Expansion

Yes, I've created another thread on expansion. :twisted: Let the groaning commence. :smiley:

Let me first say that I've read through enough of the threads here to see that most of you are fed up with talk of expansion (particularly to the US), but what I've read has led me to come up with more variations on the idea to throw around.

I should also note that I am an American fan (Baltimore area) and very much enjoyed the CFL and the Stallions while they were here.

I am happy to read that attendance figures have gone up recently in the East (Toronto and Hamilton) and I'm hoping the CFL is able to expand to a healthy 10 to 12 Canadian team league (from among Ottawa, Halifax, Quebec City, Windsor, and London).

I've read posts from those who think the league could be successful in northern US states, which I agree with. Unfortunately, you need a big enough population, so a lot of the northernmost states out west are out of the question. However, I think there could be enough support for an American conference or rival American league (say, the "American Canadian Football League") that the CFL could arrange games and championships with (through which you generate interest in Canadian football, in general). This would obviously be down the road and would have to be done correctly. You'd need strong owners and proper stadiums. I understand stadium problems were at least a good part of the reason the Sacramento Gold Miners gave up and moved to San Antonio. I know a lot of you see issues with the import rule as it applies to US teams. I'm not sure of the right answer with regards to the import rule, but perhaps something could be worked out.

I think there should be at least 8 US teams, and perhaps as many as 12 right off the bat. A larger US TV network deal (even if it on something like CW (which essentially replaced WB & UPN)) should be worked out to help finance the addition of the American teams (e.g., stadium upgrades or new stadiums), and the entire CFL, in general. Since it sounds like getting 30,000 average fan attendance makes for a healthy CFL franchise, I would suggest limiting stadium capacity in the smaller markets to somewhere around that number (at least for starting off).

Here's a possible 12 team division arrangement:

West (Rocky Mountain) Division

Boise Behemoths (Boise, ID)
Great Salt Lake Effect (Salt Lake City, UT)
Portland Wave (Portland, OR)
Spokane Summit (Spokane, WA)

Central (Great Lakes) Division

Columbus Discovery (Columbus, OH)
Milwaukee Buzz (Milwaukee, WI)
Toledo Express (Toledo, OH)
Western Michigan Machine (Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, MI)

East Division

Albany Empire (Albany, NY)
Hartford Rebellion (Hartford, CT)
Harrisburg Hunters (Harrisburg, PA)
Maine Reason (Portland, ME)

I think it is important to have a few teams clustered together to help generate regional rivalries. Some markets are on the small end, but the CFL would be the only pro game in town. Boise and Spokane are small markets out west, but both are growing fairly rapidly. The Great Lakes area markets aren't growing much (with the auto industry declining), but they are big enough I think to support a CFL team. Harrisburg is somewhat small on its own, but can be seen as part of a larger region (Lancaster, York) which drives up its TV market. (Plus, Harrisburg is close enough to Baltimore that I could easily drive up to catch some CFL games. :wink: )

I see the US schedule (18 games for 12 teams) going something like home-and-away against your division (6 games), 4 games against another US division, 4 games against a Canadian division, and 4 games against teams from the remaining US and Canadian divisions based on prior season finishing position (random seeding in the inaugural season).

Some population/market numbers:

Boise - #89 US Metro Area (544,201); #118 TV Market
Portland (OR) - #25 Metro (2,095,861); #23 TV
Salt Lake City - #51 Metro (1,034,484); #35 TV
Spokane - #108 Metro (440,706); #77 TV
Columbus - #33 Metro (1,708,625); #32 TV
Grand Rapids - #66 Metro (771,185); #39 TV
[nearby Kalamazoo - #146 Metro (319,348)]
Milwaukee - #38 Metro (1,512,855); #34 TV
Toledo - #78 Metro (656,696); #71 TV
Albany - #58 Metro (848,879); #56 TV
Hartford - #45 Metro (1,188,241); #28 TV
Harrisburg - #95 Metro (521,812); #41 TV
[nearby Lancaster, PA - #100 Metro (490,562)
& York, PA - #117 (408,801)]
Portland (ME) - #97 Metro (514,227); #74 TV

