97k)
Edm. Est 1949. (Pop. 137k)
BC. (Vancouver) Est 1954. ( Pop. 581k)

All prior too 1958. Times have changed, so has people's priority.


NHL has 7 Canadian teams, NBA 1, NFL 0.

It'd be easier for them to expand in Canada then it would be for the CFL to expand further in a market they've already tapped dry.

I'd love to see a 10th team as much as anybody but I won't pretend to understand whether its financially feasable or not.

The one thing that gives me continued hope is that Winnipeg+Saskatchewan lead the CFL in fan attendance/fan interest/fan support. These arent the 2 locations with the highest population, they're successful because they have a fan base who are passionate about their team. They support them in good seasons and bad.

If the CFL is gonna expand they don't need to go to a location with a high population, but a location with a fan base that will passionately embrace their team, even if its a location with a smaller population


Bottom line... the CFL is already in every possible market that they can exist in. Anyone who thinks London or Quebec City are viable are really not being realistic. IMO an Atlantic team that all Atlantic provinces can get behind is the only possible 10th team. They could even play exhibition games in NL or PEI, which would be amazing.


QC with the Montreal rivalry and the Maritimes which could have two teams with one in NB and one in NS is the best bet to get maybe a bump of 150 to 200 k or even more in ratings for some games make it such an easy lay up for media rights gains in Canada .

The CFL has to get into the infrastructure game within reasonable aspirations and they may finally find the stability they have desired for so long .

I looked again at Saputo Stadium in Montreal and I see no reason why this set up is not being used to get needed venues for smaller start up budgets . There are others as well that are more than adequate for a CFL start up .

The CFL 's best interest when it comes to auxillary revenue is beyond seat sales it must come from a marketing stand point of national cobranding coast to coast and regional cobranding .

It's vertical integration with Bell media would have helped but they don't like using their platform with the CFL like they do with the NFL .

Blue Jays: TV ratings remain strong as losses mount

Vertical integration with Sportsnet means Rogers wins even when the Blue Jays lose.


I wonder if the best chance for expansion is for the league to downsize in scope. By that I mean cut salaries and operating costs and function more like the AHL than NHL-Lite. Having attended AHL games in Hershey, PA and Wilkes-Barre in the past, those markets were came out in droves and supported their team. Making the CFL sustainable with crowds of 12-15k may be the best way forward for its long term survival.


They have completely taken away the 25 k minimum away with all the east teams below that in stadium capacity .

Right now I would reckon they have brought the 25 k down to 20 k .

Ottawa stadium is being reduced they must know there is something in the works .

I can see a 18 k stadium with 2 k standing room being viable for the CFL today .

Now I would not compare it to the AHL unless the AHL can get large media rights deals domestically .

The CFL just needs to look visually better on TV when Toronto is playing and I would add others but Toronto is such a negative for attracting new fans or casuals .

The CFL is better having packed smaller stadiums than large venues with terrible atmosphere .


Expansion via contraction?

I sincerely hope that this never happens. Living in Winnipeg with a beautiful stadium and significant crowds I am not interested in regressing to the point of a minor league. Let’s get rid of Toronto long before that happens.

If that were to happen in the East, and I think you are talking East here, I would no longer be interested in the CFL. Winnipeg and Saskatchewan would then be better off joining an American League rather than supporting an Eastern based Canadian house league. US expansion would be infinitely preferable to the scenario you suggest on all levels. Let’s hope we never see apathy in the East to the extent this could be seriously considered.


That's also the main reason they temporarily existed ("succeeded") was due to the want of their NFL team.

This is the direction the league has been going in by instituting players and football operations caps. And now revenue sharing as well. The hope, I'm sure, is to also increase revenues (i.e., through gambling and Genius Sports' involvement). If that can work so that, say, 15,000 tickets sold per game can be break even or better, then it would sure make expansion easier.

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False. Baltimore did not “go bankrupt”
And all of the Canadian teams not based in Alberta were in the same financial position at the time.Tthe difference is that some entity up here cared enough to keep bankrolling those losses for Canadian clubs in that era where no such desire existed south of the border.
In fact the entire league was bankrupt and depended on a large advance from their TV partner to stay afloat. Again that didn’t exist down south.

