"IF" the BIG "IF" US Expansion

I am really missing out CFL, despite the pains we have experienced over the decades.
I have a question for those here with more legal knowledge...
"IF" US teams had no Cdn player requirements, which they cannot have under their law; what if a cap bonus for up to four (4) foreign players, given they are in the active roster. Suggesting a rise of $50 thousand per player. As others have mussed, all monies in Canadian funds.
In fact, if this was implemented north of the border it would even the playing field for all teams and the quality would go up. The best Canadians have always been able to hold their own when given a chance.
Monies from expansion will not save the league and the last experiment was poorly thought out. One experimental US franchise correctly vetted might provide fresh hope...
But only if a flexible cap would be legal?
Fundamentally the game needs cooperation from top to grassroots, ownership needs to walk the decks with the crew.

Years ago a friend invited me to a meeting with George Brancato, where an feeder league for the CFL was discussed.
There have been some interesting outside the box ideas floated on here during Covid.
Hopefully there will be more vision and unity, for our game can be kept alive.


Welcome to the forums, @DickShatto! Any and all ideas are worth discussion; I for one am absolutely not opposed to American expansion if done carefully (and the Canadian ratio will definitely be an issue).

You seem rather young....I mean no dis-respect but were you old enough to care about the last CFL U.S. expansion fiasco ?

It will never work

It could work if done correctly - but doing it correctly in the face of the legal issue with the Canadian ratio would be exceptionally difficult. Still, all avenues in the area of league expansion need to be followed.


Number 1) you can't have a ratio.....Any incentive to have Canadian players IE a higher cap only gives a American team more money to get even better players

Number 2 I miss worded when I said were you old enough to care...I meant to say were you old enough to follow the CFL? The biggest problem was attendance! There was 1000 people in the stands. Half the America teams folded after 1 year and the rest after 2. Its hard enough getting Canadians to follow, you will never get enough American per city to sustain a team

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TY. I wish I was young since I need depends when I got my plane (:slightly_smiling_face:
Old enough to have watched Argos an Ticats at Varsity Stadium. 1948 Grey Cup era.
My CFL guru friend just blew my misconceived idea over the cliff. (I should post it when at a real computer).

I have mixed feelings on American expansion. Part of me likes the idea of an all-Canadian league. But, part of me wants to see more teams. Besides Halifax (and maybe Quebec City and London) the only feasible locations would be in the U.S.

I became a CFL fan in 1992, and the following year Sacramento joined the league. I still have a Sacramento Gold Miners t-shirt. It was fun to watch Americans enjoy Canadian football.

If it's done properly in the right markets, I'd probably be on board with 3-4 U.S.-based teams. I'm sure the ratio can be tweaked somehow to not put Canadian teams at a disadvantage yet still encourage the development of Canadian players. That said, I am just as happy watching an all-Canadian league play Canadian football.


"There was 1000 people in the stands. " I'm not saying the attendance was great but...

Baltimore Avg = 37,347
Las Vegas Avg = 9,527
Sacramento Avg = 14,226
Shreveport Avg = 17,871

Baltimore Avg = 30,111
Birmingham Avg = 17,625
Memphis Avg = 13,691
San Antonio Avg = 15,855
Shreveport Avg = 14,359

One thing that is true is as soon as US college and NFL started, the attendance declined substantially.

And just to be clear, I would support US expansion under the right circumstances but am in no way saying it would be successful.


Sorry i have not been back after my day dream hope got shattered by the guy who approached Brancato. Here is part of his retort:

"No, it would not be allowed. You cannot implement quotas in the states, even if they come with financial or operational advantages. So, no extra cap room for the US teams for Canadian players. Secondly, in order to get a permit to allow a foreign worker into their country, the prospective employer has to prove that there are no Americans who are qualified. Any assertion that Canadian players have a special skillset over Americans can be easily dismissed by the number of Americans successfully playing in the CFL.

