We Got Americans talking CFL, It's the Best!

We Got Americans talking CFL, It's the Best!

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Justin Rowan takes a look at how the ESPN partnership has helped spread the word of the CFL in the U.S. and has started to build a dedicated fan base down South.
The CFL has attempted to break into the United States market several times throughout its history. A southern expansion from 1993 to 1995 was unsuccessful and lead to the folding or relocation of all American teams, causing the league to once again become exclusively a Canadian league. A lot has changed since that time; the CFL has developed a much stronger identity as a league, the fan base has solidified and grown and now we are starting to see that southern expansion is not required in order to capture the attention of a wider audience.

2014 was the first year that ESPN started to broadcast CFL games, but the majority of those were only available online. Things are changing in 2015 they will televise a total of 20 CFL games with the remainder all streamed on ESPN3.

Full article: http://www.thesnap.ca/espn-partnership- ... he-border/

(Here's a sample of some of the Americans comments after watching the CFL:)

Clyde: I enjoy the ‘p*ss or get off the pot’ that comes with 3 down football. I also like that a good QB stays in place for years once a team finds it’s guy, traditionally. I LOVE the big field, deep endzones and the kick return rules. Also I like the auto clock stopping at the end of the half and game. Instead of contrived gimmicks, it’s understood the fans get more football this way. Fun seeing three or four possessions within that time.

Adam: What in the world is going on with this downs situation… I was at a bar with no audio and had to assume for the first several minutes of the game that the coaches in the league were all just terribly frightened to commit a turnover on 3rd down. I watched essentially the entire game and was still super weirded out by it. The rhythm of the game changes completely, and first down runs take on an importance that I was unprepared for (this is traditionally nacho or beer fetching time round these parts).

Ian: I’d definitely have more interest in watching the CFL. I enjoy football in any form, and it provides an entertaining alternative during the sports doldrums of summer, where the only other sport that’s consistently on is baseball, which is always boring.

Sorry Xvys, we can only print negative articles about the CFL here. We can't have any positive articles here. :wink: :thup:

why do we worry about getting Americans talking about the4 CFL… Why don’t we go steal the NFL’s thunder over in Europe and put a franchise in London. Canada has a much better international reputation then the States…

We don't have to worry about whether American fans like us or not, but the fact is 10% of Americans follow the CFL. That equates to 34 million fans...equal to the entire population of Canada. So they like us, they really, really like us!

An amazing 22% of 18-34's in the U.S. follow the CFL...trumping the percentage of Canadian 18-34's who follow the CFL or NFL. That number should not be ignored or discarded. That's a lot of football fans who have an awareness and interest in Canadian football in the U.S.

Will the American CFL fans be the league's salvation?...especially when most Canadians prefer to dump on the league (and enjoy games secretly in darkened rooms)...rather than embrace our iconic national league which has provided so much entertainment for sports fans over the past 165 years or so. :thup:

Ten percent of Americans? you probably mean 10% of ESPN viewers - a few million which is still pretty good.

This comment sums it up

Adam: I was drinking beer and watching football in July… This is all that needs to be said. The level of play was actually super fun.

This is a market we really need to tap into by giving the game more exposure down south, increasing player salaries and work hours, and doing our level best to present a professional on-field product geared towards what makes our game unique: 3 downs, wide field, waggle, etc.

Expansion-wise, our first order of business is to add a 10th Canadian team somewhere in the East, but after that's done, I would be all for a limited, carefully considered US expansion if the same national/international ratio rules applied to the US teams.

The only way to truly tap in to the U.S. Market is to go down the expansion route again . There would need to be the right location and Play by the same rules as the Canadian teams . As soon as NFL and college starts, we dissapear off the radar .

Bin there, done that, big fail. I say no to another US expansion. First there are not enough US fans who would follow alternate football ( United Football League ).
Just because the CFL might be well watched on TV does not indicate it would be a success venture.

Another aspect is you say " same rules as Canadian teams " . That would not work as they would not be subject to the import ratio rule as that violates the US labor laws. That is why the US teams were using all Americans.

