The big Canadian flag at Tim Hortons Field. Photo by Drew Edwards.

Does the CFL have a burgeoning attendance problem?

Seven contests isn’t a large sample size, granted, but attendance is down 6.5 per cent across the league from the first two weeks of last season.

The biggest problem is in Edmonton where the Eskimos have averaged just 24,640 spectators through two home games this season. The club drew average crowds of 30,637 for their first two contests of 2018, a difference of almost 20 per cent.

The Eskimos averaged 27,997 fans per game en route to a 9-9 record last season. Edmonton will have to reach an average attendance figure of 28,965 for the rest of the 2019 season to match that number.

Saskatchewan and Winnipeg have yet to host a regular season game, which should account for part of the league-wide drop-off in attendance.

Montreal has also yet to host a game, however, which should bring the average back down somewhat. The Alouettes failed to reach the 20,000 attendance mark in any of its nine regular season home games last year.

Crowds in B.C. and Ottawa are down slightly from 2018, while attendance in Calgary was up almost ten percent from last year’s home opener. Attendance at Toronto’s home opener on Saturday held steady from a season ago.

2019 attendance figures:

Saskatchewan at Hamilton — 22,287

Montreal at Edmonton — 25,263

Ottawa at Calgary — 26,301

Winnipeg at B.C. — 18,058

Saskatchewan at Ottawa — 23,453

B.C. at Edmonton — 24,016

Hamilton at Toronto — 16,743

Average — 22,303

2018 attendance figures:

Montreal at B.C. — 20,182

Hamilton at Calgary — 23,717

Edmonton at Winnipeg — 25,458

Toronto at Saskatchewan — 29,788

Saskatchewan at Ottawa — 24,224

Hamilton at Edmonton — 31,334

Calgary at Toronto — 16,450

Winnipeg at Montreal — 19,498

Average — 23,831

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John Hodge
John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014. He is a two-time finalist in the Jon Gott lookalike contest.