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Commissioner Randy Ambrosie lays out plans to take game global with CFL 2.0

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  • Commissioner Randy Ambrosie lays out plans to take game global with CFL 2.0



    From the moment he became CFL commissioner in July of 2017, Randy Ambrosie always showed a propensity for thinking big.

    His original vision was tiny compared to where he wants to take the league now.

    In a recent one-on-one interview with Postmedia, Ambrosie unveiled plans for what he calls CFL 2.0, a newly imagined global version of the Canadian game.

    The plans, which will be discussed at length at the CFL board of governors meetings on Sept. 14, include creating partnerships with gridiron football leagues in 30 countries around the world, places like Japan, England, France, Germany and Mexico.

    “There’s a lot of football being played around the world,” Ambrosie said. “Look at Japan, they have 400 high schools that play football and 200 universities that play football.

    “England, France, Germany, Mexico … I think to myself, ‘What does this all look like if we knit this together and we assume a leadership role for gridiron football around the world?’”

    What Ambrosie and the governors will discuss is the idea of creating an opportunity for developing Canadian players, who have finished college or junior programs but have not been able to crack CFL rosters, to go to other countries and hone their skills.

    As well, the CFL would look at recruiting players from other non-traditional gridiron football countries to play in Canada.

    Down the road, there could be plans to play CFL games in international locations and send CFL coaches overseas to work during the off-season.

    “Let’s make this league global,” he said. “Let’s not be a small CFL, let’s be a big CFL.

    “Part of it is attitude. It’s just deciding that you’re no longer that same league.

    “There are players around the world we should open our arms to. We should decide our target market is no longer a small market, it’s the biggest market. It’s the best players from around the world. Bring them here and let them be coached by some of the best coaches in professional football that we have in the league.”

    Now surely, some observers will question this kind of big thinking, when the league has enough problems selling itself to Canadians in some of the country’s biggest markets.

    Attendance is poor in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, though there is committed ownership and decent television numbers, and the league is continually challenged with improving player health and safety and officiating.

    There’s also the question of growth within Canada: Will Halifax be finally coming into the fold sometime in the near future?

    Ambrosie doesn’t see those questions as roadblocks at all to growing the game internationally.

    “We would probably all agree that as big as hockey was in North America and in Canada, I think in 1972 when the Canadians played the Russians, it made hockey bigger,” Ambrosie said.

    “If you look at all the pro sports leagues around the world, the global aspect of the game is creating fan intrigue. I think those are real opportunities for us as we set our path toward what we are calling CFL 2.0.”

    The real winners in all this could be aspiring Canadian football players. Currently, once players have exhausted their junior and college eligibilities, they are generally in make-or-break situations when they get to the CFL.

    If they don’t make a team, they have no other real options in the game.

    “That’s it … it’s over,” Ambrosie said.

    “I was talking to (University of Montreal coach) Danny Maciocia. He said last year he had six or seven players who didn’t have any eligibility left and absolutely want to play in the CFL but had nowhere to go.

    “Danny was one of the first to offer that it would be a tremendous opportunity to establish a network or professional leagues around the world where we could send players. We’ve got potential player development opportunities for our players who could use another year or two. Have them go play somewhere else in the world, get a little bit of experience and then come back to our game. I think it’s right in front of us. It is a philosophy but that philosophy has to be met with action.”

    The commissioner also foresees added opportunities for league’s coaches.

    “Maybe some of our coaches could do some guest coaching and share some of the amazing coaching talent that we have,” he said. “That could make coaching in the CFL more attractive. If there was as opportunity to spend your in-season life in Canada and maybe an off-season or two in Mexico, helping them … I think there are almost infinite possibilities here to take our league to the next level.”

    While there will certainly be detractors — some may even see Ambrosie’s thinking as delusions of grandeur — his attitude and his willingness to see the big picture could be a big benefit to the CFL.

    “The value of Apple’s market cap right now is through a trillion dollars which is bigger than many, many, many economies in the world,” Ambrosie said.

    “They had a 1.0 iPhone, but they didn’t stop there and they didn’t stop at 2.0 and they didn’t stop at 3.0.

    “We have to always be asking the question: ‘What’s the next version of the CFL?’”
    From the moment he became CFL commissioner in July of 2017, Randy Ambrosie always showed a propensity for thinking big.His original vision was tiny compared to where he wants to take the league now.In a recent one-on-one interview with Postmedia, Ambrosie unveiled plans for what he calls CFL 2.

  • #2
    Interesting.... Forget the American market a bit and look to grow around them.... Would be neat to see 3-down football be a global sensation.

    I think I like this move with all of the talk of new leagues in the US...

    Opens new recruiting opportunities, feeder team potential and just grows awareness overall....

