The CFL Expansion Thread

I think the best thing the CFL can do is help out with the kids in Quebec city. There is probably lots of football programs out there. If they become more visible they will get more people interested. If they have already been doing this I can only applaud their effort.

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One need only to look at how quickly the Laval football team came into prominence with a loyal ardent following.
In just a few short years this football program was the envy and darling of U Sports.
The CFL can do the same with sensible operations, community engagement and rival cultivation.

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This should be a clear signal to the league that they need to work on building interest in Quebec (and the Maritimes, which showed less interest than Quebec did).

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The lack of interest in Quebec, Atlantic Canada and rural areas corresponds with the lack of community presence .. the lack of local teams.

There is a chicken and egg element here. Do they not have teams because they have no interest or do they not have interest because they don't have teams?

Aggressive expansion, ahead of permanent stadium projects I feel is key to breaking the glass cieling for broadly positive public perception of the CFL in Canada.

I think this regional apathy and lack of understanding of the rules amongst younger people goes away with more exposure.

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Is it too early still to say: Let's Go Argos!?

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Exactly. I’m sure if you conducted a survey in the early 90’s for how many people followed Canadian University Football, I’m sure the number would have been a heck of a lot lower than 64% and look what happened after they launched a team there.

You could do the same with a CFL team in a proper venue

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One step I'd like to see the league take is hosting its annual GM meetings in potential expansion areas (or at least in areas where interest in the league lags).

In recent years, they started moving the meetings around Canada, to places like Banff, Mt. Tremblant, and Collingwood. Why not hold them (once Covid numbers are low enough to justify in-face GM meetings again) in places like Halifax, Quebec City, London, Kelowna, Victoria?

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I think you have a good idea there but I honestly would just focus all my attention on Quebec City or London. The Lions have been going to Victoria/Kelowna/Kamloops for years with their training camps and I haven't seen a surge in interest. If the league focused all their attention out east they would have the meetings plus the eastern clubs volunteering their services.

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Maybe they should put more emphasis on Quebec and London, but I wouldn't want to see any regions left out for too long. Nor do you want to hold your GM meetings in any one place so often that it becomes ho-hum to the locals.

Have the Lions been holding training camps in Victoria and Kelowna? I knew of Kamloops, but not the other cities. The Okanagan is one of the fastest-growing areas of the country, so I think the league shouldn't give up on trying to grow its brand there.

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There is no right way to expand into the United States. Expansion to the states would mean no ratio and no Canadian Football League..... then it's off to join the list of American football leagues:

  • World league of American Football

... NFL Europe is still going right? :wink:

What two Leagues are not on that list? The NFL and CFL.

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Unfortunately, I was paying more attention to the Lions in the 90’s and my memories of that time are more accurate than the last 20 years or so. Time has a way of flying away on us. The Lions used to do a better job of alternating training camps. After talking to you I looked up past training camps on the interweb. It looks like the Lions spent at least 8 consecutive years going to Kamloops. They bounced back and forth between Abbotsford and Chilliwack. I have to think this was done to save money. Once I discovered the level of neglect the Lions were giving the island, I was both shocked and disappointed.

In my opinion while the CFL is a 9 team league they should do a better job of rotating these camps. Make it a super camp out west with Lions sharing a practice field with Edmonton and Calgary. Each club has a turn at using the field.

For example, Lions in the morning, Elks in the afternoon, Stampeders in late afternoon. Clubs sharing some of the expenses would help out. Each Alberta team would take turns playing BC, then return home and play each other. Other years BC could go to Alberta as well. Have a decent rotation between 3 or 4 cities and grow the game.

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And Halifax, Red Deer, Kamloops, Quebec City and Saskatoon are on the list of expansion franchises that are going to save the league? I don't see why Albany NY or Grand Rapids MI are any more insane that Halifax or Quebec City yes they are on the USA side of the border - but they are not Texas or Vegas - Albany is 1.2 million people and 3 1/2 hours driving time from Montreal - Halifax is 11.5 hours drive time - Just on logistics alone Albany would seem to be a better location - Americans will also build stadiums or have stadiums -

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CFL USA expansion teams could adopt AAF style territory rules. They would have their own ratio.

During the 3 glorious years that the CFL expanded to the states the CFL was still the CFL. The CFL is still the CFL today.
The reason why the league is exploring rule changes is because of the decline in interest over the years. However, I have to think that the decline is mostly due to neglect. Unfortunately the league like most people aren’t willing to blame themselves.

A better reason not to expand to the states is the time of year that it’s played. If the CFL expanded during it’s current format they would be repeating history. If they had an October Grey Cup, it would make sense. That would only happen if all the TV networks agreed to give the CFL a huge amount of money.

