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Popularity of Canadian Football in the US

Popularity of Canadian Football in the US

The chase for this year’s Grey Cup is ongoing. It’s the favorite sport for millions of Canadians. But there’s a twist. It’s not just Canadians who watch the CFL. One in ten American football fans watch Canadian football—Bleacher Report.

When did Americans fall in love with Canadian football? Is the NFL losing its spark? The short answer is that the CFL delivers entertaining football. The long answer is that the league is far from getting to the NFL’s level.

The CFL’s Dream to Expand

You can’t talk about the expansion of Canadian football in the US without talking about the league’s failed expansion. It all started in 1993 when the Sacramento Gold Miners joined the CFL.

Four teams later joined to increase the total number of CFL teams in the US to five. The teams were given a division (South Division). After two years, the Baltimore Stallions won the Grey Cup.

Many football fans hoped it would be the beginning of the CFL’s dominance in the US. But the hopes were crashed a year later after the CFL ended the experiment. Canadian football cited a lack of interest from Americans as the primary reason for the failed expansion.

However, there were a lot more reasons. There was constant conflict between teams in the US and those in Canada. And the NFL was starting to compete with the CFL, moving the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996.

What followed was that the Baltimore Stallions lost a significant percentage of its fanbase. Of course, the continued infighting among club owners didn’t help.

The CFL Delivers Quality Football

Now that you know the CFL tried expanding to the US and failed but it’s gaining traction, again, you might wonder. What is Canadian football doing different? Canada’s growth has been a journey of decades.

During its attempted expansion to the US, the league suffered heavy financial losses. It has also lost fans in Canada. But it began to work on these two issues the moment it broke ties with US-based teams in 1996.

One of the first things the CFL did after leaving the US was to find sponsors. Next, it introduced salary caps to help all teams pay their staff consistently and reasonably. The league also toughened its laws about ownership requirements, ensuring only competent people could own and manage a CFL team.

Over time, the league worked on nurturing and sponsoring ทีเด็ดบอล quality players even if it meant poaching prospects from the NFL. As a result, the quality of football in Canada improved tremendously.

In fact, Canadian football is a staple on top-tier betting websites worldwide. All you need is to choose a bookie that accepts players in the US and Canada. Then you can divide your attention between the NFL and the CFL.

Canadian Football is Unique

Many football fans know Canadian football has three downs, making the offense side more aggressive if a team wants results. However, there are quite a handful of ways the CFL differs from the NFL. And these differences often inspire thousands of U.S. football fans to watch the Canadian league.

For example, the receiving side must make a play after a punt is made. This leads to return attempts, which add excitement to the game. In the NFL, a punt is followed by a catch, which isn’t particularly exciting.

Another way the CFL differs from the NFL is the size of its pitches. Canadian football fields are large: 110 yards long and 65 yards wide. This creates more space but necessitates an extra player—CFL teams have one more player compared to the NFL.

Still on uniqueness, Canadian football allows players behind the line of scrimmage to move before a snap. Needless to say, receivers are usually in full speed at the snap, which increases options for both the offense and defense lines.

Football Enjoys 24-Hour Coverage

In Canada, football isn’t the most popular sport. Hockey holds the bragging rights in that category. Football comes in second. By comparison, football is available on TV all-day, every day in the US.

Depending on the time of the day, there’s a show about the NFL, college football or high school leagues. Sometimes there are football talks about the XFL. Nowadays, sports networks are also talking about Canadian football.

Why, you ask? According to former CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge, the CFL “certainly satisfies an appetite for live sport when other sports are not in season in the U.S.”

Normally, the CFL season begins in July. This provides American football fans the chance to watch live football in the summer, weeks ahead of the NFL opening. This year, however, the season got delayed and started in August.

Canadians Invented Football

Some people watch basketball because it’s an American/Canadian sport (Naismith was Canadian born). Others watch baseball for the same reason. But did you know football arrived in Canada long before the NFL started?

Canadians invented rugby football in the 1860s, which was later exported to the US as Gridiron. Presently, the CFL is competing for the 108th league trophy. By comparison, the NFL is competing for Super Bowl 56.

Of course, not many people watch a sport because of where it started. But the bottom line is that Canadian football has a long and interesting history. And being home to the original version of the game, it’s no surprise lots of people are intrigued by it.

Summary

The CFL is an interesting league. It’s big enough to attract top players from the NFL. Yet it’s unique enough to attract people who think the NFL is too rigid or too soft. Of course, the exact reasons Americans watch Canadian football vary.

For some, it’s the interesting plays, the defensive action and creativity from O-lines that does it for them. To others, the CFL is conveniently time—it comes after the NFL is done. As such, it provides a chance for football fans to watch their favorite game before the NFL dominates the screens until February the following year.

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