To start things off, I am a canadian and a fan of CFL expansion into America. I know the expansion in the early 90's that failed (with the exception of baltimore that got bullied by the NFL); but i'm a believer that we can learn from past mistakes and avoid them). That being said I have read all the points this site makes and it looks like you have a lot already figured out. However there are some major hurdles/problems that St.Louis and any american cities looking to join the CFL.
So here's a list of hurdles that must be surpassed before relocation:
- Bigger TV audiences
You may or may not know this but the NFL network does broadcast CFL games during the season. So a good start would be watching games, introducing the game to friends and family, demand more broadcasts and help gain awareness. This is crucial because it will get the fan base started.
- Getting ownership possibilities in line
I've read on this site of potentially a community owned team or a potential owner to buy the team. If that can generate support from a strong enough fan base (interested in the CFL game) then St. Louis can move to the next step.
- Getting the CFL to come play an exhibition or season game in St.Louis
Since the rapid expansion the CFL has been very cautious with it's expansion process. When we lost the Ottawa Roughriders at the end of 1996, the league jumped the process and tried to bring back one of the leagues founding cities too quickly by bringing back a franchise five years later in 2002. Unfortunately, they didn't not win games and slowly attendance dwindled down to eventual bankruptcy in 2006. In 2008 Ottawa went through a six year process to finally bring back their team in 2014, which has brought in smart management and with the new CFL expansion draft format has seemed to have worked, including a Grey Cup appearance last year. With all that being said the CFL has had many exhibition games even season games in potential Canadian cities, although without stable ownership and a couple shaky fan bases nothing has worked out. If exhibition games are played in St. Louis and it has enough ticket sales at these games to generate ownership interest then the next step can be taken(probably the hardest and biggest hurdle). One good way to get the CFL to play games in St.Louis would get a petition going and sending it to them and city council.
- Adapting To CFL Rules
Most of you who have watched even 10 minutes of a CFL game can spot one key difference is that there are only downs. Their are other key rules that you may not notice. For one the style of play. The CFL has a longer and wider field than NFL or NCAA football, which allows for an extra player on each side of the field. Also there is a lot and I mean A LOT of motion behind the line of scrimmage prior to the snap. But probably THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE OF ALL. Is that in the CFL we have a ratio rule and by this I mean that each team must have a minimum of 21 Canadian players on the roster and have a minimum of 7 Canadians on the starting roster as per (http://www.cfl.ca/game-rule-ratio/). The problem is the american labour force union won't want to follow that rule. So there is probably the biggest Issue and gonna be the hardest hurdle to jump over.
In Summary, it's gonna be a long road and will probably take four to six years to get a team in St. Louis if all goes right. This is also the process any other american city looking with interest in CFL expansion will have to go through. And not to mention the NFL bullying cities out of getting a team. Although with all that said and done, I am personally routing for St. Louis. If St. Louis is successful in bringing in a team, the team could be a building block into American cities joining the CFL.
- Other smaller issues
- paying players in Canadian dollar
- St. Louis wouldn't be able to keep the Rams name
- Travel costs for teams
I agree that Canadian content/ratio could be a big barrier to the league event wanting to try US expansion again. I don't believe the league wouldn't want to abandon Canadian content as it could have negative PR implications on the home-front.
To compensate, I'd propose a local-regional ratio rule for the US teams. One whereby US teams would be required to match the Canadian ratio with players from a designated home-region.
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