Some things the league could do,
Establish some sort of program that will identify promising youth, especially in the so-called skill positions, and give them training so that there will eventually more non-imports at those positions in the CFL. People often say that a non-import QB would be great for marketing the league. I think that would be true, though perhaps to a lesser degree, if there were more non-imports at running back and receiver, and if more non-imports were regularly pulling in the big numbers that the imports are.
Try to “vertically Integrate” the Canadian football system. Right now, it seems like the different organizations do their own thing, and the CFL just does the best with what they get. More co-ordination between the different organizations could be beneficial. This ties in somewhat with the previous paragraph.
Cross-promotion with CIS programs. At Queen’s, none of their teams seemed as popular as the football team. Western and Laval both do well at the gate. There is obviously an interest in attending football games, but I’m not sure if transfers to the CFL. I don’t know where grads from other schools go, but many students from Queen’s are going to end up in Toronto, and could be future Argo fans. Advertise at the games. Give out a number of free CFL tickets and give discounts on tickets to anyone who goes to a CIS football game. This is already happening a little bit with the Vanier Cup being paired with the Grey Cup this year and last year (Thanks to MRX. They’re not all bad.) This could be expanded, though.
Further to FYB’s idea of bringing new Canadians, each team could reserve a certain number of tickets for cultural organizations, like the Japanese Canadian Club of Hamilton. Don’t just give them the tickets, though. Host an event night where they can learn about the basics of the game, learn a bit about formations, different types of games, teach them something about strategy. It took me a long time before I could understand the rules, and I’m still pretty lost when it comes to the strategies.
Convince Sportsnet to hire a former PR guy from the CFL, a former Alouette Centre, and a former Argonaut defensive tackle to write about the CFL or talk about it on the radio. (Oh wait, they already did that).
Some things that we can do personally,
Don’t be such a cheapskate! If you can’t afford the time or money to go to games, at least buy some team merchandise and wear it in public. By wearing team clothing, you’re essentially a walking advertisement for your team, and also the league. It would also help to “normalize” being a CFL fan. Some people think that no one cares about the CFL because it doesn’t look like there are a lot of fans. I think more people care about the CFL than it seems, even in Southern Ontario, but we’re just less visible.
Organize a bar night with a bunch of friends or something, for the away games, or if you don’t live in a CFL city.
Stop bashing the NFL. Personally, I’m not into the league that much, but if I were someone who only watched the NFL, I’d be turned off by all of the anti-NFL sniping that I see from some CFL fans. Talk our league up without putting their league down. In general, people don’t win me over to their tastes by insulting mine.