Other possibilities include:

Anchorage, AK - #139 Metro (351,049); #154 TV
(Anchorage Malamuts)
Akron, OH - #70 Metro (702,235); #17 TV (Cle.)
[nearby Canton, OH - #116 Metro (409,996)]
(Canton-Akron Bulldogs)
Dayton, OH - #60 Metro (843,577); #58 TV
(Dayton Demons)
Flint, MI - #107 Metro (443,883); #66 TV
[nearby Saginaw, MI - #198 Metro (208,356)]
(Saginaw Bay Boatmen)
Youngstown, OH - #83 Metro (593,168); #103 TV
Rochester, NY - #50 Metro (1,039,028); #78 TV
(Rochester Jeffersons)
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA - #87 Metro (550,546); #53 TV
(Pocono Pride)

Ok, I'll bite at this quickly. I think a lot of CFL fans would rather stay away from US expansion now even though it could result in more revenue generation and viable franchises, for a variety of reasons. I'll just leave it at that.
But appreciate your post Geoff, always more food for thought, which is a good thing!

I would agree, although it could be good, it could flop like that last one did.
Keeping it more in the Northern States is a good idea also.

Although i would expect at least 2 more Canadain teams before an going south is even brought up. Getting Ottawa and Halifax a team should be number 1,2.

........and QC would be 3

I appreciate the obvious thought that you've given to the question, it's apparent that you are a real fan. I hope that we can get our league in order and then perhaps give expansion a go. It would be exciting to crush a US champ in a Grey Cup.

....and Windsor could be 4.

Names?

Ottawa Renegades
Atlantic Schooners
Quebec City Chevaliers
Windsor Wheels

If the CFL were to grow to 12 Canadian teams, do you want to see them stay with two divisions or go to a three division format?

Two divisions:

West:

B.C. Lions
Calgary Stampeders
Edmonton Eskimos
Saskatchewan Roughriders
Windsor Wheels
Winnipeg Blue Bombers

East:

Atlantic Schooners
Hamilton Tiger-cats
Montreal Alouettes
Ottawa Renegades
Quebec City Chevaliers
Toronto Argonauts

Three divisions:

West:

B.C. Lions
Calgary Stampeders
Edmonton Eskimos
Saskatchewan Roughriders

Central:

Hamilton Tiger-cats
Toronto Argonauts
Windsor Wheels
Winnipeg Blue Bombers

East:

Atlantic Schooners
Montreal Alouettes
Ottawa Renegades
Quebec City Chevaliers

If the CFL were to grow to 12 Canadian teams, do you want to see them stay with two divisions or go to a three division format?
I would say either a two division or possibly a four division (as stupid as that might be) just because the playoffs could get to be really complicated. That, and it's better to have a grey cup with a west champ and an east champ, not have east on the side watching as central and west duke it out. I'd prefer two divisions until there are enough teams to make four distinct divisions.

i'd like either:
2 divisions of 6
or
4 divisions of 3 - top 2 teams in each division make the playoffs....BC would play calgary and edmonton 3 times each( once at the season start,middle and end ) , sask winnipeg and thunderbay 2ice each and all the east teams once each( making the grey cup more interesting, as the teams have only met once all season )..total:18 games.

example:
Pacific___Central________S.East_______Atlantic

BC_________Sask__________Hamilton____Montreal
Calgary____Winnipeg______Toronto_____QC
Edmonton___Thunderbay?___Ottawa______Halifax

1st playoff rd:
BC vs Calgary
Sask vs Winnipeg
Hamilton vs Toronto
Montreal vs QC

this would give more playoff home dates to teams ( 1st in conference -BC-would get 2 home playoff games ,if they win the first game, and Sask would get a home game as well, in my example ), thus more money...plus more playoff games for us to enjoy :wink:

i dont like the idea of winning ONE playoff game and your in the grey cup ( division winners )

Fair enough on the East vs. West thing (though with the Bombers switching division so often it seems a bit blurred to me).

