Questions from an American....One of them is obscure


I am a member of the media in Vermont, and have a couple of questions for the fans. First of all, I am a huge fan of the Canadian game. In fact, in many ways, I enjoy the style of play more than the NFL. My first question is does anyone know if there is anyone from a college in Vermont who is currently playing in the CFL? Basically, I am looking for an excuse to come up to see a game and have the bosses pay for the trip......

Secondly, how will the suspension of the Ottawa franchise effect the level of play in the league. Also, will the CFL be able to survive economically?


to find who went to college in Vermont, you'll have to visit the team websites...they have a roster list, which usually included which college the player went to.

suspension of ottawa should increase the level of play in the ottawa's good players are now on other teams, so now every team has more superstar talent....example: saskatchewan needed better recievers and a quality starting QB. now they have ottawas best reciever and their starting QB.

and yes, the league will be able to survive economically, because tv revenue and sponsorship money is now divided 8 ways instead of 9.

but the league is trying to get ottawa back in the league for next season.

I'll take part two for you.

The suspension of the Ottawa franchise will increase the level of play. When a league goes to less teams the average talent level always rises because there is less roster spots available. Also the parity in the league is as good as I can ever remember it. Every team this year has a chance and every fan of every team has hope that this is the year.

The CFL will be able to survive economically. With Ottawa being suspended the CFL now has 8 strong franchises, who are all having reasonably well season ticket sales. The popularity of the CFL in Canada is quite high and every game is being televised this year and with that exposure the fanbase should increase even more.

Yes, but the effect of dispersal drafts is always short-lived because of the high turnover of players from year to year.

I'm peeked on the rosters but didn't see any from Vermont schools. There are several spread among the teams who played at UNH, UConn and schools in Mass.

Correct there is a high turnover rate in the CFL and the effects of dropping a franchise are most obvious now. But any time you lose a team you also lose the worst 42 players in the league, likewise, any time you gain a team you water down the league with 42 worse players.

I also looked through the rosters and couldn't see any players from Vermont.

Fells, if I were you, I'd go up to Montreal and watch a game there anyway, I don't know if you will get to see a game at Molson, cuz most of them are sold out, but you mite get tickets to the game at the Big O.

He could probably get a media pass to any stadium in Canada if they phone ahead or email and verify his credentials.

Yep, the CFL is now my favourite sport. The incredible size and speed of today's atheletes can make traditional-sized venues (like in the NFL or NHL) seem too small compared to the wide-open CFL.

Check out the rosters from here. I do not know the name of Vermont Universities so I can not tell. And this only has their universities, not their home town.

You might want to check with the cfl media relations.


I can easily get a media pass, but I have to make sure I can get the bosses to pay for the trip, gas, food, and a trip to the casino......

Fells welcome to the site and your appreciation for our game, being the best sport entertainment around.
Here is a question for you, due to your proximity to our nation and presumed Canadian TV, is it readily available and are you able to see TSN and CBC.
Also, are other sports fans and members of the media aware of our game? Do you come across many others who share your views on the CFL?

ah, yes, you have to go to the Casinos to help that habit, good on ya! and a free trip to Montreal, well done.

Couldn't you get away with doing a report on players from any New England school to get a free trip up here?

The paper I work for covers only the northern part of the state, and the radio stations cover about half the state. If I worked in Boston or Manchester, NH, it would be an easy one since there are a ton of UNH alums in the CFL.

Argo, I catch all of the CBC games, and some are televised on NESN. Quite a few people here actually share my views on the game. The speed, strategy, and some of the long runbacks off of missed field goals give the game a strong appeal down here.

Here is what confuses me a bit. The NFL for the most part always sells out their games, but from what I have noticed, that isn't always the case in Canada. Why is that?

There are a number of reasons why the games don't all sell out:

  • Some of the CFL cities are fairly small markets
  • NHL hockey rules over all other sports in this country
  • CFL has a history of marketing blunders
  • Perception of CFL as second rate (to the NFL) exists among
    many even though the games are vastly different
  • Board of Governors can't seem to get their act together
    and a whole bunch of other reasons that I can't think of right

i think the CFL was really big and sold-out almost every game the 80's and before that..then the 90's, the league was mismanaged and fans turned away...its just comming back strong in the last couple years....

in 2003, the argos, lions and ticats used to only draw 14K a game. 2005 they all averaged 30K ( the argos even had some crowds of 40K and 45K ) u can see the CFL is making a comeback.

and the 60,000 for the grey cup game in BC is a reflection of that.

