Peak team attendance averages CFL history

off season = boredom = trivial facts..

BC 1986 - 46,526
EDM 1982 - 57,901
CAL 2009 - 36,502
SASK 2013 - 37,503
WIN 2013 - 30,640
HAM 1972 - 32,091
TOR 1976 - 47,356
OTT 1975 - 28,082
MONT 1977 - 59,525

*Highest league-wide average - 1978 (31,870)

Thanks for putting together the averages Tangle. Speaks volumes about where the league was at its most popular in each market, and perhaps where it could be in the near future. Would be interesting to hear from some long time residents/fans in each market their theories as to why/how/when their respective markets reached their peak popularity.

Interesting that according to the attendance figures, most teams peaked in popularity (at least in game attendance) in the 70’s, while the Riders, Bombers and Stamps seem to have experienced peak popularity in more recent times.

I'm surprised the Stamps averaged over 36,000 in 2009, which means they virtually soldout the entire season?

We should keep in mind the "new stadium effect" in the late 70's with the construction of Montreal's Big O and Edmonton's Commonwealth stadiums. Attendance often balloons with the introduction of new stadiums, like Vancouver in '86 and Winnipeg last year. These attendance spikes don't always mean the team or league is more popular, with many fans wanting to check out the new multi-million stadium they paid for.

Interesting point, and no doubt new stadiums play a role in attendance spikes. However I would point out that in Edmonton's & Vancouver's case their high mark for attendance was 3 to 4 years after their stadiums opened.(although Commonwealth was expanded in 82).

The 2009 stamps attendance is related ( my guess) to winning the grey cup in 2008 and then hosting in 2009

but both BC Place and Commonwealth Stadium were built a few years prior to their record peak seasonal average.

The Lions had already played 4 seasons at BC Place when they set the team record in '86, while the Esks were in their 5th at Commonwealth averaging over 20 thousand more per game than the initial opening in 1978, and approx. 15 thousand more than in '79.
(5 straight Grey Cup wins may have helped)

in fact, the Esks drew only 35,982 avg. in '78 with a stadium capacity of 42,500 when first opened.

however, there is no question that the allure of Olympic Stadium helped the Als record setting year in '77.

in any event, as for overall national popularity/interest per capita, the 60's and 70's still ruled supreme.

The Bombers new stadium was the reason for the surge. Winnipeg traditionally was always around 27k average.

I think the new north stands at Ivor Wynne - which was a huge improvement and increased capacity opened in 1971 - so not surprising that the next year - a Grey Cup winning season in 1972 was the highest year for Hamilton. On a personal note that was the first year I was a season ticket holder as a 12 year old with my brother and two cousins. We got those as a Christmas gift each year from 1972 - 1981 from three of our aunts who had season tickets themselves for years.

If the CFL could only get figures like that on an annual basis. :frowning: What I find particularly interesting about the Lions is that after moving from a stadium with a capacity of around 26,000 to one with over 55,000 seats the lions increase in average annual attendance was only about 3,000 per year over a 30 year period.

When the Lions played in Empire Stadium from '54 to '82 the team drew in on average about 26,000 fans. When the team moved to B.C. Place, which has about 55,000 seats, the team averaged just a little over 29,000 a year.
Even more interesting is the average annual attendance from 1954 to date. It sits at about 27,500.

I find this quite interesting because I'm blown away when I look at the following table:

[url=] ... ce_figures[/url]

I think the CFL has an excellent product. I hope eventually, the stadiums across Canada that have large capacities will eventually have regular sell-outs!

IIRC the Esks played their first four games that year at 25,000 seat Clarke Stadium, moving to Commonwealh after the Games were over and the field was refitted for football.

a few other tidbits...

Largest Attendance Regular Season Game: 69,093 (1977 TOR @ MTL)
Largest Attendance Pre-Season Game: 53,472 (1983 CGY @ BC)
Largest Attendance Playoff Game: 60,007 (2003 TOR @ MTL)
Largest Attendance Grey Cup game: 68,205 (1977 EDM @ MTL)
Highest % Capacity Season: 88.44% (1959)

You forgot
Anyways... If every single team had their best season on the same year then it would be a league wide average of 42K.
If the NFL did not exist, I believe that this would be an annual reality..

I have to believe that Expo 86 with the massive influx of people had at least something to do with the Lions' attendance spike that year. The stadium may not have been new to Vancouverites, but likely new to thousands of Canadians who descended on the city. You also have to remember, not only was going to Lions games in vogue back then, but there wasn't nearly as many entertainment options in the city back then. A 59,000 domed stadium back then was akin to the 7th wonder of the world as well.

Yes I agree but you have to remember that it doe snot matter how much there was to do in Vancouver back then the lions were KING back then 30,000 season ticket holders . can you imagine if there was a expo this year the lions would be so way off the radar you would be lucky to get any coverage.

Sad but true. I miss the architect of the 80’s Lions success and the resurgence of the team in the early 2000’s, Bob Ackles. If he was till alive 30,000 season ticket holders would be a distinct possibility

I still think they will get there one day again, there is going to have to be new ownership, new president , all new coaching staff, and a huge marquee player like there was with Flutie, Mervin Fernandez , Geroy etc.

Braley should of had a deal in place to hand over this franchise the day after the Gre Cup.. It is just sheer stubborness that he continues to hold onto this franchise and continue to rum it into the ground.
Braley saved the team.... Then lost huge money as the attendance went to around 10000 a game(reported as low as 14) then Bob Ackles came in and tripled attendance. Since Ackles death, Braley has lost ground each and every single year. He completely failed to capitalize on the novelity of the refurburished stadium... He continues to sit on the franchise and each year attendance gets smaller and smaller.. He gave away 30000 seats this year for free and attendance is still down... Next year will be even worse, now that the team does not have a quarterback. Lulay should be cut and the team needs to start from scratch.. The fans will not show up next year to see Lulay run off the field with his arm out of its socket again. The Lions will not even average 20000 actual bums in the seats this upcoming season.

go away

I hope you're right and you very well might be. But if Ackles was still around, I think the Lions would already be there. (or at least a lot further ahead of where they are now)

BTW if reports are to be believed, the Lions may be on the verge of hiring former CFL and Cal coach Jeff Tedford as their new head coach.