My fellow CFL fans past, present and hopefully future.
I have read over the years dozens of posts regarding the state of the CFL game. The comments have been positive from the older fans but somewhat negative from the younger (millenniums) category. That is understandable, IMO there is a lot wrong with the CFL and without making hard decisions regarding its structure and regardless of its rich history the CFL will not survive long term. The most glaring flaw is the disparity between the teams in the East and West. As it stands the community owned teams, which are concentrated in western conference of the CFL post annual profits while the eastern conference of the CFL with stiff competition from Music, Film, Comedy along with cultural events post loss year after year. True other CFL cities do have events offering competition but nothing of the calibres of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. I find it ironic these three cities represent the larger populated market for the CFL and the marketing in these regions is lacking or non-existent. Consequently, the teams in these three cities are forced to do it (market) on their own. Montreal is focusing on available CFL players from Quebec, Toronto is creating buzz with MLSE backing and Vancouver retooling completely. Teams like Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Calgary & Edmonton will always have their fan base plus revenue with little to no competition for the sporting fan dollar. If the CFL wants to be regarded as a major professional sport you need the presence of the larger populated markets to attract players and revenue.
A while back the CFL expanded into the US and from the curiosity standpoint alone, it was successful for a noticeably short period of time, but with the lack of due diligence and management the project was doomed to fail. The CFL needs fewer failures going forward. Both CFL 2.0 and Halifax Schooner expansion seem to be necessary but at the same time, I do not think enough though has been put into either. The pandemic (COVID 19) has shown how fractured the business of the CFL is, what worked in the 70’s cannot be expected to be executed now or in the future, plus the teams never talk in terms of the league they all talk in silos each independent of the next. As I read in an earlier post the CFL consists of a larger “Remember When” aging fan base that want the CFL to remain the same. How can a league expect growth with that thinking? The CFL has an aging fan base with little appeal to millenniums generation with limited knowledge targeting that demographic.
The Canadian sports fan is exposed to NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB & MLS in all the major markets and to some degree in the smaller markets. Essentially this is choice presented to the sporting to participate in person or on television. Though the CFL is not mentioned there is a place for it but is will require but its real work and leadership. Lastly, I believe the question must be asked “What does the CFL want go be.”