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What Does the Future Hold for the CFL?

The Canadian Football League was founded in 1958 and has provided some great moments since then, but what does the future hold for this league? There are some exciting possible developments that could make it even better for fans from now on.

Expanding into the International Market?

The potential audience for CFL games has grown in recent years, thanks to areas such as online streaming providers and apps making it easy to watch live sports from anywhere on the planet. The US is the most obvious international market and this research into streaming carried out by ExpressVPN shows that football is the most searched-for sport here, followed by basketball. However, the recent rise of sports like soccer and UFC fights suggests that the streaming market is going to be even more competitive in the future. Since interest in each sport fluctuates through the respective seasons, the key could be in finding the right time of year to market the CFL.

Attracting ex-NFL players could be a way of increasing interest in Canadian football in the US. Tom Brady recently spoke about playing in the CFL, although it wasn’t clear if he was being serious. Aaron Rodgers spoke highly of the sport in Canada being good to watch and of the ‘fun’ cities that have football teams here, but he suggested that he would retire completely from the sport once he’s finally finished with the NFL. Elsewhere, Germany and Mexico are among the countries with football leagues that might be interested in seeing more of the CFL.

Adding a Tenth Team?

This report from CBC confirms that CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie sees the league’s expansion as a priority, pointing out that this would allow them to play the same number of games in 18 weeks instead of 21. Ambrosie said that they’re looking for an expansion franchise in Atlantic Canada and that Quebec City is one of the possible places where this new team could be based.

Currently, the nine teams in the CFL play 18 games over a 21-week regular season, but having a tenth team could make it simpler, as well as potentially increasing interest in the league. Rumors of expansion plans have circulated for many years, with the Maritime provinces, Saskatoon, and even Mexico being mentioned as possible locations for a tenth team. The lack of a suitable stadium has long been one of the problems, but some sources suggest that a compromise could be reached that any new franchise could play games elsewhere while their stadium gets built.

The success of 2022’s Touchdown Atlantic game at Raymond Field in Wolfville helped to show the appetite for regular season football in the Maritimes. A crowd of 10,886 watched that game and the next Touchdown Atlantic fixture is planned for July 29 in 2023, when the Saskatchewan Roughriders are due to take on the Toronto Argonauts at the Huskies Stadium in Halifax, according to Sportsnet. The success of this game could go a long way towards confirming whether a new franchise is viable.

These factors all add up to suggest some interesting times ahead for the CFL. Whether or not these changes actually happen, it should still continue to be a highly competitive league that many people enjoy watching.  

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Priyanka Chaudhary
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