By Larry Storm - Corporate Director
November 8, 2000
I think we have found what the CFL has been missing for quite some time
In today's entertainment marketplace, things have to be larger than life, almost artificial. The WWF is without a doubt the best example of that. It's fake, everyone know's it, but because of some great acting and stories, the WWF is an entertainment giant to the point where the NFL offered the WWF a ton of money to move RAW to another day.
Nascar as well is larger than life, 44 cars, 500 miles, a couple hundred thousand fans, and one winner. Ad the fact that they usually show up once a year and it becomes that much more an event.
This is before my time, but I have read of times when Leo Cahill created Argo news 12 months a year, when Angelo Mosca was the most feared man on the field. People like Cahill and Frank Clair stood larger than life and were on a similar plane as Vince Lombardi.
Are those days returning? I think so. And I think the main reason is Mike Clemons. I was at the home finale in Toronto and he has brought an air of positive energy to the game. Sure attendance wasn't great, but this is just the beginning.
Pinball's enthusiasm and love is contagious, just as his smile is, and the CFL will, slowly but it will, gain the positive mindset that pinball gives in everything he does. When he was honoured during his last game as a player, he told Albrect and Schwartz that they will make the playoffs. I'm betting they will. I think that will be the turnaround season of all of sports, especially if they beat Hamilton (I'd bet 50/50).
The league will have a new boss who will hopefully be able to bring a new vision to the game, perhaps a new owner and something the league desperately needs. MONEY! Whoever the CFL goes into agreement with, BCE, Rogers or Global, right now BCE being the front runner, a new age in Canadian sports will occur.
Bell Canada Enterprises is probably the largest company in Canada, with communication and entertainment assets across the spectrum. CFL on Slam by canoe will probably become CFL on Sympatico, but I think that's like moving the Argo's from the Ex to the Dome.
Being Canada's largest private broadcaster with CTV, TSN and Discovery BCE definitely needs something all Canadian broadcasters are looking for. Canadian Broadcast content. The Canadian Football League currently has eight teams, and there is interest in Ottawa, Quebec City, Halifax and London for teams.
The average football game is 2 and a half hours. Not including a half hour pre game show or any post game high lights. Lets say that the CFL, in five to seven years is a twelve team league. Not including a, "This week in the CFL," or pre game show's, there's 15 hours of national Canadian Content programming that only costs the broadcaster the expense of the production crew and satellite time. The CRTC will be very happy.
The CFFA was formed to support, promote and encourage football in Canada. Our game is technically better than any other form of football out there. Being a member of the CFFA means that you know it and you promote it. There is nothing like being at Ivor Wynne or McMahon stadium on Labour day for the best game of the year. But, lets make the other 8 home games just as good.
The media talks too much about how Canadian culture is threatened by the power of the US media machine, but somehow it has always found a way to survive. From our football to our music. So I ask you this, when talking about the CFL, or anything else Canadian for that matter, take the negative statements out. No more of, the CFL can't expand, no more, The CFL can't compete in today's market. Canadian players can't compete against American players. Now it should be, the CFL CAN expand, the CFL CAN compete in today's market, and Canadian players are just as good as American players, if we give them a chance. Oh and for music? The Tragically Hip are better than any American rock band in the last 2 decades.
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October 1, 2000: If the CFL was an Animal ...