League expansion, free tickets, and four downs were just a few of the answers we received when asking 100 people in downtown Toronto what would get them more interested in keeping up with the CFL.
“If they invest more money into it and create a more of an experience around it like, I don’t know, the whole tailgating thing seems to be really cool,” said one respondent.
Overall, only 20 percent of respondents say they currently keep up with the CFL, while the remaining 80 percent say they do not. Among those asked, nearly half (48 percent) say that nothing would change their minds.
The remaining 52 percent say they are interested in learning more about the CFL and believe that increased marketing (14 percent), four downs/NFL rules (14 percent), free tickets/deals (8 percent), larger hype around star players (7 percent), tailgating/game day experience (7 percent), and league expansion (2 percent) would make them want to further follow the league.
“I think being able to put player personalities out there and really let people know that these are obviously bigger than life athletes, but on a personality level, these are people that you can really gravitate to and make a connection with — I think it’s really important,” said one respondent.
Out of the 100 participants, those between the ages of 19 to 25 are the least interested in learning more about the CFL, followed by those between the ages of 26 to 35 and those ages 36 to 59. One respondent said he believes that leveraging partnerships to better showcase players from Canadian universities and colleges may attract a younger audience.
“It would be cool if they were similar to what you see in the U.S. with NCAA March Madness. Obviously it won’t be on that level, but just any type of hype and camaraderie and culture.”
Another said that changing the rules to match those of the NFL would be the way to go.
“I think it would create a little more intensity in the games because with three downs you see a lot of punting and CFL needs a little more action, a little more playmaking, rather than a lot of special teams play.”
These findings are on par with some of the data collected in a recent survey by Leger, which 3DownNation wrote about earlier this year. It also echoes another done by Angus Reid in 2018, which showed that 53 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 to 34 prefer the NFL to the CFL. This indicates there has been little to no change in the level of interest of younger Canadians in the CFL for nearly four years.