By Larry Storm - Corporate Director
October 1, 2000.
To understand where we are with the Canadian Football League, I think we should realize where we have been. Now if the Canadian Football league was an animal, it would have been on the endangered species list.
Now through the help of the NFL, the CFL is off that list and on it's way to coming off the protected list. But the work isn't done.
We die-hard fans know the CFL is a fast-paced, high action affordable game that does become addictive. We're not the ones that need to be sold on this game, it's the nay-sayers. The ones that have become enamored by the big money and big profiles of the American cousin, that being the NFL.
A great deal of people know, that up until the mid to late 70's the CFL was keeping pace with the NFL as far as attendance, revenue and prestige. If the CFL wasn't a big deal, players like Joe Theisman or Warren Moon probably would not have given the CFL a thought.
If, the CFL were able to lobby local leaders the way that NFL teams are able to, you can guarantee that the CFL would be as strong, maybe stronger than it was 25 years ago.
What things caused the shift, or the decline of our game? A CFL team never held the clout that a similar team in the US had, getting communities to tear down 30,000 seat stadiums and put up 50, 60 and near 70,000 seat stadiums at little, or no expense to the team. If ( for example Saskatchewan had a positive population growth of 7% per decade, the province would be, a lot larger first, and the disposable entertainment income of the province would be a lot greater as well, the largest benefactor would be the Roughriders. Taylor field would probably have never become a 60,000 seat stadium, but the mid-40's would be possible). But I'm dealing with too many what if's and maybe's.
So here's what I'm suggesting right now, CFL fan to CFL fan. With a few weeks left before the play offs. Refer a friend to the CFL, or the CIAU. Ask a friend that thinks Canadian football is a waste if they've ever been to a game. If they say no, casually invite them, offer them the chance to see a game in person rather than on the tube. Here's a possible way to convince them to go, "Hey want to go out for a drink, first one's on me!," "Sure," your friend replies, "Great we'll have a few at the (insert team here) game."
The CFL is funded primarily through gate receipts and the more people we get on the benches, the longer we can guarantee the survival, and eventual prosperity of the game, at all levels.
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