CFL expansion to CBL: Basketball

Considering the success of the CFL, and how well the CFL understand the Canadian Sports Market, I can’t help but wish the CFL would expand in to another sport, specifically Basketball!

My point is, why re-invent the wheel… I believe the head office of the CFL could act as an umbrella organization governing the business of two leagues. The CFL and the CBL (Canadian Basketball League).

The league could be opposite the CFL. Season starts with preseason games in December following the Grey Cup, and the Championship series/game would take place in May.

The infrastructure already exists. Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, London, Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Saint John, Halifax… All major cities in Canada have at least one venue (thanks to Hockey), and I’m sure they’d all love to put more butts in their seats with more events, such as basketball.

Other Canadian basketball leagues have come and gone, I know, and think its because they just didn’t have that certain je ne sais quoi that the CFL has in spades.

I know the NBL of Canada exists, and I wish them all the luck in the world, but I don’t think they’ll succeed. But I believe the brains behind the CFL could make Professional Basketball work in Canada.


I wouldn't mind seeing this. Used to go watch the Alberta Dusters here in Lethbridge when they played in the old Continental Assn, and they sometimes drew 2500 in a city of about 60,000. But I doubt it would (or even could) succeed. Basketball just isn't popular enough nationwide.

Thanks for the support, but I beg to differ about Basketball's popularity nationwide.

As you and I know, Basketball is huge in Southern Alberta, but its also very popular in Atlantic Canada. I believe that Ontario and Quebec are large enough to support any kind of sport, and Basketball in BC is second only to Hockey. The hard sells would be Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg.

Practically every single high school in Canada has a basketball program for both boys and girls, and so does practically ever college for both men and women, and the same is true for every University (CIS). There's countless rec. leagues in every city and town. There are more Canadians in the NBA than ever before, and even more playing overseas in leagues around the world.

In other words, there are lots of people in Canada who enjoy the game on many different levels.

I hope you're right, I'd like to see this happen. My only experience is in Lethbridge, which now has about 95,000 people and a University with 8,000 enrolment and a new 2500 seat gym and it's rare to see more than 500 - 1000 fans for a fairly decent team. But again, I hope you're right.

Do you mean the NBL? or are you talking about the CFL starting a new pro basketball league called the CBL?

What about soccer and the NASL? The new Hamilton Pan Am stadium is being built for soccer, the new Ottawa stadium is being built for the FIFA Womens soccer and they are getting an NASL team.
Soccer has by far more players in Canada than basketball or hockey. Canadian high school soccer players are getting more scholarships at US colleges. Not too many Canadians playing college basketball.
Seems to me that there is a lot more potential for soccer than basketball. OSEG has realized the potential of having an NASL team to go with the CFL team. Hopefully Hamilton will come on board too and the other CFL cities without teams.
I see a lot more interest and potential in soccer and it can be played on the same field as a CFL team.
The sport has a lot more possibilities for Canadians to play than basketball.

basketball? we doan need no stinkin basketball.

CFL is NA football. Thats all its should be affiliated with.

Sure, why not soccer...

But I still think Basketball is the wave of the future. And there are oodles of Canadians playing NCAA basketball, in fact there's one NCAA school with 10 Canadians on the basketball team. Any guess which school that is? That's right, Simon Fraser University in Burnaby (Vancouver), BC.

Basketball is also easier than other sports to start up, because the venues already exist, and the teams are small (12 players, 3 coaches and a few other on court staff).

A pro basketball league would be relatively easy to create, following the CFL template that is...

Longer, wider courts.
Six players in the starting lineup.
Guards permitted to travel.
1 pt for missed 3-point attempts that hit the rim.
Adriano Belli in short shorts.

I can see it.


Basketball, love it or hate it, will only become bigger and bigger all the time in Canada, very popular with the kids and with immigrants especially the Asian and para-Asian countries and hence a lot of immigrants in this country. I've heard that in a country like Cambodia for example, basketball is the biggest sport or close to biggest, and Canada has a lot of immigrants from this area.

It's a great idea Jens although I think at this point the NBLC would have to be involved since it's already up and running. But something the CFL could definitely look into. Basketball has gyms all over the country all year round in most grade schools, all high schools and colleges and universities and of course able to use arenas as well. It has a lot going for it as well since it doesn't take much equipment to play and you don't have to learn how to skate.

