If Not Halifax or Montreal...Where?

There is so much talk about Halifax possibly being no more than a pipe dream, and the potential demise of the Alouettes.

If one or both of these teams come off the map, where would be the best place to start a new team? For a change, we won’t include ownership groups or corporate likelihood, just…where might there be enough football fans to warrant placing a franchise?

Quebec City but Montreal is still in play .

I still believe if they ever get a modest venue and proper price point they will sell tickets whether they need to team up with the CPL or rugby it can be successful .

The two CFL teams would compliment each other with better media deals and rivalry will heat up as contact sports always do .

There is pro sports entertainment area ripe for spring/summer/early fall customers .

I really think you have a captive audience ready to enjoy a night out in the summer fall watching football and having a party . The same goes for Halifax .

The venue just needs to get done but the CFL needs to bring down their expectations and build something more compatible that gets a return game day but doesn’t poison the goodwill of the community . They need to get these modest stadiums built .

I still believe that 40 or 50 million will get you the centre core infrastructure between the 20’s that will return a profit and build on to it with lighter material past the twenty yard line that is penny wise but not pound foolish . A 20.000 seater can be built that will look and feel professional with a little smoke and mirrors beyond the core twenties to make it look seamless .

This gets you lots of bang for your buck and provides venues for expansion in market places that can sustain a CFL/CPL team .

Here is Kingston Ontario’s Queens University venue of 8,000 cost approximately 20 million .

They didn’t help their cause with the pricing of the latest TD Atlantic game. Things that look like money grabs will drive the market away. Some for good. They should have went cheap, willing to lose some cash.

IMO this type of stadium doesn’t work for football. There is a reason teams are starting to fill one endzone with alternative viewing experiences…you need to have way more seats in the sidelines…and that costs $$$ to accomplish.

Look at comps of the last decade or so…TD Ameritrade, Red Bull NY, Orlando City Stadium, Talen Energy, Avaya

Unless you are building a complete junker …you aren’t building to 50 mil. If you build a complete junker it is hard to sell the game…that is the reality of the sitting at home and watching in high def era. 20k is also making your tickets pretty expensive if you want profitability…better have a damned good team and never struggle

I see the Richardson stadium as just a template for the first 20 millionto get the show on the road for the first 8,000. This includes 4 dressing rooms ( will need to be upgraded ) , 2 concessions , washrooms ,media centre , therapy room , VIP box etc etc , video board ( 2 score boards )…
It actually has quite a bit of infrastructure for that cost point .

The next 20 or 30 million goes inbetween the twenties where you put more suites , better seats ( 12,000 seats ) including the existing structure shown which has a media centre which would be upgraded etc etc for pro… more washrooms /concessions .

So for 60 million to 50 you get everything required for a profitable return especially the higher end seats that generate the cash between the twenty yard lines . Maybe even enough money now or later to put a small roof over the prime seats inbetween the twenties .

BMO original with cheaper fixed seats , TD place north side ( porter potties on north side for example ) and Mc Gill metal bench seats are not equivalent to Red Bull arena or Orlando City stadium but are good enough to get the operations a profitable return if full .

I know TD place well and they have added on the cheap new social areas for a very low price point like the log cabin that generate good cash for investment return .

The stadium or venue can be cost efficient and still give you a pro experience .

Really? Let’s look at the reality in Halifax to start.

1- The city has set aside 20 million dollars
2- The Federal Government has agreed to make PRIMO Real Estate available in Dartmouth, 300 meters from one bridge, 3km from the other bridge and 3km from the bus terminal!
3- The Province has requested a business plan, they’ve been waiting for two years while the prospective owner is going around collecting deposits, bugging land developers and organizing a game in another province. Yet providing ZERO details about financing, tenants ANYTHING! Going on two years or is it three and the prospective owners chosen by the league have yet to show the mayor or Premier, their financing or business plan and have in fact pushed the can down the road multiple times cancelling meetings, the last time punting into summer 2019 when he knows city council is in summer recess (so he punted into fall 2019).

Quebec City is a no go. Mayor said is on record stating he would offer NO SUPPORT to a CFL team, if the CFL wants to build a stadium they are to do it on their own, with their own money, their own people! Tell me how do you accomplish that in a hostile environment? There is a reason the NHL wants nothing to do with these people.

Montreal: While not perfect and challenging from an ancillary revenue perspective. The 25 000 seat stadium with luxury boxes and VIP seating sections is in the heart of downtown, overlooking cityscape at a ridiculously low rent of 1.1 million dollars a season. 3 University teams, 20 CEGEP teams and an existing fanbase. The team was operated for 22 years by a NY Billionaire as a tax shelter.

My recommendation to CFL fans, don’t gang up on the football fans of this team, it isn’t their fault the handover from father to son did not go well, it isn’t their fault the product was a tax shelter. It would be a huge mistake and will land you an 8 team CFL for a decade or more.

If anything, if you haven’t caught a game there, you may want to while your team is playing in Montreal this summer to do so, VIP seats are available for the first time for non season ticket owners at a discount, It may be your last opportunity to experience one of the best live Pro football experience in North America.

Can I ask why not just demolish the big O and build a new stadium on that site? Other cities already have gone through at least 2 stadiums in the lifespan of Olympic Stadium, yet Montreal has done nothing about it. Is that one of the main reasons why Alouettes are struggling and baseball hasn’t returned?

The main reason, cost to demolish. Add in there is a Metro station below.

