Friday, April 25, 2014

Not That Surprising That the Saskatchewan Roughriders Go Over 2013 CFL Salary Cap

So only the Riders went over the salary cap in 2013. However the team only went over the cap (4.4 million) by 18K. That's below the barrier of 100K where a team loses draft picks and the penalty is just a 1 for 1 extra dollar hit. 

I've argued before that there is an incentive for richer teams (which is pretty much the Riders and maybe the Edmonton Eskimos) to go over the salary cap by $99,999 as the monetary penalty is relatively small and no draft picks would be lost. The Riders are widely profitable compared to the other teams in the league, so the extra money is meaningless to them. 100K is potentially 20K per starting offensive lineman, which isn't chump change in the CFL.

I suppose it should be pointed out that only Saskatchewan went over and they won the Grey Cup. However what I find interesting, is that the Ticats set a record for players used in a season (88) due to injuries (and maybe trying out a lot of stiffs in game) and didn't go over themselves. I know a player going on the nine game injured list means their salary doesn't contribute for those games on the salary cap, but what happens for players that are injured for one game at a time?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Raptors Playoff Ratings Game 1, Meh

@TSNScianitti just tweeted television ratings for game one for the Raptors at home against the Brooklyn Nets. Average 539K, "peaking at over 2.17 million unique views." Compared to the CFL the unique views are impressive, but the average is nothing special. That game and all CFL games are on TSN, so there's no broadcast versus cable effects.

As a way of comparison, in 2012, the BC Saskatchewan pre-season game had over 400,000 viewers, whereas the Ticats Argos pre-season game has 336,000 viewers. Generally I think the CFL should broadcast more pre-season games, or at least the Saskatchewan ones.

The CFL has the advantage for advertisers that more fans are in Alberta and Saskatchewan, where males make more on average and the median. I'd be curious to see how Toronto centric viewership was.

Friday, April 18, 2014

More CFL Google Trends Data

In my previous post, I discussed a recent 538 blog post on Google trends data on North American pro sports teams. That article looked at data from 2004 to now. However considering how poor the Ticats were in that era, I was curious how popular they were in 2013 when they managed to make the Grey Cup (the first time since 1999 against Calgary).

Unsurprisingly the Cats were relatively improved. The Riders were top with a score of 21 (they won the Grey Cup which couldn't have hurt). The Eskimos were well back at 11, tied with the Bombers (which seems weird considering the Bombers were terrible, but they have dedicated fans obviously).

The Alouettes and Lions were tied at 9, the Ticats and Stampeders were tied at 8, and Rob Ford's Argos were last at 6.

So the Cats were tied for sixth in the CFL, which is quite respectable considering there's not a lot of fans for Hamilton outside Hamilton, unlike some teams which basically get an entire province. I'm expecting this year to be high partially because soon people will start Googling about how the stadium is progressing. I'm not sure if that qualifies under any publicity is good publicity.

538 Post With CFL Data on Combined With Other North American Sports

Nate Silver's new incarnation has an interesting blog post on the relative internet popularity of North American pro sports that includes both CFL teams and Mexican soccer teams. Obviously I like that they included CFL teams, but I thought including Mexican soccer was interesting as well.

The stats show Google trend data from 2004-2014. Unsurprisingly the Saskatchewan Rough Riders are the most popular of the CFL teams on the internet with a score of 0.27. That's almost as popular as the least popular NBA team, the recently sold Milwaukee Bucks and tied with the St. Louis Blues (admittedly over the past ten years the Blues haven't been a great team in the past decade). They're also more popular than the NHL's Ducks, Lightning, Hurricanes, Coyotes, Predators, Panthers and Blue Jackets. They're way behind Guadalajara of La Liga Mexico. There's two teams in the MLS more popular than the Riders. Toronto FC and the Edmonton Eskimos were tied at 0.23, which was still more popular than five NHL teams.

Unfortunately for the Ticats, they were last in the time period at 0.11 but they were still ahead of 11 MLS teams. In the Ticats defence, the 2004 to 2014 time period was quite poor in terms of wins. That also pretty much coincides with Bob Young's ownership tenure.

After Edmonton, the next more popular teams were the Lions, the Alouettes (who no doubt have had their popularity on Google trends spiked this week by trying out and signing Chad Johnson (who also has a lot of Twitter followers) to a two year contract), the Bombers, the Stampeders and then the Argos at 0.13.

