Friday, November 25, 2016
Orridge: CFL is Wide Open and Competitive
Riding a wave of high scoring, close games, the Canadian Football League is making progress towards its goals, Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said Friday.
“When we look at the current state of the league, that’s the word that comes to mind: progress,” he said at his annual news conference, a key media event in the run up to the 104th Grey Cup presented by Shaw on Sunday. “We’ve done a lot to move the chains forward.”
Orridge said the game of Canadian professional football is in excellent shape. Offensive scoring, a major concern just two years ago, is up 20% compared to the 2014 regular season, and is up 10% over last year.
“This is a result of making significant changes to open up the game,” Orridge said.
The number of penalties, a concern a year ago, was down 12% in the regular season, or about three flags per game. The league had eight regular season overtime games, matching the CFL record. The margin of victory in more than a quarter of the games was four points or fewer. And the outcome of half of the games remained undecided until the final three minutes.
“I would stack our game against any other,” Orridge said.
He said the league’s goals are to keep the fans it has by engaging them more and more, attract new and diverse fans, and reach and include the next generation of fans.
He cited that fact that while ratings for the CFL on TSN were up by 3% overall, they were up 7% in the key 18-49 demographic, and female viewership is up 7% compared to last regular season.
“These numbers suggest that we are moving in the right direction, and we have lots more work to do,” Orridge said.