The Death of Canadian football

now before anyone jumps down my throat , please hear me out.

This only my opinion and nothing more than a speculation but , it appears that the interest in Canadian football maybe in jeopardy for no other reason than the shear demographics of this country.

After attending a local CIS football game it was apparent that in general , the student body was uninterested in university level football.
With the exception of a few , most of those in attendance was alumni.

Here's my theory. Again nothing more than a goofball with too much time on his hands on a Saturday night but again , here me out.
As someone who works within the walls of a university for the last 25 years , it has become obvious that the face of the student body has change dramatically.
Is it possible that Asian and brown skin students have absolutely no interest in Canadian football and that attending and playing at this level is the farthest from their minds.
And if so , does this trickle down to the high school level where the recruiting begins?

This could be a serious issue for high schools , college and pro levels of a sport that we adore.

May I add that I have heard that the Barton Secondary football program is in jeopardy for next year because there is not enough interest in the program.Again , I have heard this and have no first hand knowledge of this.

Your thoughts?

Surprised to hear that, out here in Mississauga things are going the opposite way. As of this season, there were 2 public schools in the peel region without football teams, Cawthra Park and Gordon Graydon. Going in to next season, there will be 1, Cawthra Park, which unfortunately is my school. I believe there are only 2 schools on the catholic board without teams.

Interest in CIS football is very strong in Quebec and in the Prairies. In Ontario, the Atlantic provinces and B.C., the interest varies depending on the success of the particular team.

If Canadian football meets its demise somewhere down the road, the root cause will be a Toronto NFL team.

I find it rather insulting that you are “blaming” the lack of CIS football interest on asian and brown skin students. I guess white skinned students are exempt from this. Your post reeks of intolerance and bigotry, as I don’t understand the correlation of skin colour and interest in football. As someone who works at an university, I am appalled.

As an university alumnus myself, and one of those “asian skinned” students, I can say that CIS football is just plain boring. The skill level makes the game not very fun to watch. Until the development at the CIS level improves, the interest will remain low. The same can not be said for the CFL, as it is a very exciting product and the ratings and fan support show that the league is not in any real danger.

I’ve been a fan of the CFL for nearly 30 years now, although based on the colour of my skin, maybe I should stop watching and spend my time watching ping pong and badminton. What do you think?


You seem to be among those who cry racism anytime someone discusses the subject. Intolerance and bigotry are judgemental descriptions without any justification by the original poster's comments. Changing demographics can play a role in sports participation. That's the argument - nothing more.

If anything is going to kill Canadian football, It's the morons running it. They will purposely try to sabotage the biggest weekend in the CIS by moving CFL playoff games to Saturday. Then instead of seeing the painfully obvious that football is huge in Quebec, they'll insist of playing the game in Hamilton. No offense, I love the city of Hamilton but the chance of more than 8-10 thousand showing up to watch is doubtful. Just think of Laval playing in the big O for the Vanier Cup. They get 20 thousand to their home games.The biggest weekend in Canadian football history 55 thousand for the Vanier cup, and 55 thousand for the Grey Cup. Then striking while the iron is hot the CFL could announce a conditional franchise for Quebec City.Oh well I guess on the bright side TSN can show woman's hockey and hill billies on wheels( because football fans will watch that over the NFL) I know how about we play the GreyCup on a Tuesday afternoon! there must be dog show or spelling bee for TSN.

Personally, I've always found CIS to be a great level of play and competition. But whether CIS football or CFL is on the rise or decline, this is not the question for gridiron in North America. Canada doesn't matter and the US doesn't care really. Football in the US will continue to be huge and the NFL will continue to be strong, albeit like all other leagues not as strong with the economy struggling.

So Canada can take or leave football or any sport, it has no effect or very little on what really matters, US football. I love Canadian football, CIS, CFL etc. I know the history of this sport well. I'm also the first to admit part of my excitement for football here isthat I know football is huge down south and will be for a long time and partly as a result, am happy we have some excellent ball here even if it's not nearly as big down south. The national football championships of cCanada at the CIS and CFL levels are part of the Canadian cultural sporting heritage fabric, iconic even if our stadiums aren't packed to the brim. I was at the Casbah last night and watch Matt Mayes and El Torpedo, what a fricken great show. 250 people, not big numbers but doesn't mean these guys like all Canadian bands etc aren't important to what makes Canada, Canada.

Remember, we can talk all we want but Canada doesn't really matter in all of this. Actually doesn't matter in a lot of things what goes on in North America. Canada is an island of sorts and enjoy what we have to make us what we are even if most of the rest of the world doesn't care and we don't affect them hardly at all.

The title of this thread the death of Canadian football should be that will this added - who cares in North America and doesn't affect much of anything.

The CFL's attendance and TV ratings has been growing for some time now.

The CFL is enjoying popularity, and the CIS has never had the exposure it enjoys now.

No worries here.

No worries about the CFL. I heard Commish Mark Cohon on the FAN590 last week and the CFL is doing well in every regard, including progress in Ottawa. As for the CIS, well I attended university 35 years ago and interest in any collegiate sport was virtually non-existant back then. Watching the games on tv these days, it looks like things haven’t changed one bit.

Here are a few possibilities for this state of affairs:
–Canadian universities don’t offer atheletic scholarships like the US schools do (although they do offer some aid). This means the best athletes head south.
–It is treated like a poor 3rd cousin by the univeristies themselves. It is not promoted at all, even at the universities themselves, never mind the broader community.
–After decades of US NCAA saturation, Canadians view the local product as vastly inferior.
–Changing demographic. Students (whatever their skin color) from other countries where football is not popular, are less likely to have any interest in CIS football.