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Baltimore was losing money to the extent the owners decided to throw in the towel and move the franchise to Canada.

The Canadian franchises were indeed in dire straits as well. But as you point out, they were a valuable enough commodity to secure funding to continue, which was not the case for the failing US franchises.

Well tell them to get off their rumps and build a stadium, the cfl can’t wait for them forever. If you snooze you lose. Come on halifax get with it. What’s a few dollars for entertainment, and for you kids to play their high school football in a stadium that will encourage them to take the sport up. Juniors and university can use the stadium to. Along with concerts , truck and tractor pulls car shows and all that stuff, theirs more use for a stadium than simply cfl football. And you will even create jobs for people running and cleaning the stadium while it’s in use. Win win win all around. You can’t go wrong with this, look at all the cities with stadiums.


Where exactly can the CFL expand to other than the far north of the U.S.?

Everywhere else in Canada with the exception of the Atlantic "believe it when we see it" Schooners either doesn't seem to have the interest (Quebec City for example) or would only serve to split an existing fanbase.

Take Saskatchewan - their attendance is around 28,000 which is great.

Now imagine you "grow" the league by having Regina and Saskatoon as separate teams, both of whom are now only drawing 14,000 fans each - things suddenly don't look so good.

Even worse, B.C. gets spun off into the "Vancouver Lions" and "Kamloops Kanucks" (you can tell marketing is not my strong point). Now B.C. this season as the sole provincial team is getting roughly 18,000, so what happens if that gate is split?

Two teams struggling on 9-10k crowds, or even worse, Vancouver retaining the interest and nobody bothering with Kamloops so the attendance split is more like 15k vs. 5,000? That will REALLY look good on TV.

As for cutting salaries as @laxtreme56 suggests, there will end up being a tipping point where salaries drop too low and then all the CFL's issues will hit like a perfect storm.

Do you really think the Likes of Bo Levi Mitchell or Trevor Harris would stay long-term in Canada if they knew their salaries would max out at $150,000 rather than $550,000?

Do American players at other positions move north for salaries that never go beyond five figures, or do you somehow hope that a glut of USports and Junior players fill the gap and the standard of play somehow doesn't drop?

Does Nathan Rourke (for example) even bother with pro football at all if, assuming his NFL dream DOESN'T happen, he is stuck making 80-90k as a starting QB no matter how good he is instead of playing himself into a massive (by CFL standards) contract. Look at Andrew Buckley for a recent example - he will likely make way more as "Dr. Buckley" than he could have ever done as "Backup QB Buckley".


I think we may already be there.

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I don't see a team in Kamloops hurting the attendance at BC Lions games. I don't think very many fans make that drive on a regular basis. However, add a home game against Kamloops on the schedule and the Lions' attendance for that game will likely show a nice spike, just like Calgary-Edmonton, Hamilton-Toronto, and Montreal-Ottawa (all of which are closer than Vancouver and Kamloops).

The problem would be finding 15,000+ fans to buy tickets in Kamloops.

But that's the same problem we'd see in any US market.


Doman was asked about a second team in BC anywhere and he just can’t see it. The population bases are just not there.


Understandable. I'd like to see some neutral site games with the Lions playing in Victoria and Kelowna. It might not set the table for expansion there, but it could grow local interest in the Lions and the league. And if the response is overwhelming, then maybe some local ownership group will explore expansion with Doman's blessing.

Not sure if you live out here or not Dave, but that question has come up and what I can remember Doman is certainly open to that idea. My own opinion, since the Lions train in Kamloops I would like to see temp seating go in for either one pre season game or a league game each year. Something like the banjo bowl how about a (?) bowl game between Calgary and Lions in Kamloops each year.

Baltimore left because the NFL came to town. Even then, they were tried to make a go of it but it was a fruitless effort as sponsors and broadcast partners dropped them like a hot potato.

There was no value in Canadian franchises other than 2 franchises. It was a charity case, and luckily for them probably nostalgia kept some well heeled people and groups writing cheques

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