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Will the CFL ever expand?


habsfan1

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It's been the same 8-9 teams for a very long time. There isn't much competition with that few teams. Almost everyone makes the playoffs, every year. I haven't followed any news pieces about whether anyone has pitched the idea for a near future.

 

So is an expansion something that is desired by a numbers of fans or buisness people? Do the potential expansion locations (Halifax, Windsor, Victoria) have a feasible football stadium? There's a couple things I was wondering.

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Halifax's stadium would need expanding, or build a whole new one. Victoria and Windsor don't seem to be anywhere near possible, honestly.

 

The likely suspects are Quebec and one of the Maritimes (Halifax or Saint John).

 

Also, the CFL, since the US expansion, has had a bit of turbulence. Baltimore moved to Montreal. Ottawa Renegades joined. Then folded. Then the Ottawa Redblacks joined.

 

The problem is, Canada has 35 million people. Less than California. Now, imagine California having 9 CFL-level teams. Where would you put them?

 

Out of the 35 million Canadians, 14 million are in Ontario, home to three teams. Quebec is next with 8.2 million and has 1 team and Ottawa right at the border. BC has 4.6 million and one team. Alberta is next with 4.1 million and two teams.

 

After that, Manitoba and Saskatchewan with 1.282 million and 1.13 million respectively. That's it. The maritimes have 942k and 753k in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick respectively. That's low. And Halifax (NS) is widely reported as the next possible city to have a team.

 

PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador are both out as way too small. BC doesn't really have the population base for another team. Vancouver Island as a whole has 765k population which is about the same as all of Nova Scotia. BC, however, would probably try to ward off the competition being that close.

 

Alberta, a populated prairie province thanks to oil and mountain tourism has the two biggest cities hosting teams. And then SK and MB both have teams in them (SK with Saskatoon and Regina being about equal compared to Manitoba's cultural/urban hub of Winnipeg.

 

As stated, Quebec City could host a team. And anywhere near Hamilton or Toronto would probably be out. Such as London, who almost hosted the Tiger-Cats while their new stadium was built (they went to Guelph near Waterloo/Kitchener instead). London has 366k and could host. But would they build a decent enough stadium.

 

Windsor is an option... but why? If they want to support professional football, there's the Detroit Lions just across the river. And with 210k, that's pushing the absolute lowest limits to support a team. It just wouldn't work.

 

The problem with Canada is that it's AAA sports played nationally across a territory as wide as the U.S. It takes a lot of fans to support the teams to support that kind of endeavor. Which is why nothing has ever come through with the maritimes. Though Halifax is always near the top of the list.

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I always liked my crazy idea that they could expand to Buffalo if the Bills went to LA. I don't think any significant number of Americans currently go to Ti-Cats games, so I don't think it would hurt them attendance-wise. I could be wrong, though. Probably don't  have to worry about that now.

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I think yes, at least Halifax to invite the Atlantic market in.  Quebec City would be a fine fit, the province is quite football mad, though I'd prioritize Halifax.

 

I'm not certain there's room anywhere else without cannibalizing existing markets.  Victoria has a population, yet I'm not certain their demo cares about supporting a CFL team on an annual basis.  Kitchener/Waterloo feels too near Hamilton, would hurt both. I know Moncton was in the Atlantic conversation a few years ago, alas I just don't see Halifax being shunned for them.

 

As for the health of the league, for a league that's been on death's door often enough, with the new stadiums in Hamilton, Regina, soon to be Calgary I think, + renos in Vancouver & Ottawa, I'd say the league is as healthy now as it's been in a couple decades.

TSN/Bell Media treat it like a flagship product, it's a national brand, & it's really the top tier summer/fall pro sport (outside Toronto) for the country.

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I can see room for one more team in the CFL, in the Atlantic region, whether it is in Moncton or Halifax. That's really it as far as Canadian markets go.

10 teams would also very nicely balance the 18-game schedule, and the crossover playoff qualification rule could be abandoned, because the East and West divisions would both have 5 teams.

If our national population doubled, I could see more room for more franchises, but I think 10 teams coast to coast is just about perfect for the top-tier league in a localized code of football, in a country of Canada's population. 35 million Canadians total and ten teams means, on a pure numbers basis, a potential market of 3.5 million per team, which I think is pretty decent.

