CFL Television Blackouts = Incredibly Poor Advertising

It's opening night of the new season, and my team is playing at home, but instead, the CFL decided to blackout the game in my market.
Advertising plays an integral role in the success of any organization. Black outs are a prime example of poor advertising.
The most basic idea in advertising is to advertise to a larger audience. More people will watch CFL football games if more people are allowed to watch them. Black outs do just the opposite: they decrease the number of peole that not only the league, but it's sponsors, are allowed to advertise to.
If the CFL wants to keep its popularity up, why are they denying fans the opportunity to watch their teams play?
It could be argued that if fans want to watch the games, they should buy tickets. This strategy is effective for getting existing fans to buy tickets, but how is it that the CFL plans to attract new fans to the stadiums?
If you were going to buy a car, would you not take it for a test drive to see how well it works? The same idea applies with potential fans of the CFL. Before someone spends their money on football games, more often than not, they will want to see a game on television to see if they enjoy it. The best games for these fans to watch are home games because the games that they would potentially be going to are also home games. Local black outs deny the potential fan a test drive of the CFL.
Advertising is also about maintaining a solid relationship with existing fans. People are more likely to react positively if they are treated positively. Conversely, people are more likely to react negatively if they are treated negatively. The feelings that go through me when a home game that I want to watch is blacked out aren't exactly warm and fuzzy. When these feelings are going through me, I am less inclined to do what the CFL wants me to do because they didn't do what I wanted them to do. If they want me to watch football games, they need to show me football games.
The CFL would receive higher attendance and television ratings simply by eliminating the local black out regulations.

The only markets that I would say it's poor advertising is Saskatchewan, BC, and Montreal. In Saskatchewan many fans live in Saskatoon and smaller commnities which are sometimes 2 or 3 hours away. The same argument holds true in Bc to a lesser extent and Montreal because there's a waiting list for season tickets.

Your argument only holds true for home games, if someone wants to "test drive" a CFL game by watching it on TV, they can watch the away games, problem solved.

This isn't like the NFL, the NHL in Canada because the games aren't guaranteed to be sold out.

To me your argument comes across as a bitter fan who doesn't want to or is too lazy to go pay to see your team play. Get up off your you know what and go down to Commonwealth and support your team.

And please, please add some breaks so it's easier to read than a large blob of text.

The CFL did not decide to blackout the game......The Eskimos decided to black out the game.

The whole purpose is to get people to go to the game and not stay home and watch it on TV

Here is what I find really odd about this.

I live in Toronto. I watched the first game on TSN HD.

Second game, blacked out on TSN HD, but available on regular TSN.

What the heck is up with that? The game was in Edmonton; I'm in Toronto; why is it blacked out here on HD but showing on regular TSN? What the heck is up with that???

Same here Madjack.

The CFL and TSN really knows how to keep the current CFL fans with HD equipment happy.

I guess they want us to watch boxing instead of the games?

The Edmonton game wasn't broadcast in HD at all so to say it was blacked out is incorrect. No sport has all their games broadcast in HD yet, but it is getting better. Enjoy what you can - at least we have a good number of games in HD.

35 of the 50 games from TSN are in HD and most of the CBC's games are in HD

What I don't understand in regards to black outs are why they don't use it as a new source of revenue. I for one happen to live outside the city of Edmonton. I don't attend live games. Either the Oilers or the Eskimos. I do purchase pay per vu for the Oilers though.

I would like to purchase pay per vu for Eskimo Home games. If TSN or CBC are broadcasting to another part of the country anyway don't you simply get the different cable carriers to provide that same feed on a pay per vu channel? Wouldn't that even provide opportunity to someone who doesn't have TSN to watch the game on ppv? I assume everyone takes a cut but wouldn't this be new revenue?

I would gladly pay 20 bucks a game for home games. Even with only 5000 tuning it in look at the extra revenue. Surely those numbers matter to a financially struggling league? I have tried the online webcast, but it is substandard at best because of connection issues. Following that little bitty ball is also a issue.

The CFL needs to be progressive with getting the game out to the people. I have enjoyed what TSN has done with Friday night football. In the last few years I have found myself personally looking forward to catching all the CFL games available. What a exciting league!