Any disparity in talent levels is minimal. I remember that prior to the Goldminers first game (here in Ottawa????), people were predicting they would run up the score. I could be wrong, but I think that we won. Canadian starters and all. Many Canadian players in the CFL go to the same football factories -- I mean universities -- as American players. Unless you're saying that Americans are genetically superior... 8-)"

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I read on another thread about requiring quota when a team (one or two) crosses the border; since they would play half of their games in Canada,that might work? [Must write my guru about that.] The Canadians on their roster by choice would need to be the best possible...
Holding my breathe.

He went on to say:

"Why change the field size? It sounds like you're trying to Americanize the game. No. The 65 yard width allows for more "out patterns". And, by extension, more pick sixes. Shrinking the endzone would reduce the number of touchdowns, since there would be less room to manoeuvre. The league wants more scoring, not less.

If you want to keep the Americans teams close to the border, then all you have are Portland and Rochester. In a pinch, Hartford CT/Springfield MA (they are practically one metro area, but not quite yet). There are no other northerly US cities in the west that are available. The next nearest million+ city in the west is Sacramento.

You still haven't address the TV revenue problem. Having 2 or 4 US cities will not score the CFL a paying US TV contract. ESPN 3(???) shows the occasional CFL game, about one per week, and the NFL Network carries one or two games per week in the summer. To my knowledge, they don't pay for their broadcasts, they are given the shows for free. If you dilute TSN's rights payments by 20-40%, no team will be profitable. Which means all of them will be closed down in just a few years.

Expanding to the US just for the sake of expanding to the US isn't smart. Would I like to see the CFL coast to coast throughout the continent? You bet! I'm proud to be Canadian, and I'm proud of our culture and heritage, which includes Canadian style football. Without deep pocketed owners and a guaranteed US TV contract (which 3 leagues in the US have tried to get and failed this decade -- UFL, AAF and XFL), then there's no point. Increase the population in Canada by 20 million, then the league could afford a 50% expansion, whether it be here in Canada or the US, or wherever. Even with Trudeau's announcement of 1.2 million immigrants over three years, our net population growth rate will be about 1.5%. That means it'll take 27 years to get to that magical number.

I like what Ambrosie is trying to do. By bringing in "global" players, and giving them instruction that they would not normally get, they will come to respect and admire Canadian style football. If one of the European leagues decides to switch to Canadian rules in order to better prepare their players for the CFL,, then that would mean exposure of our game in that country. And, perhaps (admittedly a long shot) TV exposure. It's a way of growing our game worldwide at little cost to the league, since the league has no money."


His other note to me:

" Been there. Done that. Took their (our) ball and went home.

I think I once counted 20 metro areas in the US over 1 million people that don't have NFL teams. But that wouldn't mean that a CFL team in any of those particular cities would be successful.

Plus you'd need enthusiastic owners for those American franchises. People with deep pockets, good marketing skills and a love for the Canadian game. You'd be hard-pressed to find a half-dozen.

Going just from memory, Shreveport averaged 17K per game. San Antonio about 22K. Memphis was about 12K. Birmingham was 23K before the start of the college season then 5K after. I refuse to talk about the Las Vegas franchise. Baltimore was 30K, which is why the NFL moved the Browns to Baltimore the day after the Stallions won the Cup so as to kill the franchise and the expansion efforts.

If you're a prospective owner of a newly-minted CFL franchise in the US, expect to lose a lot of money for the first 10 years. And DON'T try and and charge NFL prices. The AAFL tried that in 2019, and had virtually zero seasons tickets sold. They never published the attendance figures for the Arizona franchise because it was regularly under a thousand (as shown in pictures of the stands from the endzone upper deck).

PLUS diluting the money paid to the league by TSN would harm the existing teams. Both the AAFL and the XFL paid for their airtime in the US, which drained the coffers quickly, so the expanded CFL shouldn't expect US television money.

After 10 years of team and league stability, I could see the American teams drawing good crowds and making money. And, if there were 10 such teams, perhaps regional sports channel contracts. But can any owner justify losing around $40 million to get to that point? I think not.

