Cohon's State of the League Address

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The Canadian Football League is taking on a modern new look featuring new stadiums, a new TV deal and a new expansion franchise as it builds a bright future, says the league’s Commissioner.

“I’m excited about today’s CFL,? Mark Cohon told reporters today at the annual State of the League media conference.

“And I’m even more excited about the CFL we’re building for the future, for the next generation of fans.?

Cohon pointed to a series of important forward looking developments:

•The Saskatchewan Roughriders plan to move into a modern new stadium here in 2017.
•The Hamilton Tiger-Cats move into modern new Tim Hortons Field next year.
•The REDBLACKS begin play in 2014, expanding the league to nine teams.
•Ottawa will also be home next year to a completely refurbished stadium at Lansdowne Park, the jewel in a modern new urban renewal project.
•The Blue Bombers just completed their first season at modern new Investors’ Group Field, on the heels of the compete rebuild of BC Place in Vancouver a few years ago.
•A new five-year multi-platform broadcast deal with TSN and RDS, reached last Spring, kicks in next year.
•Reebok will celebrate a new contract extension with the CFL by introducing stunning new third uniforms in 2014.
“We remain authentic to our core: we belong to our fans, value our traditions, and understand who we are. But the CFL is becoming something more,? Cohon said.

“Strong and united leadership from our board, prudent agreements with our players, sensible salary management, smart partnerships and, most of all, support from our fans, have all provided this league with a solid base. And on it, we’re building something new and even more exciting.?

Cohon said the 2013 season – which culminates this Sunday at 6 pm. with the playing of the 101st Grey Cup game -- has been an important step forward for the business of the league:

•Television ratings continue to grow: CFL ratings on TSN were up 4.3 per cent from a year ago, and ratings on TSN and RDS combined were up 3.6 per cent.
•An average of 703,000 Canadians watched each CFL regular season game on TSN, and 758,000 watched on TSN and RDS combined – the second highest ratings in the history of the CFL.
•An average audience of 1.4 million watched the Eastern Semi-Final, with a peak audience of almost 2.3 million, while an average audience of 1.6 million watched the Western Semi-Final, with a peak audience of 2.4 million.
•About 7.3 million Canadians watched some part of the Divisional Finals on TSN, with the Eastern Final attracting an average audience of 1.7 million (up 21 per cent from last year) and a peak audience of 3.1 million, making it the most watched ever on English-language television, while an average audience of 1.9 million watched the Western Final on TSN (up two per cent from last year), with a peak audience of 2.7 million.
•The CFL is the number one summer sports property on Canadian television, and overall, it garners higher ratings that any other sports property except hockey.
•The CFL enjoyed its most successful year for corporate partnerships ever, with the exception of the year of the 100th Grey Cup, signing new agreements with LOWES, Canadian Pacific, Mark’s Work Wearhouse, Dr. Oetker and Great Western Brewing.
•The latest available numbers, from September, show the league’s merchandising business is up 7 per cent, with apparel up 6 per cent and headwear up 14 per cent, with growth for all teams.
•Our digital footprint continues to grow: we saw increases in mobile app views (51 per cent), @CFL Twitter following (75 per cent), Facebook likes (26 per cent), unique visitors to (16 per cent) , and page views (14 per cent).
•Moncton hosted another successful CFL game there, NAPA Touchdown Atlantic, and the league advised the City of Halifax on stadium considerations, as the CFL continued to explore the possibility of a tenth team in Atlantic Canada.
Cohon, who acknowledged a year ago that the league had work to do in southern Ontario, said television ratings indicate more and more people in the region are following the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Southern Ontario ratings for Argo regular season games were up 27 per cent compared to last season and 52 per cent compared to 2011, while the Tiger-Cats southern Ontario ratings were up 19 per cent compared to last season, and 32 per cent compared to 2011.

Related LinksDivision Finals Score Record Numbers
Yesterday?s Divisional Finals on TSN delivered big audiences. Overall, 7.3 million Canadians watched some part of the 2013 CFL Divisional Finals on TSN. CFL on TSN a ratings winner
101st Grey Cup Centre

This indicates that the Argos’ victory in the 100th Grey Cup game following a wildly successful festival in Toronto did indeed have some spillover effect in 2013, as did strong play by both the Argos and the Ticats, Cohon said.

The Argos’ new five-year lease with the Rogers Centre provides them with a stable base and time to find a new home stadium, and the Tiger-Cats move to new Tim Hortons Field next year, gives both teams an opportunity to launch exciting new eras, he added.

