Ideas to grow CFL fanbase

I wanted to start this forum to get people to share their own ideas on how the CFL could market itself to more fans/viewers, or to just advertise itself so that more Canadians(or fans across the world)
I just feel like this league is a great league, and I want more people to experience the same joy I get from watching and being a fan. I came up with a few ideas that I think could bring more eyes to the CFL. Here we go.

  • Having a strong advertising campaign, with commercials and billboards, with a saying that will make Canadians proud, I am thinking something along the lines of "Take pride" (as in take pride in our league, this league, the Canadian Football League) *as an example

  • Having a short commercial before movies at Cineplex. They always have what feels like 20 minutes of commercials before any movie these days, and this could be a great spot to get families to gain interest or at least knowledge of the league.

  • A 5 part series on the history of the CFL to be aired on CBC or TSN(feeling CBC would have more viewers because not everyone has TSN. Release it on DVD as well.

  • Get Pepsi as a sponsor(I am thinking it is currently one but haven't found anything to verify that thought yet) Get them to release products with CFL players or team logos on them, different products are different teams. Even if the CFL wanted to stick to something that wasn't pop then go with Gatorade. I went to Buffalo this year and Pepsi had cans for the Buffalo Bills(not players just logo but still)

So that's the list that I came up with so far, hope you all think I have some helpful ideas!

Also please share any ideas you might have to help spread this league to as many people as we can!

Video. Game.

While I think it's always good to think of ways to grow the fan base there are some harsh realities in play here.

The biggest and best leagues with the best players in the world will always take most of the oxygen. In football that is the NFL. Hockey-NHL, Baskets-NBA and Baseball-MLB. The CFL is a very strong niche game

It's a global market. We don't need to go anywhere to see the best ...just flip on the switch.

So of all the "secondary" tier leagues the CFL is doing great actually.

I do think whats needed though is to improve the in game experience and officiating. And I think we could raise the cap, thereby keeping players longer, through better league wide control over management wastes. We spend too much dead money paying for fired coaches and managers. Imagine if those dollars were added to the players cap. Maybe we don't need to limit teams spending in those areas. Maybe if the cap was raised by $400,000 teams would be more careful in their hiring and firing when it comes to guaranteed contracts on redundant senior management.

If I had a team one of the first persons I'd hire is a professional liaison worker to tie a travel system to a hotel system to the team. In BC I'd get Kelowna and Kamloops fans in a bus, to a nice hotel, to a game and home again for instance.

In Alberta I'd be doing the same thing with Red Deer etc. In Manitoba-Brandon.

And while it's a touchy subject I'd get the gamblers attention by giving handicappers a spot on the panel shows to pick games with the point spread in play. In many ways gamblers built the NFL.

Also TSN should be more consistent in their panel shows. Always have it for 1 hour before the start of Friday games for instance.

Are you asking the right question?

People know this league definitely exists. The question that needs to be asked is, why don't they come back after seeing a few games? Why aren't they hooked on the game?

On the other hand, a lot of people who watch a few games do indeed get hooked and come back. So the above ideas that address getting the word out to more people so they can give the league a try would mean getting more of those people hooked. Focus on the features the league offers that do get its fans hooked and promote those features to even more people.

in the Hammer everyone knows who the TiCats are.

Literally everyone.

Now the challenge is getting new fans into the seats. That is where it gets much tougher.

How you approach the "in game" experience for a family differs from a group of 20 year olds vs a group of 40 year olds vs a group of 60 year olds.

It is truly difficult to make an in game experience that is attractive for all target market segments.

But with that said, Hamilton does a great job, and has one of the most diverse crowds in the CFL.

Facts good post.

It's always interesting to see kids from as young as a year old all the way up to 80-90 year olds at THF, it really is a diverse crowd and I've personally noticed a lot more younger people out there. Seems like the Ti-Cats have become a hot date night in town, I've noticed a ton of my friends (20-25yo) posting on social media the last couple years who I didn't even know followed the team, or may not even follow them but just wanted a fun night out. Not sure if that's how the team's been marketing themselves or whatever, but it seems to be working.

