OTTAWA, Nov. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - Six cities - Ottawa, Quebec City, London,
Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, Halifax, and Moncton - have the necessary
economic market conditions to make Canadian Football League teams
potentially viable within their communities.
A Conference Board of Canada analysis (http://www.conferenceboard.ca/reports/briefings/bigLeagues/briefing-11.aspx), part of its ongoing series on the professional sports market in
Canada, assesses how many more cities could compete for the Grey Cup
sometime in the future.
"There is definitely room for more than eight teams in the Canadian
Football League, based on our analysis of the population size, income
levels and corporate headquarters of potential markets," said Mario
Lefebvre, Director, Centre for Municipal Studies. "Market conditions
are fundamental to the viability of any professional sports franchise.
However, when considering future CFL franchises, new or significantly
upgraded playing facilities and dedicated ownership are also crucial
factors in the potential growth of the league."
The Conference Board's Playing in the Big Leagues (http://www.conferenceboard.ca/reports/briefings/bigleagues/briefing-2.aspx) series has identified four market pillars for successful professional
Population size - a market needs to be both large enough and growing in
Income- a market must have a relatively high disposable per capita
Corporate presence - corporations can be tapped for sponsorship and
high-end ticket sales; and
A level playing field - since the CFL plays only in Canada, exchange
rates and taxation issues are minimal factors for franchise success.
Currently an eight-team operation, the CFL plans to expand by adding a
franchise in Ottawa over the next couple of years. By the Conference
Board's market measures, Ottawa has the population size, income and
corporate presence to host a CFL team, although two different
franchises have failed in this area over the past 15 years. With a
rebuilt playing facility planned and an ownership group in place, a
franchise is expected to take the field in 2014.
On the basis of population, income and corporate headquarters, Québec
City would appear to be next in line for a CFL franchise. The Québec
City economy has been one of the best performing in the country (east
of Saskatchewan) over the past decade. Quebec City also has shown
substantial support for its highly-successful Rouge et Or football team
at Université Laval. But the focus in Québec City is on acquiring a
National Hockey League team - it is therefore less likely that
resources can be directed toward the goal of obtaining a CFL franchise,
at least over the next few years.
Two more potential CFL markets are located in Canada's Atlantic
provinces: Halifax and Moncton. With a population of slightly over
400,000 people, Halifax would be a relatively small urban market for
the CFL. And Moncton itself is home to only a little over 125,000
residents as per the 2006 Census, making it even smaller than the
league's current smallest market - Regina.
"For both Halifax and Moncton, the local markets alone are not large
enough to ensure long-term viability. If and when a team comes to the
Maritimes, its ownership will have to work especially hard to market
the team as a regional franchise," said Lefebvre.
Moncton, however, has gained the nickname of "Hub City" because of its
central location in the region. It also has a playing facility that is
almost CFL-ready, Moncton Stadium, which has hosted CFL regular season
games the past two years. For these reasons, the Conference Board sees
Moncton as having an edge in obtaining a CFL franchise for Atlantic
London and Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge (KCW) also have market
conditions that would put them in the discussion about franchises. Of
the two, London has a larger stadium (although still not CFL-calibre)
and is a little farther geographically than KCW is relative to the
existing franchises of Toronto and Hamilton. Kitchener has the
advantage of a wealthier market when it comes to income per capita.
Neither city, however, should be regarded as high probabilities for a
franchise. While the Conference Board analysis indicates that London
has more in its favour than KCW, another CFL franchise in Southern
Ontario is unlikely. Both London and KCW are within a couple hours
drive of two CFL teams (Hamilton and Toronto) and two National Football
League teams (in Buffalo and Detroit), so an additional franchise in
Southern Ontario could take the area beyond its "football saturation
Fantasy Football! How Many Teams Could There Be in the Canadian Football
League? (http://www.conferenceboard.ca/reports/briefings/bigLeagues/briefing-11.aspx) is the 11th in the Conference Board's series Playing in the Big Leagues: What Makes a Professional Sports Team
Successful in Canada? (http://www.conferenceboard.ca/reports/briefings/bigLeagues/briefing-1.aspx)
SOURCE CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
For further information:
Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448