CFL attendance down so far

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Blame it on the World Cup.  Or something.

Through the early portion of the CFL season, attendance has dropped in comparison to 2013.  The Toronto Star has the numbers.

Seven of nine teams have had their home openers, and each team saw fewer fans this year than last year.  The biggest drop came in Regina, Saskatchewan, where the RoughRiders rode a plummet in paid customers from 35,296 last year to 19,285 in 2014.

In Toronto, perfect conditions in the sky resulted in less-than-perfect conditions in the stands for the Argos first game.  Only 17,758 showed up, down from 29,852 in 2013.

Even in Montreal, with Chad Ochocinco now in the fold, the attendance fell by more than 10 percent from the prior year’s home opener.

The good news, if there is any, is that the expansion Ottawa RedBlacks have announced a sellout for their home opener on July 18.  The bad news is that the stadium holds only 24,000.

While short-term trends don’t mean much, it’s won’t be easy to sustain a nine-team league with attendance at or below 20,000 per game.  Regardless of whether the CFL will endure (and it most likely will), there’s a long way to go to make the CFL into something more than a D-level professional football league, in a world where the only other pro football league has been perched at A+ for decades.

46 responses to “CFL attendance down so far

  1. The CFL just got a deal from ESPN, to show their games on ESPN2 that should help too, they have to be getting paid right? Maybe more are watching the games on TV…?

    Maybe sign more big name known former players that left the NFL like Tebow, Young and Leinart would help?

  2. In Saskatchewan they have historic flooding and the game was for the most part a passing thought for people who had to sandbag their houses.

  3. The Regina number reflects the number of people who attended the game, during a severe rain storm that flooded out much of our province causing a large number of communities to declare a state of emergency. In fact to reach the stadium some had to wade through knee deep water and plan alternate routes due to the flooding of underpasses.

    The number of paid customers was much higher as per available tickets on TicketMaster the week prior (the team announced only a couple of thousand remained).

  4. If it ain’t fixed, then you essentially broke it. That’s embarrassing if the CFL can’t pilfer enough action away from the poorly run NFL. Do better or go away and make room for another American football league.

  5. Soccer has nothing to do with this. Remember, this is Canada we’re talking about, not United States North. They don’t get ESPN, they get TSN, which is run by the same company.

  6. If the CFL folds, where will the Packers’ draft busts play?

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    Wow, kind of a snarky comment given that the most iconic coach in your team’s history, Bud Grant, coached the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to 4 Grey Cups. FYI – the “Grey Cup” is the championship trophy awarded to the best team in the CFL – I know you’re not very familiar with championship trophies.

  7. thebiblestudent, I’ve never heard the term Redblack used as a racial epithet. Is that some sort of Oklahoma thing I’ve never heard of?

    Regardless, it is the name of the Ottawa football team. The get the name from their uniforms which are red and black. Just like the uniforms of the NHL and CHL teams in town.

    Similaraly, the New Zealand national rugby union squad, the All Blacks isn’t a racial epithet either. It refers to their uniform, which is all black.

  8. Sorry to say, buddy, but I get all of the ESPN broadcasts and NFL Sunday Ticket up here for $32 a month. Try getting Sunday Ticket down there for that price. Up here, you can watch pretty much any game you want on regular TV. They don’t have Blackout rules. So for a season of College football on ESPN and NFL Sunday Ticket, I buy the package for 4 months then cancel. What is the price of Sunday Ticket, BTW. So four months comes out to 128 bucks.

  9. Stick to NFL commentary. You have no clue about the Canadian game nor what is needed for it to be sustainable. You are attempting to assess it by applying NFL expectations. Up here, the professional league is a different concept entirely.

    The league has been around, in one form or another, for over 150 years. True that there are many more distractions today but the CFL is still viable, especially in the western provinces.

  10. Wow, kind of a snarky comment given that the most iconic coach in your team’s history, Bud Grant, coached the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to 4 Grey Cups. FYI – the “Grey Cup” is the championship trophy awarded to the best team in the CFL – I know you’re not very familiar with championship trophies.
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    I guess you didn’t realize that Bud Grant came to the NFL from the CFL, not the other way around like your players.

  11. I think the arena league might be a good fit for Canada. There’s always good weather inside under the ac. Unless it’s in San Antonio, of course.

