Last Tuesday, Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young took to twitter and discussed his thoughts regarding the 2021 CFL season. He claimed that this year was “easily the very best season” to date, as the league returned after a two-year absence. The CFL’s 2020 campaign was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which many agree was the right decision.
Even though the CFL has “come out the other side stronger” according to Young, there’s still some questions about the future. To start, attendance around the league was generally poor, regardless of what COVID restrictions were put into place (some stadiums had a capacity limit). Attendance has been going down over the past few years, and it seemed to become more noticeable in 2021.
Additionally, the on-field product simply wasn’t as exciting, especially on offense. The scoring average (per game) dropped by over 6 points from 2019, not a good look for a league trying to attract more viewers. Evidence of this comes from statistics, as there was only a single 1,000-yard receiver (Kenny Lawler, WPG) and 1,000-yard rusher (William Stanback, MTL) in 2021.
Finally, there is the severe lack of leadership, as commissioner Randy Ambrosie has said almost nothing in regards to the regular season. Any sports league looks better when there is clear communication between the teams and the fans, and it’s even more important when that league is struggling.
While the CFL has some work to do over the next few years, Young has certainly recognized the effort it took to come back after a global shutdown. Sports are a great way to keep the public entertained, so it’s hard to complain after everything the business has suffered through.