Atlantic Canada Could Support a CFL Team-With a Region-Wide Fan Base

Stadium and central location makes Moncton slightly more viable than Halifax

Link to publication: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/powerplay.aspx

HALIFAX, May 12, 2014 /CNW/ - Atlantic Canada has two potential markets for one Canadian Football League (CFL) franchise, Halifax and Moncton, but the entire region would have to support a new team regardless of where it is located.

The Conference Board of Canada's new book, Power Play: The Business Economics of Pro Sports, suggests that the presence of a stadium that is almost CFL-ready gives Moncton a slight advantage over Halifax as the location of a potential first CFL franchise for Atlantic Canada.

HIGHLIGHTS

     Neither Moncton nor Halifax are large enough by themselves to support a CFL franchise in the long term.
     Finding dedicated owners for any new CFL franchise will be key to its long-term success.

"Neither the Moncton nor the Halifax markets alone are large enough to ensure long-term viability of a CFL team on the east coast. If a franchise does come to the Maritimes, its owners will have to work hard to market the team as a regional franchise—one that can attract fans from neighbouring provinces as well, and do so on an ongoing basis," said Glen Hodgson, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist, and co-author of the book.

The two potential Maritime markets, Halifax and Moncton, would be among the smallest urban cities in the CFL. Still, the Regina-based Saskatchewan Roughriders have shown that a team located in a small city, but with provincial and regional reach, can be highly successful.

While Halifax has a much larger population, its biggest challenge—beyond identifying an owner—is the lack of a CFL-quality facility. A significant investment would be required to create a CFL-ready stadium in the Halifax area.

Moncton is even smaller than Regina, although its population is growing rapidly.  With its central location in the Atlantic region, a CFL team based in Moncton could draw support from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The city has a playing facility—Moncton Stadium—which has already hosted CFL regular season games, although the stadium would require work to bring it permanently up to CFL standards.

The book suggests that in the medium-term (approximately 10 years) there is room for steady growth in the number of CFL franchises. Ottawa will re-enter the league this summer. Quebec City also meets many of the market conditions for a franchise. By 2035, even Saskatoon may have the market conditions in place for a second team in Saskatchewan.

A CFL of 10 to 12 teams—if it expanded step by step—would be much more entertaining for fans, and would create new regional rivalries that don't exist today. The issue of ownership is critical. Even in a good market, strong ownership is key to a franchise. Finding dedicated owners for any new CFL franchise will be key to its long-term success, and community ownership is an option worth considering.

Released in March, Power Play: The Business Economics of Pro Sports is authored by economists (and passionate sports fans) Glen Hodgson and Mario Lefebvre. It examines the economic conditions of the communities that host professional sports franchises, looks at the operating conditions for pro sports leagues, discusses franchise ownership and management, and addresses the politically hot topic of who should pay for new pro sports facilities. The book looks at why some pro sports franchises succeed, financially and competitively, while others fail, and concludes with a "fearless forecast" of what the Canadian pro sports scene could look like in 2035.

Power Play: The Business Economics of Pro Sports is available in printed and e-book formats. For more information, visit http://www.conferenceboard.ca/powerplay.

SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada

For further information:

Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448
E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca
The Conference Board of Canada

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