There seems to be a debate from time to time about which team is the flagship franchise of this league. I'm going to put a bit of a different twist on it, and see what the results are. I'm not going to do a poll , because the twist is -- you cannot vote for the team you cheer for, you have to pick another team that you think is the model franchise. I will go first on this one.
My pick is the Edmonton Eskimos. In the last 36 yrs, they have missed the playoffs only twice- in the last 2 seasons. They have a record that will unmatched for a very long time-- 34 straight seasons in the playoffs. A first rate organization, with a fan base second to none. The Eskimos also have a reputation for finding top notch talent to keep such a winning record and tradition. IMO, any pro franchise in North America, or even the planet, would do well to try to emulate this franchise.
Looking at recent history, I would choose Montreal. I know about their past franchise problems, but recently they have sold out their stadium, put an entertaining/competetive product on the field, and aside from Popp have a competent and stable ownership/mgmt structure in place. They are always bringing in quality talent to augment their existing team. Not many teams win a game in Montreal.
I'm going to demonstrate that I'm not as obtinate as I sometimes come across, and admit that the Saskatchewan Roughriders have a fair claim to being the 'model franchise'.
God alone knows why, but fans of the wheaties can be found from coast to coast. If the Dallas Cowboys can claim to be 'Americas Team', I grudgingly admit that the Green Riders can claim to be Canada's - for much the same reasons. (reasons that do not, however, include actual on-field success - the Green Riders can't claim that, 2007 being the exception that proves the rule).
I'm going to have to go with the same answer as Ravenwood on this one and say the Riders.
One thing I've noticed about hockey fans in Canada is that there are pockets of Leaf fans from coast to coast; thus making the notion that there is a "Leaf Nation" within Canada. The same can be said about the Green & White. No matter what stadium you go to in the CFL, if Saskatchewan is playing, there will always be some contingent of Rider fans in attendance.
For both of these clubs, they might not always be a success on their respective playing surface (going on 42 years without the Cup for Leaf fans), yet they have by far some of the strongest fan bases around today. The only real difference between the two, the Green & White have hoisted a Cup recently.
I don't actually cheer for any one team - I'm just a fan of the league so I think I get to pick from anybody
I can say I've had dealings with every team and I have to say that the organization in Edmonton is the class of the league. They're accomodating to their fans to a shockingly good degree (in my experience).
From a fan perspective, I'm going to go with Saskatchewan as the flagship franchise. The team has a passionate fan base that teams in professional sports can only dream of.
I disagree that the flagship team means that the team is financially carrying the rest of the league - that situation would make an extremely weak league.
In terms of a flagship franchise it would be difficult to pick a team other then the one I cheer for. But there are many good examples.
Once considered the baine of the league the community owned teams Edmonton and Winnipeg have been successful.
Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Calgary and even BC for finding and hopefully keeping a strong local ownership recently has been important for turning the league around, so they all could be given the nod.
But for putting on a good show financially and a solid product on the field, it would be down to either BC or Montreal. From a pure fan support point of view, I would give the nod to BC as Montreal is limited by its stadium.
Overall, I would say from a recent success BC would be the team. If you are looking longer period (i.e. over 10 years) I would go with Edmonton.
Please do not ever compare the Leafs with the Riders. Please Please Please. Riders do not get anywhere close the national coverage the Leafs do. Man I hate the leafs.
Sorry about that rant.
now to the question.
I would have to pick Edmonton, I am a strong proponent of community owned teams. I like the profits of a team going back into the team and the community vs lining some guys pocket. But hey I am a socialist so… Their records over the last 35 years are testiment of the way its done. And while they have not always played by the rules, as far as I know they have never really been in trouble of losing their team. I think thats a prerequesite for being the flagship.
What to use for criteria? If it was winning and attendance, it would be Edmonton hands down. But,as Ravenwood pointed out, those Rider fans are from Coast to Coast, If it were fans, then Riders hands down.
The thread says flagship FRANCHISE. That to me means team, so I'll give the edge to Edmonton.
I always understood flagship franchise to mean the one that if you were running one, you'd want to imitate in order to try to achieve the same degree of success. If that's the case, then I agree with Edmonton.
I have to go with the 'riders. They are hands down the most visible team everywhere. When you hear the CFL mentioned more often than not the Roughriders are mentioned soon after. And those fans! What they lack in huge numbers they more than make up for in spirit.
Those 'rider colours show up in the oddest places too. I've told the story before about the documentary about a New Jersey school and the kid wearing a Roughriders jersey. I fully expect to be travelling in some far flung place some day and stumble across that iconic symbol of Canada.
Winnipeg boy here, and I have to say this is a great topic that poses a tough question for me.
Even if it was a 'pick your team poll' I wouldn't pick Winnipeg just for the fact that we don't sell out which really pisses me off, but is besides the point.
Hmmm, so many choices, I mean Riders are proud and loud (and obnoxious turkey@$$ ) and i love it, but MTL with it's straight sell-outs albeit at a small stadium, plus Edmonton is always there even through the Maccocia era...
Props to the topic poster. I'm gonna give my vote to...
tough call but I made it, and think it's the right one.