Report puts Moncton ahead of Halifax for CFL team
The Conference Board of Canada has Moncton edging out Halifax for a Canadian Football League franchise in an assessment of potential future markets released Tuesday.
It contends six cities have the necessary economic market conditions to make CFL teams viable — Moncton, Halifax, Ottawa, London, Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, and Quebec City.
The CFL, currently an eight-team operation, already plans to expand by adding a franchise in Ottawa over the next couple of years.
The Conference Board believes Quebec City would be next in line, based on its population, income and corporate headquarters.
But Quebec is focusing on getting 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, according to the report, called "Playing in the Big Leagues: Briefing 11 – Fantasy Football! How many Teams Could there Be in the Canadian Football League?"
Neither Moncton nor Halifax have the population base required to ensure long-term viability of a franchise at about 125,000 and 400,000 respectively, according to the board.
"If a franchise does come to the Maritimes, its owners will have to work hard to market the team as a regional franchise—one that can attract fans from the neighbouring provinces as well, and do so on an ongoing basis," the report states.
But the board notes that Moncton has gained the nickname of "Hub City" because of its central location in the region.
"With its central location, a team based in Moncton could benefit from the support of the entire province of New Brunswick (with a population of more than 750,000) and much of the rest of Atlantic Canada," the report states.
Moncton also has a playing facility that is almost CFL-ready, Moncton Stadium, located at the University of Moncton campus, 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 Canada," the report states.
Meanwhile, although the board's analysis suggests London has more in its favour than Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, it says both cities are within a couple of hours' drive of two existing CFL teams in Hamilton and Toronto, as well as two National Football League teams in Buffalo and Detroit.
As a result, another CFL franchise in Southern Ontario is unlikely because it could take the area beyond its "football saturation point," it states.
According to the board, a professional sports franchise can be successful over the long run in a specific market if four market conditions are met:
- A large enough and growing population
- A relatively wealthy market
- A sound corporate presence
- A level playing field