I want Canadian football to grow into a worldwide first or second tier sport with decent coverage and crowds. I just don't see any super-wealthy people lining up to get an expansion franchise.


Biggest metro areas without a team: San Diego (3.3 million), St. Louis MO (2.8 million), Orlando FL (2.6 million), San Antonio TX (2.5 million), Portland OR (2.5 million), Sacramento CA (2.5 million), Austin TX (2.2 million), Columbus OH (2.1 million), Virginia Beach/Norfolk VA (1.7 million), Providence RI (1.6 million), Oklahoma City OK (1.4 million), Raleigh NC (1.4 million), Richmond VA (1.3 million), Louisville KY (1.3 million), Salt Lake City UT (1.2 million), Hartford CT (1.2 million), Rochester NY (1.2 million), Grand Rapids MI (1 million), Tucson AZ (1 million)

I ignored Memphis and Birmingham because they showed that they didn't really want a CFL team."

Our pitch to George Brancato was for a second tier CFL league, affiliated like the "AHL" for players out of college etc. to play semi-pro and develop and available for call up. There are a number of Canadian cities that might accommodate such a scheme...money and stadiums being the catch.
It might be a way to develop franchises too. (IMHO only)
Hoping for the players and fans that 2021 can go forward!!!

RIP David Braley.
He did save the league.

Was it Jake Gaudaur who they said, "Threw five bucks around as if it was a manhole cover" (: BTW he was a big brick builder for our game.

I am forcing myself to watch some NFL. Despite the excellent precision most of the time and great plays (though not perfect) I still find myself drifting off to a movie. This is not to be my normal anti big biz hype vs our more free and flexible system, somewhere beyond my prejudiced home spun affiliation, it is in the flow of the game. I watched Brady and the Giants in a nail biter. But who can forget the 1989 GC ?

Australian rules football is rather other planet cool and I could watch it all afternoon (vs late nights).

Cheers everyone stay safe.
TTYL sometime.
x-pat Bytown/TO hiding in the wilderness.

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I don't believe any US owner of a CFL team would lose money over ten years. Maybe for the first three years. But, every business that open up is expected to lose money in the short term after their opening date.

You forgot that a US CFL owner could turn a profit sooner because of legalized gambling. An avenue the CFL ignores, but it's beyond their control. The provincial gov'ts control that revenue pie and is hesitant to open up the gambling field.

A CFL team in the US would be more affordable for a family of four(4 tix, 4 drinks,4 hotdogs and game program). The price that the same family of four to attend a NFL is $500, The Chicago Bears charge the most at $685. Those NFL prices kept rising every year. If a US CFL could aim for half of the prices the NFL charge, it would be profitable. And affordable and enjoyable for new CFL fans.

Edmonton offers $25 tickets, $5 beer and $2,50 hot dog, kids under 12 get in free during the 2019 CFL season. I bought 3 tickets to a Hamilton home opener last year for $135. I got 3 grandstand seats between mid-field and the 30 yard line(great view of the action), 2 food vouchers and two commemorative team coins. That was a bargain. I had a great time and I will go back.

The AAF and the XFL 2.0 paid rent in the stadiums they played in and gave up all concessions and parking to the landlords of the stadiums forcing those teams to be gate driven. It cut into their bottom line in the end.

Owning a sports franchise is a toy for the owner, but a labor of love for some owners like Ti-Cats owner, Bob Young

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Dave. Good points. I like folk who are positive. Golden Gate/Brooklyn bridges, eh.
Gosh that concrete WALL at Ivor Wynn (sp) was a beast for a guy to run into, not plastic break-away.
Saturday, off to a "labour of love."
The other "Dave"

We need a new forum rule. That rule is anyone who ever starts a US expansion thread gets perma banned.


Hey I'm for that.

When the CFL is on life support, and a 2021 season is far from a sure thing, and the folding of the CFL is a distinct possibility, talking of US expansion is like whistling past the graveyard.

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I believe the possibility of league expansion is built into the contract and no dilution would occur (because TSN would get more "product" if more teams are added).