If Hamilton would be affected by having an NFL team 45 minutes away, they would be suffering now. The Bills have been 45 minutes away since 1960.
If Toronto isn't a passionate city, how come the Blue Jays held the major league record for attendance for over a decade, 4,000,000?
I think that the real problem is that Toronto is like Los Angeles and New York. Namely, because there are so many other diversions, they tend to ignore teams that aren't winning. In New York and Los Angeles, you are either in the playoff hunt or forgotten.
Are the corporate sponsors really going to forget about Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver on the grounds that the NFL is half a continent away? If that is the case, Vancouver already has an NFL team an hour away and would be forgotten now.
What you are missing is how good the CFL is at marketing it's game. I was at the Rough Riders game in Hamilton, and I was amazed at how deep the Ti-Cats community ties are. The NFL doesn't do business that way. They collect the big TV revenue, sell the tickets and unlock the gate.
Los Angeles lost two NFL teams in the same year because the NFL doesn't know how to build the community roots that the CFL does and, when they had to build them to survive, they chose instead to move both franchises.
The average NFL team wouldn't have the faintest idea how to print up a few thousand growth posters to give out at a home game. My three year old already loves the Tiger tacked up on our closet door.
The Ti-cats have already started working to make him a fan for life. They have a whole marketing strategy with summer football camp, cheerleader camp, letting the kids have a turn at the adult jobs like being the pa announcer, selling $12 tickets on the day of the game to high school kids, the works.
You would never see an NFL team doing that kid of stuff. They don't discount tickets for children at all.
The Ti-Cats have a youth booster club that includes a couple of tickets to the last home game of the season, a cheap sports bag or something, newsletters, etc. They also will send Stripes the Tiger to a birthday party. I thought that there were more twirlers on the field before the game than players. Those are the paying customers of tomorrow.
The Argos had a promotion with some retail outlet that provided a deal on four tickets to a game. That is designed to make the game affordable for a family.
You will rare;u see that with an NFL team. They perceive of themselves as having an adult, mixed drink crowd. They would consider a family, no alcohol section to be more trouble than it is worth.
That stuff works. The toughest baseball ticket here in New York City isn't the Yankees or the Mets, even if they were in first place. It is for the Staten Island Yankees, the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Brooklyn Cyclones, who play in the short season New York Pennslyvania League. All three teams put a lot of effort into the sort of things that the Ti-Cats do, and they are more likely to sell out.
You said that football is life in the United States and it isn't in Canada. Don't you think that the NFL owners don't think about that when they see the Argos and BC Lions covering seats because they have no hope of selling them? Or seeing the Argos and Al's playing playoff games before 25,000 empty seats? Do you really think that the NFL owners feel immune?