“While there is much more to do, we are making important strides in Canada’s most powerful and most populous market, “ Cohon said.

Average attendance for a regular season CFL game this year was 28,963, an increase of 1.5 per cent over last year, if you do not include home games for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who played at the University of Guelph while their new stadium, Tim Hortons Field, is being built in Hamilton.

Guelph’s Alumni Stadium had a capacity of 13,000, less than half the size of the team’s previous home at Ivor Wynne Stadium. If you include attendance numbers from Guelph, the per game average attendance was 27.017, down 4 per cent from last year.

Cohon said player health and safety, and particularly concussion awareness, prevention and treatment, is paramount for the league, which will seek a new collective bargaining agreement with its players in 2014.

An exciting 2013 season on the field featured:

•The emergence of promising young quarterbacks including Zach Collaros, Bo Levi Mitchell and Thomas DeMarco, the rushing duel between Jon Cornish and Kory Sheets and several standout defensive performances from players such as Chip Cox and Charleston Hughes.
•Records set for most rush yards by a Canadian (Jon Cornish), most yards from scrimmage by a Canadian (Jon Cornish), most consecutive field goals made and highest field goal percentage (Rene Paredes), and highest pass completion percentage and highest pass efficiency (Ricky Ray).
•The deciding points scored in the final three minutes in almost half of all regular season games, and comeback wins featured in more than half of all regular season games.

•Reebok will celebrate a new contract extension with the CFL by introducing stunning new third uniforms in 2014.
i'm glad to hear Reebok has re-upped with the league, as they've done a great job on uniforms, for the most part, during their partnership with the league.

during the live address, cohon mentioned the third jerseys will be in line with the lion's gun-metal black uniforms, in an effort to appeal to younger fans. so, expect some non-traditional designs.

i really hope a complete overhaul of the stampeder's uniforms are a part of this deal, as the stamps have the ugliest uniforms in the CFL, IMO. they need to drop the black from their colour scheme as to distingush themselves from the RedBlacks. black is not a traditional stampeder colour.
go back to the retro 70's uniforms from a few seasons ago, but permanently.

Oh, no.

Agree 100%.

NOT BAD!!!!! :thup: :rockin: :cowboy:

"The business model of our league is getting stronger," said Cohon. "We are focused on building a bright future for this league."

The addition of the Ottawa RedBlacks next season will bring the league's total of teams to nine and, with the current financial climate of the league, could open the possibility of further expansion into Atlantic Canada and a 10th team.

"It was a pipe dream years ago but now that we are building a strong base, we can engage in those conversations."

One of Sunday's Grey Cup teams, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be moving into a new stadium next season and the league is committed to having them host the title game at some point, though an exact year has yet to be decided.

"We want to bring the Grey Cup back to Hamilton and in the new year, we are going to sit down with the board of governors to talk about the rotation. We are definitely bringing the Grey Cup back to Hamilton, I just don't want to put a timeline on it."

The Toronto Argonauts will be looking for a new place to play when their lease expires at Rogers Centre and one of the rumoured landing spots for the franchise is BMO Field, the current home of Major League Soccer franchise, Toronto FC.

Cohon believes there are lots of opportunities around the city and they will be able to find a place somewhere in Toronto for the Argos to call home.

"There is interest at BMO Field," said Cohon. I wouldn't put a line in the sand and say they have to be downtown but it would be great if that came to fruition."

One of the ways the CFL has attempted to improve the health of their players has been to increase the punishment levied on illegal hits, a system the commissioner believes is working.

"I'm confident in our relationship with the CFLPA when it comes to player discipline. The fines that we give are quite significant and I think it does change player behavior."

The number of concussions reported around the league this season was reduced by one from 43 in 2012 to 42 this season. The league is also working at the grassroots level to ensure that the players of the future are instructed in a better way to play the game.

"We want to make sure that kids are learning how to tackle properly. Player safety in our league is mission critical," he added.

This season, the league also produced a video that showed examples of hits that are dangerous and would be subject to fines.

"We are constantly focused on making the game safer for our players."

While there is a lot of interest in the information, Cohon believes that it is important for the dispersal draft lists for the upcoming expansion draft to be kept confidential.

"We need to protect the relationship between the players and the coaches. My job is to protect the integrity of the game."

the whole 40 min video is now up on or the moible app.

