CFL 2.0 - GIVE IT SOME TIME!
Published: Tuesday, Jan 28th 2020, 7:01am
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
It’s been quite a while since I’ve had the chance to sit down and write about the CFL. Truth be told, I had a time switch at work that leaves me little time for my own family, let alone the Piffles Podcast. Add to that getting another puppy and my spare time is essentially non-existent.
Then my laptop decided it no longer wanted to be friends, yada yada yada…
Long story short, I have some things about the CFL I’d like to talk about.
First, let’s take a look at CFL 2.0 shall we?
Ever since Commissioner Randy Ambrosie announced this initiative, it’s been met with immediate hate. ‘FIX THE PROBLEMS HERE FIRST BEFORE LOOKING OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY’, being the main thing said by many.
I agree, there are quite a few homegrown issues that the CFL needs to address, but let’s hold off on that for a minute.
First, CFL 2.0 is a LONG TERM game. It’s not an immediate fix. Was never planned that way, was never intended to be, so I’m not really sure why people are so hung up on this already.
Maybe next time we talk to Randy Ambrosie I’ll ask him how long term this plan is… maybe we’ll get a better sense of it then.
Are any of these Global players going to be stars? Likely not anytime soon. They just aren’t at the same level as the players over here already.
Do I like a guaranteed spot for a Global player on the roster? Yes. They’ll only improve in practice going up against CFL caliber players. Development will take time. That said, the salary cap should have moved up a touch to reflect this.
Do I like that they took away an American spot for a Global spot this year? No. I get it, it’s a token spot on the roster right now, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of someone who is ACTUALLY going to see the field. Just make the roster 46...
Obviously the big draw for this 2.0 initiative right now is the TV deals the league can secure outside of North America. The more people watching the game, the better. Ideally, it will result in salaries going up for all our CFL players, but we have yet to see that happen. BUT, just give it some time!
We all want our players to make more money. But, very few CFL fans are okay with ticket prices being raised… well, that’s the only way salaries are going to go up right now. If ticket prices go up, attendance will drop. See the problem here? That’s why there is a need for extra TV deals. 2.0 is still in its infancy and it will be more than 1 offseason before we see money from any TV deals, something that players and most fans don’t understand. Give it some time...
As for the homegrown issues, there is no quick fix. People just aren’t into going to football games as they used to be. All 9 teams have their own unique problems, some that are out of the league’s hands. For example:
BC - They’re selling kids tickets for $7!! What else are they supposed to do? People just aren’t buying them. Are we just waiting on David Braley to sell the team before things change?
Calgary - Core fans are still there, but it’s a Flames city and McMahon Stadium is a dump. That’s a City issue, not the fault of Ambrosie.
Edmonton - They have a very good fan base. They also have Connor McDavid, the best hockey player in the world. People want to see that. The Esks lost their franchise QB in Mike Reilly, while that’s sort of out of their hands, Trevor Harris doesn’t exactly scream BUY TICKETS TO SEE ME
Saskatchewan - The team has priced their fans out. While we still have a big number of season tickets, we seldom sell out a new stadium. People just don’t have that kind of money to go to a football game anymore. Plus, Chris Jones scared people away. Maybe Craig Dickenson changes that?
Winnipeg - Same kind of thing as Saskatchewan, big number of season ticket holders, but gets too costly. Winning last year should help sell some tickets this year, though.
Hamilton - Nearly a sell out every game. Not really much else can be done here. They found their sweet spot and it seems to be working well.
Ottawa - They nailed it. Their fanbase has latched on and WANTS to stay latched on. They had it good with multiple Grey Cup appearances in the first few years of the franchise, but they let a good QB go without an offer. That’s on the GM. Once they start winning games again, the fans will flock back… especially with how much hate for the Senators there is out there.
Toronto - I wish I knew what the answer was for The 6ix. The truth is, the Argos are behind the Leafs, Raptors, TFC, Blue Jays and the NFL. That market is so big and so diverse that it baffles me they can’t get 15,000 fans to BMO Stadium consistently. Cheap tickets, great promotions, but people just simply don’t care. They need STRONG winning seasons to even start building that fan base. Not just a championship with a 9-9 team… they need to be 12-6, 13-5 consistently, along with some titles. Pinball Clemons back in the fold is HUGE for them. I hope it doesn’t backfire.
Montreal - They’re starting to turn it around. They had so many good years with Anthony Calvillo and after he retired, the fans saw the losses pile up and they stopped going. They have DEEP pockets now with their new owners and finally have a QB of the future. I think we’ll see them on the upswing for a while.
Too long, didn’t read… give it some time. 1 full year isn’t enough for any company to see how a long term vision is going to work.
There are many things the league needs to work on, but that doesn’t mean they should ONLY do one thing at a time.
CFL 2.0 isn’t going to change our game, it’s not going to ruin it. In time, it will ENHANCE our game. I know it’s hard to wait… as fans, we want results NOW. Take those goggles off here for a second though… this is a business and needs to be treated as such… especially when we as fans are starting to refuse to pay more for tickets, there has to be other avenues… 2.0 is just one of those avenues.