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Itzgodzilla View Post
      Interesting.... Forget the American market a bit and look to grow around them.... Would be neat to see 3-down football be a global sensation.

      I think I like this move with all of the talk of new leagues in the US...

      Opens new recruiting opportunities, feeder team potential and just grows awareness overall....
      It's a pretty big dream/endeavour because the NFL juggernaut is already established worldwide.
      Rider QB Scrappin in Full Swing

      Comment


      • #4
        Read that earlier today. Sounds all good but making it happen especially bridging the gap between the Canadian game and the game being played around the world is going to be a huge challenge.

        Wont hurt to take a look at the possibilities that it might bring. I cant see too many players from different parts of the world coming to the CFL to play for our minimum wage and that will be another reason to get that wage boosted.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Bigsexydawg View Post

          It's a pretty big dream/endeavour because the NFL juggernaut is already established worldwide.
          Yeah, unfortunately they already solidified the 4 down version as the international version of the game with the IFAF. Canadian football is the oddball variant of it from an international perspective.

          It is possible that other nations would be more open to a different version than the US market is, but I don't really think that is what the CFL is going for here. It sounds like they're looking to get Canadian players into pro leagues in other nations, as a developmental opportunity.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Magnum View Post
            Read that earlier today. Sounds all good but making it happen especially bridging the gap between the Canadian game and the game being played around the world is going to be a huge challenge.

            Wont hurt to take a look at the possibilities that it might bring. I cant see too many players from different parts of the world coming to the CFL to play for our minimum wage and that will be another reason to get that wage boosted.
            Some of these players would likely view the move more as a quality of life change then as a paycheck....

            The biggest win here in my opinion would be getting the 3-down rule set and game play established as the Global standard... that in itself will help draw interest to the CFL..

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by gilligan View Post
              It sounds like they're looking to get Canadian players into pro leagues in other nations, as a developmental opportunity.
              This part I like, the rest is a pipe dream

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              • #8
                With many places already having rugby facilities available and the CFL being a better fit for dual purposing those fields, who knows.
                #keepthepromise

                Onward with escaping the hopeless fantasy of an artificial freedom and darkened picket fences the disillusioned front of friendly foes

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                • #9
                  Things should work both ways. The NFL has a pathway program for overseas players from outside Canada or the US.

                  http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/2...r-nfl-hopefuls

                  The CFL could make provisions for international players (non US or Canada) to be allocated a roster spot.
                  Watching the U19 football championships earlier this year, other countries have some good players. NFL/CFL sized linemen are obviously not that common but there were some extremely good linebackers and receivers from Japan and Mexico.
                  Are players from Japan or Mexico going to supplant US imports - not likely but they could be better than some Canadians.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Itzgodzilla View Post

                    Some of these players would likely view the move more as a quality of life change then as a paycheck....

                    The biggest win here in my opinion would be getting the 3-down rule set and game play established as the Global standard... that in itself will help draw interest to the CFL..
                    Japan, England,France, Germany not so much, Mexico probably. Still coming here for $55K CAD is not going to get a guy much quality of life change from where they already are at.

                    China and or India maybe better places to start 3 down ball.

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                    • #11
                      Maybe some sumo wrestlers from Japan are available for O or D linemen.

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                      • #12
                        Just think of how much fun Rod Black would have telling us 10 times a game which country players come from.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mrguy View Post
                          Just think of how much fun Rod Black would have telling us 10 times a game which country players come from.
                          and which sport they started at........Webster McLeod from Scotland, originally a caber tosser.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Magnum View Post

                            Japan, England,France, Germany not so much, Mexico probably. Still coming here for $55K CAD is not going to get a guy much quality of life change from where they already are at.

                            China and or India maybe better places to start 3 down ball.
                            While India has a large population, they already have a CFL (Calcutta Football League) with 157 teams...although I believe that's the round-ball version. China has a huge population too. Where is the next China Clipper?

                            Bringing in more foreign players might be good public relations but it shouldn't be at the expense of Canadian players. I don't believe we should diminish the role of Canadians in the CFL any further, in fact it could be enhanced. The CFL could team up with local university football teams, with cross-marketing, double-headers, etc, which some CFL teams already do.

                            Helping build interest in USports football should boost fan interest in the CFL too. The NFL recognizes this and has virtually taken over Canadian university campuses for their NFL kick-punt-pass circuses in conjunction with the homecoming games (the NFL donates a whopping $5,000 to university athletics while slathering the campuses with NFL logos). Where is the CFL?

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                            • #15
                              No harm in trying.

                              Love that the guy has vision and wants to grow the brand. He’s not content with being a nine team league in Canada and he’s not content with just being a small time league (which we are on a North American and certainly global scale).

                              In ambrosie I trust.

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