The only change I'd like to see with basketball is the ability to bring your opponent to the ground when they have possession of the ball, but that sort of rule change is unlikely. :wink:

Soccer will be Canada's biggest sport with in the next 10 years with basketball a close second and hockey and football will fall while baseball will fall even more down the charts.

No question jay soccer and basketball are going to get bigger with how Canada is becoming more multicultural with each second. Soccer/football stadiums are being built, arenas for basketball and hockey but baseball is going to have a tough time getting any more significant facilities in Canada especially ones that will get any television exposure. Even the main baseball facility that does get exposure, the Rogers Centre, isn't even a baseball-specific stadium.

Its kind of sad Canada will be more of a soccer/basketball country and not so much hockey.

Yes, sad in a way for those Canadians like you and me that were brought up in a hockey centric culture but that's the way evolution goes. I know Canadians born and bred here, white all the way if you will, that refuse to put their kids in hockey because of the cost and the goonish mentality the game continues to seem to have. But soccer and basketball are games that aren't expensive and don't require ice and learning to skate, they are perfect games for people from warmer climates and the key is participation in sports and recreation for younger people so whatever works I say to keep kids motivated and doesn't require a lot of money. And in terms of facilities, well you will always see universities with a track for track and field so even if they aren't into football much, they will put up some stands like U of T and there you a 5000 facility that can play host to soccer, football, lacrosse track. Baseball doesn't work on a field like this. You won't see them constructing a 5000 seater baseball stadium with all the fencing and that and infield cutouts that make it almost just a baseball field.

Soccer has been the sport of the future for decades.

You don't think it is?

...sure, just another thing to lament about how the americans this and that, let's challenge them yanks, who says the NBA is better than the CBL, etc. etc..... :twisted:


The CFL shouldn't get involved in basketball. I don't know why they would. It's ridiculous. You might as well say "The CFL should get involved in boy bands, because boy bands are the way of the future." Just so we're clear, boy bands ARE the way of the future, but that's another discussion... :wink:

The soccer idea has some merit, but not in the way other posters think. I DON'T think the CFL as a whole should think about starting any soccer teams, but it might be in the best interests of individual CFL teams to own and operate professional soccer teams in other professional soccer leagues (like the NASL)

  1. Makes a much better case for a new stadium when you can argue that it will be multi-sport, used more often, and can bring in national and international events. I predict that you'll see the Calgary Stampeders pursue an NASL team whenever they go to the government for help rebuilding/improving their current stadium.

  2. The teams can make use of the same management infrastructure (tickets, marketing, trainers, etc) and spread those fixed costs

  3. Compared to a football team, soccer teams are cheap to run, equip, and travel.

  4. Open cup competitions allow NASL teams to periodically play MLS teams, which is exciting for the fans and drums up support.

  5. A chance to market both sports outside of each one's traditional demographic, which I imagine don't overlap very much.

Only 2 and 3 (and a slim prayer at 5) would apply to basketball, PLUS it would require the added expense of building an arena, which cost more than football stadiums!

... basketball... psshh.... :wink:

The CBL of Canada is already set in regions of the country where basketball is popular. In the Maritimes are 4 teams and in Ontario there are 3 right now and Ottawa will be joining in 2014. The Quebec franchise has struggled a lot.
The CFL could buy into the CBL of Canada but something would have to be done in concerns of the import rules. Most leagues in other countries Limit the amount of players from outside there country to 2 or 3.
The CBL of Canada requires only 3 Canadians on a team I think and hardly any of them play.
In order for the league to be successful at least a 50 50 split may work similar to the CFL with the US talent so close. Also by bringing in the US talent to play alongside the Canadian Talent it will raise the Level of Play for those on the Canadian National team for basketball.
The Arena they are a plenty in Canada due to Hockey and I like the idea of where they are starting in the Maritimes which has zero pro sports and is popular in Halifax. Also southern Ontario well populates with Carleton being the top team and other OUA schools who have very good programs.
Canadian basketball fans would want to see these college players be drafted into the NBL of Canada and then you would get an audience.
If the CFL could back it creating a partnership of revenue with football and basketball being opposite seasons it could work.

Open Cup
There is such a event this year it will have all 3 Mls teams and Edmonton next year Ottawa will be part of it.

If you look at the Nasl and compare it to the Cfl travel is about the same.