Because it is one of the heaviest structures on the planet and sits atop a subway station. Why would you destroy a 63 000 seat stadium that would cost 5 billion to build when you can do a full interior and roof restoration for less than a billion?


I always thought London or Guelph , Kitchener area could support a CFL team. Far enough from Toronto that there is less competition for the sport and entertainment dollar and they have there own identity

I was going to ask about London or Windsor, maybe even Kingston. Kinda close to Toronto, but maybe far enough away.

How about Thunder Bay?

Is Abbottsford far enough from Vancouver to be an option? Is the population different enough to be pro-football?

In the earliest days of organized semi-pro sports, every little town had their own team (mostly baseball). Sometimes I think we’ve become so big-city focused, lasering in on large metropolitan areas that we forget how proud and loyal smaller communities can be when it comes to their teams. We still see it at the high school level. Have we gone beyond the point where it’s mega-huge or nothing? When I see posts about requiring $100 million stadiums “or don’t bother,” I begin to wonder if maybe pro sports as a genre has reached the point of inescapable implosion, with unsustainable demands of grandeur.

I love the CFL. I want it to survive and thrive and expand. I don’t want it to EVER be what the NFL has become. But maybe I’m just wishing for the impossible. Everyone – owners, players, sponsors – wants to be NFL rich. I just want to watch good football. Maybe the two things can’t co-exist. But I’m an optimist when it comes to the CFL, so I’ll keep asking and rooting and whining and cheering until they turn out the lights and tell me to go home.

London is growing fast one of the fastest in Canada .

Its close to 400,000metro is 532,000 and is in the area of size that could support the smaller venue model the CFL aspires to but ;

I think you stay away from a third CFL franchise in southern Ontario until they fill the void east with Nova Scotia population 932,000 and give Montreal a foil in Quebec to play against with QC metro population of 800,000 .

This is the target areas that should be pressed with infrastructure first . My mantra is venue first and team second .

Owners are not hard to find building a venue is the rock that needs sledging .

Very surprised the BOG didn’t make sure building reasonable profit bearing venues for expansion has to be priority number one for any commissioner wanting to expand the evaluations and moving a higher viewership for their media rights in Canada .

Demolishing the big “owe” would cost billions and billions. Forget that!

The Montreal’s Olympic Stadium will get a new roof by 2024; furthermore,Bill 15 was introduced by the Quebec Government to give Management more latitude to operate as a business. It replaces the former Board and the new one will have the power to sign its own business contracts and long-term leases with suppliers and corporate banners.

Presently,the stadium is in use 200 days of the year. With the new roof and mandate,the sky is the limit.

Presently,the Olympic Park generates revenues of between $20 and $25 millions a year. In 2017-2018, Quebec’s subsidy was $17.2 millions.

In terms of visitors,the installations attract about one million visitors a year.If you add StarCité cinéma,Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium,Biodôme,Insectarium and Botanical Gardens the total traffic is close to 4 million people.


If you’re looking at BC, I think the two best options would be the Okanagan and Vancouver Island. Both are far enough away from Vancouver not to encroach on the Lions’ market but close enough to set up a regional rivalry.

Neither, however, has a viable stadium nor any plans to build one.

Having said that, I think Montreal will be find new ownership to revitalize the team in that market, and I still think Halifax has about a 50-50 shot of setting up shop in the coming years.

After (if) that comes to pass, my biggest wish would be for a team in Quebec City, but as far as I know there’s nothing going on to make that happen.

Forget about Halifax, fold the Alouettes, and just go back to 8 Canadian teams. Then, Ambrosie can focus on International expansion… with a team in Germany, Finland, Italy, and Mexico. ;D

Number 1 city on the list: Montreal

Number 2: likely Halifax, though I still won’t rule out Moncton.

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I was going to ask about London or Windsor, maybe even Kingston. Kinda close to Toronto, but maybe far enough away.

How about Thunder Bay?

Is Abbottsford far enough from Vancouver to be an option? Is the population different enough to be pro-football?

Actually, Surrey has a population of over a million 1.15, Langley area, where Vancouver Giants play,
125,000, Abbotsford 80,000, Aldergrove area 40,000. Problem is they would want to go big time in a big league. Smaller state of the art stadium priced at 500 million gets there attention.
Note: the City of Vancouver is around 400,000 people but downtown business center, no parking, bad location.
A lot of youth follow NFL or soccer. CFL is an afterthought.

In reality, there are few good locations for franchises in Canada.
However, if a city would want one, go big time, all in with a marvelous stadium, sponsors will come. Or go small time and see league retract. Then Thunder Bay would be a great option with a 6000 seater!

Once again, where do you get your numbers from? As a city Vancouver is over 630K according to the 2016 census. Surrey has 315 k, Langley has 24k.

As a metropolitan area Vancouver is over 2.46 m which is more indicative of a market size that a team draws from.

Well said and I agree with you on all points; especially on the CFL never becoming what the NFL has become. I will take it a step further: I want to see the CFL remain exclusively Canadian. No more attempts at expanding outside of our borders. No need for it.

With regard to downsizing to smaller towns, there is the little issue of how to underwrite player’s salaries with a barebones operations in those small towns. I don’t have the answer to that one myself though I love the idea of it.

Pro-hockey was somewhat the same in the old days, when teams like Renfrew, Kenora and Dawson City could field a team and compete for the Stanley Cup. Now the NHL is a big entertainment juggernaut with teams located in cities where they don’t even get snow or ice in winter. I will leave it at that because I will launch into a rant about why I stopped watching hockey.