Attendance has definitely dipped, but I feel like that's more performance related than anything. We were spoiled with that streak to open the joint and I also still don't know how much it's dipped since hanging out on the concourse is the cool kid thing to do at THF. They always announce sellouts but it never feels like one since 1/4 of the crowd is always hanging out down below. Weird phenomena I never anticipated ... nobody wanted to hang out down below at IWS lmao I get why people do it for better sight lines or to chat with friends or obviously get food/beer, but it really takes away from the atmosphere for me sometimes ... Go back to the East Final against the Alouettes and that's what I wish every game looked like, THF was rocking that day my favourite memory as a Cats fan.

As THF just opened the end zone "standing room" with the bar that extends the length of the EZ, I would say Bob Young and team are more than ok with allowing more and more concourse viewing.

Landsdown Field has a ton more concourse "standing room" than THF.

I think it also keeps the drunks away from the families who are enjoying the game in their seats.

But how does Bob Young address complaints that the "speakers are too loud" or "they show fans on the big screen instead of replays" that I read from legacy fans on the TC page?

Young people want to see themselves on the big screen (social media anyone). Young people also want speakers to be loud. I was at a raptors game last week and it was MUCH louder than anything I've ever heard in THF.

Ti-Cats biggest challenge will be keeping the legacy fans happy, as well as drawing new fans.

Make a deal with the feds to brainwash people new to Canada about how the CFL is THE thing in Canada.

Do you have to purchase tix to a seat in stadium in order to get to the standing room bar area? Or can you just buy a standing room only tix?

you can buy standing room only tickets...

they have a bunch of "high tables" that you can kinda converge around, but no one ever does.

there is a growing divide in Hamilton between the CFL purists and the fans that just want to go to have a good time.

Actually, that might just be a microcosm of what is happening in Hamilton on a greater scale.

to take that discussion a step further, at age 38, I feel I’m caught right in the middle.

I have respect for the 20 year old to 35 year old fans who enjoy the game just as much as when we are down by 20 points as when we are ahead by 20 points. These are the same fans that - gasp - CHEER (make noise) when the ti-cats HAVE THE BALL! Yes, some fans treat the CFL like any other professional sport, and cheer when their team has a chance to score.

I remember reading old fans (legacy fans) complaining about these “clueless” fans who cheer when the ticats are on a drive.

I completely understand. My younger brother, 32 years old, doesn’t have the first clue that it isn’t “ok” to cheer when you have the ball. But the gray hairs look at these younger fans like they are the devil.

But my brother bought tickets to every home game last year, and is looking to join us on our season ticket package.

Btw, I haven’t been in my season ticket seat in the last three years. So I’m either “part” of the problem, or “part” of the solution.

You have to respect the fans who can talk about watching an early 60’s Grey Cup, but they aren’t the future of the league.

Managing these fans, while drawing new fans to the game, seems to be quite a conundrum.

So in a way they have created a new style of bar. Interesting. Makes sense.

I should also say my ideas are from the standpoint of a fan of the CFL that doesn't have a team, I live Nova Scotia and hopefully soon I can say we have a team.


One thing about THF is you never need to stand in a line to get a beer. I think it's easier to get a beer than a pop.

Not to mention the endzone bar is in front of the smoked meat / pulled pork vendor. Best place to get food in the venue. Grab a beer and get in line for pulled pork. Drink you beer while in line and grab another beer as you head back to your viewing area.

Bob Young is a fantastic business man. He truly understands how diverse of a fanbase Hamilton has, and does his best to cater to everyone!

I sure hope you guys get a team as well. I'll be there for the inaugural Ti Cats vs Schooners home game.

Been almost 20 years since I traveled to Antigonish NS. (last time I was east of Montreal)

Yup. He is smart.
And keeping drunk or drinking fans away from the families is a good collateral benefit.

One thing we need to get rid of somehow is the 4HOUR time difference from BC to NS. Makes live viewing on TV very tough! And brutal road trips/game times for teams.

...go the same route as China and have one time zone for the entire country...expect it doesn't' work very well...