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.