Yes , that's why I stated " same rules ". I'm well aware of U.S expansion fiasco in to Canada. Huge asterisk by the Stallions GC win in 95.

I know this is off topic , but the Stallions success was not because they had the luxury of all Americans , but because they had perhaps the most brilliant coach in CFL history who knew he needed to stack his team with CFL vets.
As for the 95 GC, Stamps played like crap .They saved their worst game of the season for most important one. Still hurts.

Agreed. As much as expansion in the 90's may have "saved" the League financially, it did little to add any US interest long term and may have, in the long term, done damage to the fan base down south. I also agree with others that it's a good thing to work to increase viewership in the US as ratings equal revenues but there are only certain times of the year that Americans will watch the CFL in any great numbers and that window is closing now as we approach the opening of NFL camps.

I think the CFL is smarter now and will understand that expansion north of the border, no matter how modest, will bear more fruit for Canadian football in the long term.

They were able to start an all American O and D Line and replace them with just as skilled linemen . HUGE advantage. Pringle ran at will. Calgary could not cope. Was unfair. Especially in Regina where the gail force winds that day made the passing game useless.

......Back ON TOPIC , We need to worry about the 9 teams we have now. Americans watching on ESPN is not going to help fill the seats in Canadian stadiums.

Americans love their football, no doubt. Can only imagine what ratings would have been like if the CFL had this level of exposure for Ricky Williams' first game. It was the lead story on ESPN national radio broadcast (ahead of the Stanley Cup Final).

Also, I wouldn't advocate expansion without the same ratio rules, nor would I want more than two American teams initially. Assuming we have 10 teams in Canada by then, adding two American teams in the northern US brings us up to 12, which is a very solid number for a small league. Then you'd have an even number of teams making and missing the playoffs, which would lend a lot of urgency to the whole season. A bad start might be fatal to your playoff chances; currently, you can have a horrendous start but still recover in time for the postseason.

Agreed .... At the time the league was in big trouble and needed cash . Things are different now . Issues are the right place and the ratio rule .

True. Saskatchewan would need to go to 0-7 before we could seriously talk about them not making the playoffs.

The way things are going so far this season, they won't get a "cross over", could be the first ever East crossover to the West for a playoff game.

I get what you are saying slim. It is just that the chances of Ott having a better record than both BC and Wpg are next to none. No disrespect to a much improved Ott team , but BC and Wpg will not be that bad. At least not both of them.

First post (or first in a few years).

I love the CFL or else why would I be here?

I also love the NFL and MLS (not sure why there are so many soccer and MLS bashers on here, I find it odd).

I live in one of the biggest markets in the US and work for the MLB team there.

But when I see articles like this I take it with a grain of salt.

I have to plead with bar owners to put the CFL on and they won't unless there's no other sports going on.

The CFL is still nothing more than an obscurity in the US and that's only June-July before the NFL preseason.

I have attended games in Montreal and Toronto with my wife and in Baltimore.

I love the game and the players and the competition and quirky rules. Always have.

I think a US expansion with more sense is coming (not Las Vegas or Shreveport!).

But let's be realistic-the CFL is not on in most bars and clubs in the US. I wish it were so but I see crap like MMA, drag racing and softball on in the background more than the CFL. If bars are showing games and people are getting into it that's awesome but where the hell is this happening?

Only the customers/fans can "convince" the owner/manager of sports bars to put a specific show on the TVs.
Six of us got together last year and went to several Sports Bars we frequent, talked to friends we have and explained the CFL in simple terms and they agreed to watch the games as long as they were not initially put on the large screen TVs. With his steady customers asking the Managers agreed to show the CFL games on two TVs, one at each end of the bar, making them visible from both the bar and tables. We then agreed to use our laptops and connect to the two TVs if the game was only on ESPN3. After the customers ask a lot of questions and got use to the different rules and play of the CFL the games stayed on and by the end of last season and the start of this season the number of TVs with CFL has increased and there are now CFL fans that follow the schedule to watch the games. We have also found that as these new fans go to other Sports Bars the number now showing CFL has increased.
Will these individuals give up NCAA or NFL, NO, but they do want the CFL on TV along with them.