I found this survey from 2005/2006 on CFL interest nationwide. It's pretty old, but I figure it's worth mentioning again. The data are pretty old, but I imagine that things haven't changed that much since then.[url=http://www.reginaldbibby.com/images/PC2005_3_CFL_JUNE0906.pdf]http://www.reginaldbibby.com/images/PC2 ... NE0906.pdf[/url]
A number of things stand out to me.
- It confirms something that I've heard numerous times, namely that after the NHL, the CFL is the league that Canadians follow most. Thus, despite the NFL's marketing power (and MLB's and NBA's to lesser degrees), the CFL still hasn't lost its position in the Canadian sports hierarchy.
- Though some would have you believe that nobody in Ontario other than people from Hamilton and a few geriatric Argo die-hards care about the CFL, and everyone else in the province follows the NFL, the truth is that the two leagues have roughly the same following in Ontario. (The article doesn't get into it, but I suspect the difference might not even be statistically significant). Considering the similar levels of interest, I'm confused as to why NFL merchandise is so much more prevalent than CFL. This also makes me more skeptical about the feasibility of a Toronto NFL team.
- Though we frequently hear "No one cares about the CFL", there are in fact more Canadians who care about the CFL than the NFL, and by quite a margin, too.
- There are more NFL fans in the Atlantic Canada than CFL fans, but neither has a very strong following (it's the lowest in the country in both cases), and despite the marketing power of the NFL and the lack of a Maritime CFL team, CFL interest in Atlantic Canada is not that far behind the NFL. An Atlantic Canadian team could easily change that, but the interest is so low, I'm not sure if a CFL team could make it there.
- Outside of Ontario and Atlantic Canada, the CFL kills the NFL.
- I would have thought that the region with the highest interest in the NFL is Toronto, but it's actually the Prairies, where interest is slightly higher than in Toronto (possibly not a statistically significant difference, though). (No surprise that it's also the region with the highest level of CFL interest)
- The CFL is indeed a league for old people. But it's also a league for young people. The CFL and NFL have roughly the same level of interest among the youth, but as people age, they learn to appreciate the CFL as well. So the reason it looks like a league for old people is because it captures the interest of a broader age group than the NFL.
- Although the NHL is king in Canada, it's not sitting on a very high throne. CFL might even be more popular in the prairies than hockey (the article doesn't give a regional breakdown of NHL interest).
- I couldn't figure out how to use the forum code for an itemized list until after I made the without code.
- Apparently I couldn't write a short post to save my life.
I hope this doesn't turn into an NFL bashing exercise. That's not why I posted it. I just find it interesting to see how well the CFL is actually standing up. After reading the article, I feel like CFL fans, even Southern Ontario CFL fans, don't need to be as defensive about the CFL as we're accustomed to being. That's not to say there isn't work to be done in Southern Ontario and other parts of the country, but it seems to me that the work that needs to be done isn't as much making converts out of NFL fans as it is activating the existing CFL fans (i.e. getting them to come out to games, etc.)