Why is it poor marketing in Montreal?
They have sold out the last 70+ home games. What do they stand to gain by blacking out the games. You could not go to the game even if you wanted to.

Lifting blackouts is sensible when games are sold out. Otherwise the blackout is a good way to increase ticket sales for a league dependent on gate revenue. Attendance may decline if all games are free because fans may prefer to stay home and watch television. Unlike the NFL, CFL television revenue is small because audience is mostly limited to Canada. Hard to believe fantasy that lifting blackouts for all games would actually increase revenue?

CFL teams get about 50% of their revenue from ticket sales and about 10% from TV. BC has been blacking out home games in Vancouver over the past few years and season ticket sales have nearly quadrupled in 5 seasons. The blackout only affects a 50km radius, the remainder of the world can watch the game on TV.

Lifting blackouts might increase the TV ratings a few thousand, but that does very little to improve a CFL team's bottom line. The revenue from their TV contract is already set for the next 5 years anyways.

It's fans who buy tickets to see the game are what keeps CFL teams afloat.

CFL PPV? That is dedication to your team for certain, but not prudent.

Games are broadcast on the net free of charge. I live in the States and don't have access to TSN. I watch games when they are on the Altitude network which basically shows the TSN feed.

However for example in the states tonight, no coverage of the MON/WPG game, so I am watching it on the net and it's the TSN broadcast. While the net will be a few seconds behind the live coverage, it might as well be live for me, because I can't see it any other way. :slight_smile:

That's exactly the point I was making ro1313. It's poor advertising if the games were blacked out in Montreal. I tossed BC and Saskatchewan in there because they are provincial teams and theoretically have people driving many hours to attend the games.

Oh “If” they are blacked out.
I thought you meant unless they are blacked out

Aye, since the person who made the complaint lives in Edmonton and has the ability to go to the game I don't see a blackout as poor marketing there.

get your butt to the park!!!
nfl blacks out games that are not sold out as well
why big cities can’t sell out games anyway is beyond me… yes, I’m looking at you TO!

I'm surprised that the Lions are blacking out their games, because when David Braley owned the Ticats one of the first things he did was lift all the blackouts, and attendance broke the 20,000 mark for the first time in a decade.

It's a myth that blackouts increase attendance. During the 70s and 80s the CFL had a gestapo-style blackout policy. Initially it kept people coming out to the park. By the time they finally decided to put a stop to it, attendance league-wide had dwindled to peewee proportions. Part of the reason for this was the country's "minor-league" perception of the CFL, whose broadcasts were comparatively scarce and low-budget, compared to the NFL whose games were televised on major networks in prime time with expensive, flashy graphics.

Blacking out a game may prevent people from staying home and watching the game on TV. But let's face it, most people who decide not to come out to the park, probably won't come out whether the game is on TV or not. Ask anyone who says "I'm not going to the game because it's on TV" whether they would go if it were blacked out. Ask anyone who goes to a blacked out game whether they would stay home if the game were on TV. I've found that when I ask people those questions, most say no.

Lifting a blackout may drop attendance at that game, but it will expose your product to people who may not see it otherwise. That added exposure will increase future ticket sales.

So the team has to ask, what's more important, selling a few more tickets to tonight's game, or having a perpetual fanbase that continues to grow?

And there's one huge issue that hasn't been mentioned: Hamilton and Toronto are within each other's blackout radius. If they both black out all their games, the country's most densely-populated region is deprived of 25% of the CFL schedule. Good luck marketing the league in Ontario then.

big dave, half their games are on the road. that not enough exposure for you?
i couldn’t disagree with you any more
and since the NFL also blackouts games, and they’re No. 1 in ALL OF SPORTS in North America, I tend to think it’s a good idea
bottom line - buy a ticket, see it live

It's a team decision I guess. But very shortsighted in my opinion. I think most people who go to games just want to get out of the house and go and watch some CFL football. Myself, couldn't care less if the game was televised, I'd still go.

Expose your team Edmonton or whoever for jeepers sakes! Stop living in the 50's.

That's the way I work.....a blackout doesn't stop me from going, or make me go to more games.....for me, a single-game outing takes weeks of planning and arrangements.....I only find out the blackout's been lifted hours before the game, and I live hours away from the stadium.....