An Argo-Cat fan

I think most of you are missing the point of my post ( including one knucklehead who despite going to university , still can't read.).

the point I was trying to make was , if the student body of both CIS and High schools are becoming more and more diverse, who is going to support traditional North American sports like baseball , hockey and football?
I'm not saying this is a bad thing , it's just the way of the world . Canada has opened it's arms and with that comes the traditions of a difference culture.

If at some point the enrollment at Mac is 80% mixed , it will be a little tough to find interested players and fans alike. This will hold true at the High school level as well.

You maybe right judging by the huge number of Asian and Brown skin fans that are filling the stands in record levels.
My apologies .

Well if he said so....

BTW , did anybody notice how many empty seat there were at the Bombers playoff game yesterday?

Well, I can be a knucklehead have to admit. I agree with what you are saying but you also have to remember we are influenced a lot by what happens to the south of us. More cricket and soccer will come to Canada for sure. But these mixed populations in Canada will be influenced by watching MLB, NFL, NCAA, media is full of this so there will be some gravitating to these sports I think even if the mixed kids parents didn't grow up with these. The kids will learn that soccer isn't nearly as big as gridiron in the US and this will have some affect on what they want to play, same with cricket. What happens in the US is important to what Canadians, new or otherwise, think. Don't you agree?

yes except that the brand new stadium at Mac is empty and football programs are being drop. IF my theory is correct ,where are the players going to come from? I don't see a lot of Asian kids playing Tyke football.

BTW Earl , you weren't the knucklehead , it was the Johnny Cockran post earlier I was referring to.

Statistically speaking, diversity is a ratio---in this case, let's say of white kids to colored kids. However, in terms of absolute numbers, the number of white kids should be pretty much the same from year to year. It's just that the numbers of colored kids increases, thus changing the ratio of white to colored kids. However, there should be about as many white, Canadian-born kids available to teams as there ever were. If teams/leagues go under, there are lots of other reasons for their demise.

Some football teams in Toronto have shut down because of a lack of coaches, liability issues, costs of equipment, officials, ice/field time and even the 'pinking' of the curriculum. There are also a whole lot more options for kids these days, sports and otherwise. Here in Etobicoke, lacrosse has taken off--go figure. Basketball is huge across the GTA--Raptor influenced no doubt.

Still, I keep reading about this highschool or that one starting up a football program after years of not having one. These things are dynamic. Populations change, interests change. It all seems to come around again.

I wouldn't worry.

An Argo-Cat fan

One thing about football is that I believe it is an easier game than most to learn and pickup. I'm a case in point. Never played kids football but in grade 9, made the starting lineup in junior. Played all hockey, baseball, track and just pickup basketball and football. True, the quality isn't as good if you don't play as a kid and learn more of the fundamentals but if you can run and catch, things most boys learn naturally, you can play football right away, don't need to learn dribbling, skating skills. Lineman also use more gross movements. So they will always be able to stock CIS teams even without kids programs. But this begs the question, if the quality does ever drop in the CIS, should the CFL do away with the mandatory Canadian content? This could be an issue have to agree. Interesting discussion.

Knucklehead/Cochrane here. Upon reading my response again, I apologize for coming on too strongly. Can't we all just get along :slight_smile:

The CFL has never really had a strong support from the minority population. What's the answer? Who knows really. I have seen more involvement at the grass roots level (such as recreation leagues that I've played in) from Asian people born and raised in Canada. The biggest deterrent that I've found is that football is not something that Asians play, which is a stupid mental block that needs to be overcome.

There's only one certainty is all of this ... and that is that ARGOS SUCK!


I don't think that Asians and other new Canadians not playing football constitutes a mental block on their part that needs to be corrected; maybe it's just that they like other sports more. That's their prerogative. Soccer is huge worldwide, cricket is a big sport among new Canadians from many countries. Baseball, hockey and gridiron football (3 or 4 down variety) are peculiarly North American sports (with baseball having popularity in Latin America as well). Newcomers can be exposed to them, and some do learn to enjoy them and take them up, whether as participants or as fans. Others just continue to prefer sports they are more familiar with. Nothing unnatural about that.

I understand the issue of demographics possibly having a longer term effect on the fan and player base. It isn't a "problem" per se in my view, though it may become one for owners of franchises down the road. It's a reality that I'm sure owners see and try to respond to. But that doesn't mean the fans/players of the future have a mental block about "our" sport. They don't owe this sport their allegiance, it's the other way around I think-- it's up to the owners to do a better job of appealing to them ("them" being ALL up and coming potential customers).

One issue I see is that football and hockey require expensive equipment that parents don't always find it easy to afford, and the risks of injury are significant. They can give their kids a soccer ball or a basketball much more easily, and the kids can have hours and years of fun at a fraction of the outlay.

are we allowed to say argos suck now?

Opportunity for participation is a major issue, and I think it is a huge factor in soccer's dominance of the collective sports imagination outside North America. As you mention, as long as you can get hold of a ball (or even a round object similar enough to approximate a soccer ball), you can improvise a playing area and goals very easily.

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to the participation of kids from "new Canadian" families in traditional North American sports: even in cases where the kids are interested in participating, there may be disapproval of a sport from their parents. I think this is particularly a concern in football, which is an already violent game which may be perceived by parents to be even more dangerous than it actually is. That perception isn't unique to parents who grew up outside North America, but lack of familiarity adds our natural "fear of the unknown" to the equation when parents decide what to let their kids play.