John Hodge of 3DN; a guy I rarely agree with, wrote an opinion piece about the CFL investing in itself: Forget the XFL: it’s time for the CFL to invest in itself | 3DownNation
Aside from his wild speculations, he makes some good points at the end in investing in amateur and flag football.
I think it needs to go a few steps further. I'm talking about real partnerships with the various Junior leagues, Football Canada, USports, high school programs, and the Global initiative. Personally, with the numbers of injuries - especially concussions - inherent with contact sports (even so-called "non-contact" ones like soccer and basketball), I would advocate for playing flag football with all the same positions and schemes, just with zero hitting. You can still learn the basics of the sport, but without the higher potential for traumatic brain and other injuries. Kids would be almost as skilled, and perhaps even more so, if they learned the skills while having fun safely.
My younger brother played for (I think) the Stampeders Junior team out of either Burlington or Oakville (can't really remember which, but they played games at IWS. Probably one of the only two games I ever attended in the South grandstand). It was pretty good football, but I could see the potential for more. Better equipment, coaching, trainers, etc. All that costs money, but I believe that it's an investment in the future for Canadian players. I remember my old CANUSA Games years, where we billeted athletes from Flint, MI every other year. Imagine if the same thing could happen with Global players of a comparable age? And Canadian kids doing the same in other countries, playing football in other cultures? What an educational (ie: real-world experience) that would be.
USports is, IMHO, a bigger fish to fry. The years when the VC was played on Saturday, with the GC played the day after were some of the best years for watching Canadian football. Unfortunately, a certain telecommunications company has the broadcasting rights for USports football, and pretty much only broadcasts the championship Bowl games and the VC - and barely advertise them nor have the games in a prime viewing slot. It's annoying, because there are at least two personalities in that company, Arash Madani and Tim McCallif are huge USports football fans. I crap on Madani often for his assaults on the CFL (probably sour grapes because he didn't last long on any team he was affiliated with) but his passion for USports is true.
So, what are YOUR ideas on how to invest and grow the game, without the XFL or any other league?