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2 hours ago, Magnus said:

 I think 10 teams coast to coast is just about perfect for the top-tier league in a localized code of football, in a country of Canada's population. 35 million Canadians total and ten teams means, on a pure numbers basis, a potential market of 3.5 million per team, which I think is pretty decent.

 

Agreed, though I wish they could tighten their calendar a good 3-4 weeks.  I've beaten to a pulp my take that it's A. hard to get on board during the summer when the entire CFL machine tells me 'the real season starts on Labour Day' & B. also rough to place much value on a 6 team playoff of a 9 team league, let alone the champion of said league.  10 teams, start July 1st wkend, Grey Cup 2nd week of Nov.  This year's Grey Cup is Nov 27, a bit of a reach for me.

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A 10-team league would be ideal — it'd give you balanced schedules, balanced divisions, and a more equitable playoff structure. And, especially if the team was placed in the Maritimes, it would stretch the league a mari usque ad mare, which would be great for its image.

 

Ideal, yes, but not necessarily practical. Québec City and the Martimes are probably the two most heavily-speculated locations. The former is out since the Als have territorial rights to the whole province. As for the latter? I'm not too sure. IIRC, Halifax's stadium seats ~18K, which is around 5K too small for a full-time team. Perhaps moderate upgrades can be made to add seating and to make the stadium more CFL-ready. However, there's still the issue of ownership and fan support, which are big question marks.

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Moncton might make more sense than Halifax on the basis of being centrally located for day trips to games, even though Halifax is the biggest city (excuse me, Regional Municipality) in the Maritimes. I wouldn't even think about Quebec City; they need to mount a full-court press just to get the NHL. Trifling with three-down football would just get in the way.

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2 hours ago, the admiral said:

Moncton might make more sense than Halifax on the basis of being centrally located for day trips to games, even though Halifax is the biggest city (excuse me, Regional Municipality) in the Maritimes. I wouldn't even think about Quebec City; they need to mount a full-court press just to get the NHL. Trifling with three-down football would just get in the way.


Yeah, Moncton could be the smartest geographic choice for the Maritimes.  Nova Scotians, PEI islanders, & Saint John ppl could each hit up a few drive-ins for games.  In which case I would have to think they'd brand themselves the Atlantic 'x's & not Moncton in that case.  

To be fair, Saskatchewan seems to have proven regionality can work.  Hamilton on a smaller scale I think too.

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I have long thought the Atlantic Snappers (as in lobsters or crabs) would be a great name for a Maritime CFL team.

The logo would be a big claw with football laces.

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9 hours ago, Magnus said:

I have long thought the Atlantic Snappers (as in lobsters or crabs) would be a great name for a Maritime CFL team.

The logo would be a big claw with football laces.

 

Please not Raptors claw with ball logo imagery.

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55 minutes ago, greyraven8 said:

Could always resurrect the Atlantic Schooners name & possibly logo for a potential Atlantic team

 

5n4vkz63sswlou94uvq1kf7xn.gif

 

They're not the Schooners. They're the Sailboats. 

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On 5/4/2016 at 8:23 PM, Sykotyk said:

Windsor is an option... but why? If they want to support professional football, there's the Detroit Lions just across the river.

 

I think you have just made the most convincing argument you can for the folks of Windsor to support a Windsor CFL franchise.

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Windsor- No. We can't support the 2-time champion Express basketball team. Yes, it's sort of a novelty league, but we're barely putting 1,000 fans in the seats once or twice a week. Plus a lot of folks go to Ford Field and the Big House. And there's university Lancer football as well. The CFL would die a quick death.

 

Quebec City is a possibility but I'd say Halifax is the safest bet and only real option at the moment. 

 

 

 

 

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Wasn't there some talk about the Silverdome being used for CFL when the Lions moved downtown to Ford Field? Endzones would've been a huge issue, but I don't know if it was idle speculation by the media on what could possibly be done with the old stadium or whether there really was some cursory level interest by the CFL for a Windsor/Detroit-area based team in Pontiac.

 

If any of the border cities/states lost their NFL team, a CFL team would be a feasible replacement even with the lingering affects of the US expansion of the 90s. Seattle, Minnesota, Detroit and Buffalo could be prospects, though with their stadium deals it would be a few decades now probably.

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