The three division playoff arrangement shouldn't be that confusing. You'd probably have 6 playoff teams (3 division champs and 3 wild cards). Seed the division champs 1, 2, and 3 based on records, then the wild cards 4, 5, and 6. Seeds 1 and 2 get first round byes. Worst wild card (#6 seed) plays at worst division champ (#3). Best wild card (#4) hosts second-best wild card (#5). Next round, the #1 seed hosts the lowest remaining seed from the first round (while #2 hosts the other team). Then the last two teams standing meet to play for the Grey Cup.

That arrangement would also work (4 divisions of 3 teams), but it wouldn't be Thunder Bay, which is unfortunately too small to support a team.

Victoria is the next biggest town out west that doesn't already have a CFL team, but then they'd probably go in the division with Vancouver (B.C. Lions), and you'd have to break up Calgary and Edmonton (if you go with three team divisions). Victoria may be too small anyway (but at least is big enough that you can consider it).

More likely the 12th team (after Ottawa, Halifax, and Q.C.) would be either Windsor (propped up by support from the Detroit metro area (4.5 million)) or London.

Canadian Metro Area numbers:
(Wikipedia 2005 estimates)

Toronto, ON -- #1 (5,304,600)
Montreal, QC -- #2 (3,635,842)
Vancouver, BC -- #3 (2,208,300)
Ottawa-Gatineau, ON-QC -- #4 (1,148,800)
Calgary, AB -- #5 (1,060,300)
Edmonton, AB -- #6 (1,016,000)
Quebec City, QC -- #7 (717,600)
Hamilton, ON -- #8 (714,900)
Winnipeg, MB -- #9 (706,900)
London, ON -- #10 (464,300)
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, ON -- #11 (458,600)
St. Catherines-Niagara, ON -- #12 (396,900)
Halifax, NS -- #13 (380,800)
Oshawa, ON -- #14 (340,300)
Victoria, BC -- #15 (334,700)
Windsor, ON -- #16 (332,300)
Saskatoon, SK -- #17 (235,800)
Regina, SK -- #18 (199,000)
...
Thunder Bay, ON -- #29 (126,500)

The Kitchener, St. Catherines, and Oshawa areas are probably too close to existing teams (Toronto & Hamilton). I think you're looking at Windsor (Detroit), maybe London, and just possibly Victoria. Saskatoon can't be considered, because, as I understand it, the Roughriders survive only because they get support from both Regina and Saskatoon.

Interesting read GeoffC90. I had never thought of a place like Harrisburg, PA. What do they have for a stadium?

Great Salt Lake Effect? Columbus Discovery? Maine Reason? LOL... some imaginative names there. Its an intriguing idea, but the CFL needs to find Canadian cities that are suitable for expansion first, and do their homework when it comes to ownership, fan support, etc... before they even THINK of going south of the border again.

It Would Probibly Be London In The Central. They Have The Next Largest Population After Toronto, Ottawa, And Hamilton. London Also Has Around A 10 000 Seat Stadium And A Large Football Fallowing For The Mustangs. The Other Attrabute That London Has Is It Is Between Cities That It Can Draw On (Kitchener And Windsor) Plus It Doesn't Have As Much Competition From Other Nearby Pro Football Teams, Kitchener Has The Ti-Cats And Windsor Has The Lions. I Know We All Like To Think That Most People Would Prefer To Watch CFL Over nFL But Toronto Has Enough Competition From The Bills, Windsor Which Is Next Door To Detroit, Already Has A Large Lions Fallowing.