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Everyone seems to forget that the NFL went to extraordinary lengths to kill the Baltimore team - They moved the team from Cleveland to Baltimore - Baltimore was barely on the list of teams until the CFL team started drawing 36K per game - the NFL squashed it - the NFL was afraid of the CFL getting a toehold on American Soil -

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Really? I don't think the NFL has ever seen the CFL as a threat.
The NFL never moved Batimore, it was the owner that moved them.

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The main problem is that Americans don't support pro football that isn't the NFL. See that list of failed non-NFL leagues in the US.

Canadians do. See the longevity of the CFL.

Another problem is that Americans don't have any grassroots connection with Canadian football. They have their own version.

Canadians in Halifax, Quebec City, London, Saskatoon, etc. all have that grassroots history and connection to Canadian football.

Imagine adding three cities and two more games a week .

Three 15 k stadiums .

Getting the gameday proceeds to just being the gravy day would be so welcome to this fan .

Only talking football and just arguing about teams and players instead of financial survival .It would be such a welcome feeling to get there .

Londons growth and getting 7 k to the existing stadium . Maybe a CPL team can be added .

QC add 2.5 K to Laval . Again with a CPL team with a supporters section one end .

Halifax would be much easier to get built . One tier and include the CPL team with the smaller capacity it would be a nice fit with a supporters section at one end .

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Arena Football League went from 1987 to 2019. That's over 30 years of Americans supporting Pro-football. Indoor Football League has had 13 seasons and it's still going. I'm not saying that these leagues are as awesome as the CFL but they were supported.

I don't think it's really a support problem. It's more of a money issue. Starting up a league is extremely expensive. I'm not a fan of the XFL, I haven't seen any of their games. I haven't seen any USFL games either. If XFL decides to have franchises on the west coast that will be super expensive travel. USFL is doing the right thing by being cheap. I'm a penny pincher myself so I can appreciate the effort. It doesn't matter if there is a long list of dead leagues if USFL makes it to year 2 or 3. All it takes is one league to make it to give another one hope.

Quite a few Americans are gun shy about supporting new leagues because of all the past failures. Imagine your heart constantly getting broken when the league goes belly up. USFL is a made for TV product and the city of Birmingham collects the cash for tickets etc. All FOX needs is a million viewers per game and it'll be a success. They aren't really concerned about attendance in this first year. I think the CFL should wait and see what happens and then make decisions based on actual outcomes.

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I think your ideas work if the CFL becomes semi pro or if TSN forks out lots of money for expansion in Canada.

There are 350 million Americans - this idea that they are all the same is insane - pick a subject - abortion, gun control, deep dish vs thin crust, Crunch vs Creamy Peanut butter - half of them are going to line up on either side of any subject or product - you don't need 350 million of them you need a slice of that - the CFL and USFL and XFL will work in the USA because the tickets prices are way lower than the NFL ticket prices - you need the younger crowd to watch and follow the CFL - we are in a changing world - look at how much Manga and Japanese Graphic novels are being read by younger people - That stuff wasn't around when I was a kid -

And if you did go to New York or Michigan what is the worst that can happen? You get crowds of 15K? Isn't that about what Toronto gets?

I didn't watch much XFL but I did a little google research and the Americans were watching on TV -

ABC and ESPN networks averaged 2,084,000 viewers per game in Weeks 1-4. Fox networks have averaged 2,019,000 per game. According to the league, all 10 of its broadcast games during that period ranked among television's top 10 shows that week, as did four of the six on cable.

The 108th #GreyCup continues to be one of Canada's biggest sporting events, attracting an average audience of 3.1 million viewers on TSN and RDS on Sunday evening. The average XFL game averaged 2/3 of the viewers in the USA as the Grey Cup got in Canada - Fox likes these XFL numbers enough to reboot their own league and run the thing -

XFL teams have averaged 18,614 fans per game. Figures have ranged widely per team, from an average of 28,541 in St. Louis and 25,616 in Seattle to 14,875 in New York and 13,124 LA.

CFL Season Average 22,916 - You telling me that Americans wouldn't show up for a CFL game in the States with reasonable ticket prices? The Shreveport Pirates averaged 17,871 fans per game in 1995 and were trending up when the CFL closed up shop in the States -

I don't buy into this narrative that Americans won't watch the CFL or support CFL teams on US Soil - I think that if you put teams in the States you will get CFL level attendance and 2 million viewers per game on American TV - but you need American Teams on American Soil for that to happen - you don't need 350 million to love the CFL only a slice of them -

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