Is Canadian football’s popularity growing on the international stage?

Football is a sport many Canadians have fallen in love with over time. This has in turn led to it becoming more popular to play in schools and colleges. As a result, many young Canadians now choose football when thinking of what sport to try or which sport to hopefully pursue a pro career in.


The Canadian Football League is the premier competition to follow and the natural destination for young footballers in the country. It is also in a great place right now. It has picked up plenty of fans in Canada itself and also appears to have extended its reach far beyond that now. But is Canadian football really growing in popularity globally?


Bookmakers show growth of Canadian football internationally


Even if you do not bet on sports like football, it is still interesting to observe the burgeoning popularity of Canadian football globally with bookmakers. As these bookmakers are at the cutting-edge of what is happening in sports, the growing number in the US who are starting to carry CFL matches as a betting option is worth noting.


While the best football odds for betting on NFL games have long been a staple of these sportsbooks, the presence of CFL markets is a real eye-opener. This illustrates that Canadian football is starting to really gain a better international reputation and expand into new markets.


What else shows the growing international popularity of Canadian football?


It is easy to see the growth of Canadian football domestically, with things like the 2023 CFC Prospect game on TSN and the high viewing figures in Canada for regular season CFL games. Football from Canada has also picked up traction globally recently, but what shows us this?


To begin with, you simply need to look at the greater media presence the CFL has picked up in recent years. It is not uncommon now to see the latest stories around Canadian football reported via global media outlets. This is especially true for major events such as who has won the championship each year. The greater media presence the Canadian Football League currently enjoys globally clearly shows that it is making real inroads internationally.


It is also worth factoring in links between overseas countries and their football federations. In 2019, the CFL struck a partnership with Nordic countries (including Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway) to help push the Canadian football brand up a notch globally. By pursuing deals like this, football in Canada has come to the attention of many more sports fans internationally.


Growing interest from international viewers


For proof of how popular CFL games are now internationally, you can also look at the number of overseas TV networks who carry them. In the UK and Ireland for example, BT Sport bring games from Canadian football to eager fans in these countries. In the USA, ESPN now shows CFL games across its network.


It is pretty certain that networks like this would not show Canadian football matches if there were not a demand for them. When you also factor in rising numbers of fans who follow the CFL overseas — especially from those countries with plenty of Canadian immigrants, it becomes clear that the league is expanding globally.


Why is the CFL growing internationally?


Now that we have looked at how the CFL is growing on an international basis, it makes sense to look at why. The first reason is simply that games in this league are great fun to watch and full of exciting action.


In addition, the unique rules of Canadian football matches give them a different feel. As a result, it helps Canadian football to stick in the international fan’s memory and becomes a viable alternative to other football leagues.


It is also important to remember that the majority of the CFL season takes place when the NFL is not playing. This means that people overseas who want to watch football over the summer tune into Canadian football as the only option. It is also important to note that top players who have moved from the NFL to the CFL have helped a lot. This has brought a much greater level of attention to Canadian football internationally and inspired more people to begin to follow it as a result.


More international growth possible


The growing profile of Canadian football internationally is easy to see. This kind of expansion can only be good for the CFL and good for young players coming into it. If the league can continue what it is doing as well as looking for new ways of reaching out globally, such as playing some CFL regular season games abroad, then the future is very bright.


Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Comments are closed.