  12. Toronto is the worst city in the world. Not a sports town, it’s a hockey town and the Maple Laughs are a joke anyways. I wouldn’t step foot in that city again if you gave me a million dollars.

  13. The CFL is losing young constituents to the NFL due to the popularity the NFL is presently experiencing. I know I used to watch the CFL wondering if I could see talent that would eventually make it to the NFL. Unfortunately that has been few and far between and as such I find Arena ball more interesting than the CFL. The CFL will exist even if the Canadian government has to prop it up because it is not the NFL and shows Canada’s independence from American football. It will trend up and down depending on the talent but presently that talent is few and far between.

  14. The CFL was once a very good quality league. Not quite as good as the NFL but close. The difference was that the players were smaller — smaller guys with talent who would be stars in the CFL, but in the NFL would likely get hurt.

    What killed the quality CFL was the USFL in the 1980s, which drove up salaries to the point where the CFL couldn’t compete for top talent, or keep their own stars. It sounds surreal now that before the USFL, CFL teams sometimes could sign first round picks from the NFL draft, or poach quality free agents, but they did.

  15. billswillnevermove says:
    Jul 9, 2014 12:32 PM
    Toronto is the worst city in the world. Not a sports town, it’s a hockey town and the Maple Laughs are a joke anyways. I wouldn’t step foot in that city again if you gave me a million dollars.

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    Yeah…. fourth largest economy in North America, beautiful women EVERYWHERE, safe – even in “rough areas”, liberal (women can be topless, and often are), tons of great food and great music. You’re right, Toronto is absolutely garbage.

  16. medialovesthecowboys says:Jul 9, 2014 1:09 PM

    billswillnevermove says:
    Jul 9, 2014 12:32 PM
    Toronto is the worst city in the world. Not a sports town, it’s a hockey town and the Maple Laughs are a joke anyways. I wouldn’t step foot in that city again if you gave me a million dollars.

    ————————————————————
    Yeah…. fourth largest economy in North America, beautiful women EVERYWHERE, safe – even in “rough areas”, liberal (women can be topless, and often are), tons of great food and great music. You’re right, Toronto is absolutely garbage.
    _________________________________
    Safe…even in rough areas? Don’t make me laugh. Recently, gang-related incidents have been on the rise. Between the years of 1997 and 2005 over 300 gang-related deaths have occurred. American gang experts have been brought in and increased funding for programs in troubled neighbourhoods have been recently initiated. Other organizations, including the New York City-based group Guardian Angels, have come to Toronto despite the massive displeasure of city residents, city officials, and politicians.

  17. CFL is not in competition with the NFL, it has been around for a long time & has a rich history. Some Canadians prefer the NFL, & that is fine. Personally I love both, as I love football. There are news stadiums & a large TV contract. The attendance is not a big concern, it will improve as the season goes. There are many explanations for the ebbs & flows, but at the end of the day lots of people love the league & it isn’t going anywhere. Many Americans come to play in the league & they will always be welcome:) The issue with a developmental league in the US will always be that the NFL is alpha dog & always will be. In Canada, the CFL is not trying to compete with the NFL, & many players enjoy being a star on a team, rather than a practice roster player on an NFL team. & yes Saskatchewan fans were dealing with terrible flooding, so that evidence should be dismissed.

  18. Yeah. I like both leagues, too. Can’t stand arena football. Looks too squishy. I’d be claustrophobic. And the CFL is much older than the NFL.

  19. Oh, and watching last year’s Grey Cup was very cool. So much more…quaint?… than the overblown Super Bowl stuff. And come on now, the gal that did the anthem had a Flying V guitar! \m/

  20. 19,285? Isn’t that the average attendance at Jacksonville Jaguars games?

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    Are you seriously this stupid? The Jags have a better attendance than we do in St. Louis….and their team has sucked for the last 6 years. Hell, that joke is lame, even towards the Raiders (who cap their attendance max at around 53,250). While it is somewhat annoying that Jags fans complain about it, I honestly can’t blame them since people tend to ignore them, only to turn around and ignorantly claim that they don’t exist (ironic since I sometimes wonder why 60,000 people willingly go to see one of the worst teams in the NFL get destroyed).

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