AGAIN , not bad... :wink: :lol: :twisted:

Not to turn this into a uniform debate, but there are a couple of ‘no brainers.’ Like drummer_god mentions, the Stamps’ traditional red and white should replace the current red and black look and, while we’re at it, the Bombers should return to their 80’s look, PERMANENTLY.

Not bad at all.

As I have said a million times (posters will have to forgive me), we are miles ahead of where we were 20 years ago. And in 20 years, where we are today will be nothing but a distant memory. This league is on a permanent upswing. Will there be (slight) down years? Of course. But, the trajectory is pointing upward and within 5 years, all teams will be profitable. Within 10+ years, all 10 teams will break even from just the TSN contract.

It is a good time to be a CFL fan. Go Ticats. Go CFL.

i fully believe the timeless classic uniform designs should be the regular and most often worn uniforms, while the 3rd jersey is a chance to get a little edgier in design and appeal to younger or more stylish fans ( example, the rider's and bomber's 2012 uniforms as 3rd uniforms while the pictured riders' and bomber's uniforms used more full time).

much like the montreal canadiens don't mess with their design, the argos, als, riders, etc should stick with a classic look as well.

Agree with that 100%.

It's the large oversize numbers that for me with the strange font does not work.

I agree but we seem to be in a minority. I'm a little worried about what kind of jersey Ottawa might end up with in light of their choice of name.

I'm not sure we are in the minority. You'd have to see how jersey sales are broken down by classic look vs flashy look.
Flashy look still has a place, but as a 3rd jersey.

I'd love to have access to that data.

What I find odd about it is that the only people I've ever seen wear so-called "throwback" merchandise were about mid-30's or younger in age. Hardly a scientific measure, I know, but still...

I think the perception that flash is required for a younger crowd might be overblown. But perhaps the throwback is only popular as a novelty and if it were the main uniform it wouldn't be any more popular.

As a Ti-Cat fan, I'll be the first to agree I don't like seeing the Stamps in black, espcially with Black Helmets or mainly Black jersey's. The primary Colors for the Stamps are Red and White with touches of Black.

Which brings me to my next point, there is a history of the Stamps wearing Black. The flawless 1948 Stampeders wore jerseys with white and black stripes on the shoulders, so there is precident. However, with Ottawa back in the league, the Stamps really should shy away from Black.

Commissioner Cohon has been great for this league, revenues are up, teams are stable, no doomsday crisis', etc.

Still a lot of work to do, but IMO the league is heading into a bright future.

Things the league needs to do going forward........... at least IMO

  1. The Toronto problem needs to get fixed and find a new home for the Argos.

  2. Work with Corporate Canada as well as the Canadian media to figure out what needs to be done to get more support. I honestly believe the only thing that is holding back the league from exploding in popularity has been the perception of the CFL in the media and general public, as well as Corporate Canada going all out for the NHL and leaving less distribution for the CFL, NLL, CHL etc. IMO the next tv deal needs to involve at least 1 OTA network (CBC, Global, CTV, Citytv).

  3. Expansion - I dislike using the word need, but IMO it's getting to the point where the CFL needs to get that elusive 10th Canadian team, right now I'd put Halifax as the front runner, due to Moncton losing a lot of steam with the Touchdown Atlantic series, and Quebec seemingly more concerned with the NHL comeback and obviously Halifax Mayor Savage. The league needs to continue to grow and reach everywhere in Canada, getting Atlantic Canada more interested in the CFL and Canadian football.

  4. Grassroots - I'd love to see two things come out of this, 1. A new program introduced, where we see Canadian football fields built all over Canada, so each team would build 3-5 in their region each year and the League itself taking care of the untouched regions. 2. Football camps for kids/teens, kind of like TC to teach kids about the game, things they should be focusing on, and development. Each CFL team's practice facility should be an Epicenter of football within there region, with more focus on growing and developing the youth talent pool.

  5. A CFL video game and a League involved fantasy league. I'm of an opinion that video games and fantasy league are a big reason for the growth of sports South of the border, gambling an obvious reason as well. Without question the league will grow from interest and fans given more exposure to the league/game with these things in place.

:thup: :thup:

Sounds like lots of good news.

Someone should ask the Australians how to make expansion work. When I was there in 1981 the major league was pretty much confined to one state, Victoria; it was even called the VFL. Now it's the Australian Football League and it's all over the country. Hey TicatsAustralia, how did they do it?