One thing Americans must remember is that, in general, Canada has a number one sport which of course is hockey. Unlike the States where, and correct if I'm wrong, but football, baseball, and basketball are all more or less equal. Hockey is the only sport where Canada sends large numbers to the no. 1 league in the world, whereas the other sports, only a very few.
That being said, football has a nice niche, if you will, in Canada, and the CFL in particular. The league has a long history and is in markets without NHL teams. And people want to enjoy taking in a game outside rather than inside sterile arenas all the time. And the CFL, unlike baseball and basketball, and hockey for that matter, is the only Canadian pro league at such a high level, whereas NHL even is really an American run league. If the CFL had of been run properly throughout the decades, it would have been bigger than it is today but there were a lot of administrative blunders, which is too be expected since there was no other big Canadian only league to learn from. But the league is back on track and the Ottawa situation hopefully has finally made the league realize that it can't let in owneres that don't fit the bill, better the league go under than let in flumbling owners. Hopefully they have finally learned this anyway.

From, CFL attendance totals and averages throughout the years.

Year G Total Average
1966 68 1,413,942 20,793
1967 68 1,365,607 20,082
1968 68 1,396,292 20,534
1969 68 1,413,440 20,786
1970 68 1,585,096 23,310
1971 68 1,625,541 23,905
1972 68 1,584,408 23,300
1973 68 1,674,589 24,626
1974 72 1,677,017 23,292
1975 72 1,826,950 25,374
1976 72 2,029,586 28,189
1977 72 2,254,144 31,308
1978 72 2,291,834 31,831
1979 72 2,236,918 31,068
1980 72 2,117,150 29,405
1981 72 2,122,870 29,484
1982 72 2,115,167 29,377
1983 72 2,194,056 30,473
1984 72 1,976,118 27,446
1985 72 1,907,802 26,497
1986 81 2,097,070 25,890
1987 72 1,871,278 25,990
1988 72 1,744,430 24,228
1989 72 1,837,644 25,523
1990 72 1,919,890 26,665
1991 72 2,001,858 27,804
1992 72 1,827,099 25,376
1993 81 1,961,642 24,218
1994 144 2,345,744 16,290
1999 71 1,693,871 23,857
2000 72 1,794,913 24,929
2001 71 1,718,147 24,199
2002 81 2,007,877 24,789
2003 81 2,044,476 25,240
2004 81 2,211,544 27,303

Hey fells, Maybe you could convince your boss that your doing an expose on the New England influence in the CFL, try to parlay that with the recent retirement of Doug Flutie, also like someone else mentioned earlier, though the schools represented up there by New Englend are UNH, UCONN, and some Mass. Schools, with some research you may find out some of those guys hail from the Green Mountain State, also get in contact with the league, I’m sure they’d be very helpful with exposure in the states, and since your media, if they can’t find someone in the league from Vermont, maybe they could have the Als sign someone, just kidding. I have very tenetive plans to catch my first CFL game in Montreal this year too, and I too will parlay that with a trip to the Montreal Casino.

Canadian fans are quite fickle when it comes to football - but it doesn't seem to matter so much how well the team is doing on the field, as it does with how well the team is doing OFF the field (ie, the ownership situation). Look for example at Hamilton this past year. They had near sellouts at all their games (obviously a few of them did sell out). This is a big turnaround from only 3 seasons ago, when attendance was the worst in the League and the CFL had to take over the team. But the Tiger-Cats last season were one of the worst teams in the League.
Another example is with BC and Toronto. These teams were successful in the late 90s (Grey Cup wins) but this didn't translate into strong crowds. Now, these teams are still successful, but they're also very well managed - and they're getting crowds over 30K, consistently.
Ottawa had a tendancy to start the season well on the field, and then fall off towards the end - but no matter what, the fans didn't come out to the park. It's also common knowledge that the Renegades had some of the worst ownership in the League (and definitely THE worst ownership, after Feterik left the Stamps). Ottawa had some exciting players and a fair bit of potential. but they had crap ownership, and so the fans stayed away.
Even in Calgary, where we had a long streak of crowds greater than 30K, and where the CFL is quite strong, attendance started to plummet once Mike Feterik took over the club. We won the Cup in 2001, but attendance steadily fell off after that. Then Ted Hellard et al bought the team after 2004, and for 2005, attendance was back on track. I suspect it will be even better for 2006.
Of course, a winning team will bring in more fans than a losing team, to some extent ... but I think in Canada, attendance at CFL games is more closely linked to how well the team is run.