Hopefully with the Ticats' recent success last year the Cats Google trend popularity will increase (although probably matter much revenue wise). Interestingly for Toronto FC, there's a lot of relative internet interest that doesn't convert into much in terms in of Canadian television ratings. However the CFL has the advantage that for each game two Canadian teams are always playing, whereas the Canadian MLS teams are often playing teams like the Columbus Crew who surely don't have a lot of Canadian fans.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Montreal Alouettes Sign Chad Johnson to a Two Year Deal

I'm still not sure whether signing these old NFL star receivers is a good idea for the league or not. I suppose that the Alouettes can get rid of him whenever they want (and I assume Johnson isn't broke enough that he couldn't quit whenever he felt like it), so the team should be allowed to do anything that makes the team better. I'm just not sure that the team is better today. At the least, he'll have a high percentage of getting injured at some point due to his age and break from playing competitive football.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tim Horton's Field

I took these photos from the past couple of posts the past Sunday. Looks like there's still a lot of work to be done. I'm growing more skeptical about the stadium being ready for late July's opener. Another snow fall this week probably didn't help.

Tim Horton's Field

South side of West Stands

Tim Horton's Field Rear of West Stands

Still a lot of work to do. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

April Tim Horton's Field Progress?

Not much word lately on how Tim Horton's Field is progressing. At least there is more seasonable weather now, but with the first scheduled game on July 27th a little over three months away, that's not a lot of time. In theory the stadium is supposed to be ready for July 1st, but that seems quite laughable now.

I'll swing by tomorrow to take some more pictures. I think the real question at this point is whether the stadium will be ready for the Labour Day annual against the Argos. I would give even odds on that bet.

Thoughts on Montreal Giving a Look at Chad Johnson

Word is that the Alouettes will work out former NFL receiver Chad Johnson. Johnson is 36 and last played for the Patriots during the 2011 season, where he had 15 receptions for 276 yards. So 2014 would be three years from his last mediocre season.

I'm on the fence as to whether this is worth it for CFL teams. Usually not much comes out of it, although Andre Rison did win a Grey Cup with the Argos in 2004. Sure it drums up some publicity, especially in the US, but how good does the league look picking up washed up NFL stars? I've long thought that the CFL could get more revenue than it currently does from the US, but I'm not sure stunts like this help.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Possible Halifax Business Leaders for a CFL Team

Frank Magazine has a list of who might be involved in a Halifax CFL team. Frank Magazine has learned who Mayor Mike Savage and Canadian Football League bossman Mark Cohon were courting as potential business boosters for a possible HRM CFL expansion team and new stadium.

On February 10, Mayor Mike, along with city CAO Richard Butts, hosted several meetings around town with the creme de la creme of the municipality’s business elite.

User Stach27 then posted this on the CFL subreddit:

The leaders named are as follows:
Don Clow - Crombie; CEO
Don Mills - Corp Research Associates; CEO
Francis Fares - Fares Real Estate; President
Fred George - Gammon Gold (Now named AuRico Gold); Former CEO
Jim Spatz - Southwest Properties; CEO
Patrick & Sean O'Regan - O'Regan's; Co-Owners
Colin MacDonald - Clearwater Seafood; CEO

Stach27's commentary:
So just to round this up, we have multiple property tycoons, a market research company, a seafood giant, an automotive retail chain and the former CEO of a gold mining company leading the charge for a CFL team. That seems like a hell of an ownership group to me.

I think having property people on board is key as to make this work, it is going to have to be part of a larger property redevelopment deal, sort of like Lansdowne in Ottawa. With the CFL salary cap, making a team work financially, or at least come way closer to break even isn't that hard. The Gliebermanns could fuck it up sure, but a competent operator should be OK.

For the CFL, adding a tenth team leads to a balanced schedule, which should have significant upside for all teams. Because of that, the CFL should figure out what that is worth and possibly make a small contribution in relation to that sum for building a new stadium.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Linden Gaydosh, Ticats' 2013 First Round Pick, Where Is He?

In 2013, the Ticats drafted the Calgary Dinosaurs' defensive tackle Linden Gaydosh first overall in the CFL draft. Gaydosh has never been on the Ticats roster as he was signed undrafted by the Carolina Panthers. Which was obviously unfortunate for the Tiger-Cats, although Gaydosh didn't play a down for the Panthers, ending up on the injured reserve list for the entire season after back surgery.

Here's an article on how Gaydosh is getting ready for the 2014 season with the Panthers after recovering from back surgery. What does this mean for the Cats? The Cats retain his CFL rights and there's no guarantee in the ultra competitive NFL that Gaydosh will stick around when the regular season rolls around. Then again the Panthers must see something in Gaydosh having him on injured reserve so he won't be just camp fodder. Plus even if the Panthers were to dump him another NFL team might give him a look. Gaydosh is just 23 so he could easily spend another couple of years bouncing around NFL practice rosters like current Cat Samuel Giguerre.

Anyways, could we see Gaydosh playing a down for the Cats in 2014? Possible, but unlikely. He would certainly be a ratio-breaker for the Cats and would be an awesome backup for Bulcke initially in the middle of the Ticats defensive line.