Heh, thanks. :wink:

Harriburg has a couple of stadiums on an island in the river adjacent to the city. I have no idea on seating for the football field (Skyline Sports Complex), which I'm sure would have to be expanded (the area is pretty tight, but they might be able to squeeze it in). I've been to this island for another event and it is very nice and you can tell the city has tailored it and their sports marketing (including minor league baseball) to be family friendly.

http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&ll=40.257705,-76.890993&spn=0.003087,0.005032&t=k&om=1

Skyline Sports Complex is a sports complex/stadium on City Island along the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The original structure was built in 1987 and is adjacent to Commerce Bank Park. The complex/stadium hosts numerous events annually and is the home stadium for the Harrisburg City Islanders soccer team, and the Central Penn Piranha football team.
(source: Wikipedia)

I have always stated how IF the CFL did expand to the US, it would have to be in the northern most states and close to our boarder.
Plus, the CFL would have to be the only major show in town. So for example, Portland, Milwaukee and Columbus would automatically be out.
Stadia is of course a major issue in some of your sites, are there any available in the 30,000+ range?
I like the idea of a truly American division of 4 teams so that when we hopefully expand soon in Canada we can have 3 divisions of 4 to add to it.

Yeah, I think that culturally northern states should be more accepting of the CFL, plus there is the weather factor.

I don't agree that you need to stay out of cities that have other major league teams. Baltimore had the MLB Orioles and the Stallions still averaged over 30,000 attendance both seasons. I do think the CFL should avoid direct competition with NFL (unless the market is enormous (e.g., NYC) and the league is already healthily established in the US).

As far as stadiums go, you're most likely correct that there are issues. That's part of the reason the league would have to make sure there are very strong owners (and a favorable US TV deal is in place) to ensure finances are available such that stadiums are upgraded/constructed should existing facilities fail to meet a certain standard.

Yes, I'm rooting for the CFL to successfully expand to at least 10 healthy franchises.

Then, they should be able to start thinking of US expansion again. (But make sure they have a better plan before they choose to go down that road again.)

Thanks for noticing the names. :smiley: A bit too much, you think?

Maine Reason -- How about a logo of football player in the 'thinker' position sitting on his helmet?

Columbus Discovery -- A spyglass logo with the reflection of -- a CFL football, North America? (maybe try to have the team color scheme match the long defunct NFL Columbus Panhandles (no idea what they wore))

Great Salt Lake Effect -- Winter colors (light blue helmet, stylized blue or black letters spelling EFFECT (or maybe a football), white snow covering tops of the letters (football)?)

Getting carried away here? OK. :wink:

The first expansion Goal of the CFL is 10 teams meaing two Divisions of 5.

That means two teams out east(Most likely Halifax and Ottawa)

Now if there are two more teams then it might be a good idea to look at London-Windsor area or Waterloo or Quebec and for the "western" team Victoria is an option or Sudbury(pop 160K+ and North bay 60K+ is nearby + 80K Sault st.Marie)

West of Winnipeg the only two cities in canada who have a sizable population but no CFL team are Saskatoon(rider territory) and Victoria(Island Loners)

Maybe Steve Nash wants to own a CFL team, he should have the money to run one considering how much NBA stars get paid.(For in Victoria)

The biggest thing about finding a possible CFL Home is not Population it's fans and the ability to get an owner or commitment from the city to make it community owned + a facility(the biggest thing of all)

If you're going to put Windsor, you might as well put London. K-W-C is too close to Toronto and Hamilton.

Barnes, Your Forgetting Kelowna. There Was A Lot Of Talk A Few Years Back About Kelowna Being A Site Of Future Expansion Having Vernon And Penticton Plus Kamloops Within A Few Hour Drive Gives The Total Population That A Team Could Draw On: 327 334; Pinticton: 41 574, + Kelowna: 147 739, + Kamloops: 86 491, + Vernon: 51 530 And That's Not Even Including A Large Rural Population That's Nearby.