The Superb Owl is in the books. It's the CFL off season. Time to talk expansion. I posed this question on reddit and got a good number of responses. Let's see where we can go with this.
I think Chicago would be a quick solution to having a tenth team in the CFL for a balanced schedule. Can't wait for Halifax forever. By going to Chicago, it buys Halifax or Quebec City time to enter the league. It's the 3rd largest market in the US. The Bears are leaving Soldiers Field for Arlington Heights. There is a stadium available in Soldiers Field with a minor renovations. Easy flight connections to all CFL cities. This is only one location. I'm not asking for multiple expansion but later add more teams. The XFL and the USFL are ignoring this market. The Bears suck. Chicago can support 2 different brands of football in that city. The CFL should move there ASAP
If you say it failed in the 90's or no to US expansion. Don't respond. We have heard your excuses on other threads. I want legit suggestions.
I’d like to see the CFL examine this possibility. Chicago has such a large population that I would think it could get better attendance than Toronto. It would hopefully give us a better deal with ESPN. If they would give us even 4 million U.S. dollars it would be worth investigating.
I also think there’s a small chance Americans might come to Canada more often in the summer/fall which would be good for the economy (especially after the disease that shall remain nameless). Maybe Chicago Lake Monsters would be a decent name but I would leave that to the locals to determine.
Chicago is a natural rival for Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal from the Original Six NHL era.
If the relaunched XFL gets a TV contract from ESPN and is on it's main channel while paying the CFL $200,000 a year and behind a paywall, The CFL should leave ESPN and go to the NFL Network since it would need live summer content before the NFL starts back up.
I like the name you suggested. Chicago Lake Monsters kind of connects to their other name "Monsters of the Midway"
Everyone is going to point out that Chicago can't support a second team - I would look at it how NHL cities have a second lower tier team - Calgary has the Hitmen that play in the same venue as the Flames - different competition level and different ticket price point - Not advocating for the CFL team to share the Stadium with the Bears - but I am thinking that in Chicago you could sell CFL ticket numbers - 20K tickets per game at 35 usd each -
I like the idea of north / south because more teams can be in the same or close to the same time zones. Halifax playing BC is never going to work out for the fans.
Rather than compete or get lost in such a large city as Chicago maybe give more consideration to Tulsa, Louisville, or Omaha that have the large university teams. There are a lot of football fans in Nebraska.
I just don't see people in Chicago taking to a team in the CFL. It'd likely go bankrupt in a season or two. At least markets in Canada will have a fanbase familiar with the game and with the other cities playing in the CFL.
Whether the Bears suck or not, interest in a CFL team would plummet come September when the NFL starts up. Imagine Chicago CFL with a home playoff game in November opposite a Bears tilt, would 5k fans even show up? The only secondary football Chicago has ever supported were the Chicago Rush of the Arena League. Unless You're playing an April-Labor Day schedule, the chances of success in Chicago or any other major NFL market are slim to none.
While I am all for Halifax or Quebec City fielding CFL teams, I am tired of waiting. Other threads have discussed northern based CFL expansion teams in the US, such as Fargo, which I think could work. Chicago is still northern enough for me.
To be honest, I'm coming to the conclusion the CFL should stop putting energies into expansion and rather put energies into some sort of interleague play with the NFL as this Bleacher Report article written many years ago suggests.
Some tickets for the TiCats are more expensive that going to a Bills game, this is well known in these parts. Look, of course there are obstacles but as my Mom always told me they did put a man on the Moon. And CFL expansion seems to be more difficult than that come to think of it.
lol. Hamilton is a great football town but compare the size of the stadium to normal NFL stadiums. The NFL would pretty much demand new stadiums. Hamilton just built one a few years ago. I can imagine how that would go over at city hall.
I'm not opposed to cross league exhibition at all. I have a hard time believing that the CFL would want to take on the NFL again after they got creamed the last time. It would be worse today I would think. The other issue is the NFLPA agreeing to those kinds of matches. I'd want to see a CFL vs LFA, FAM, Superliga, X-League etc. before going up against an NFL team.