Welcome to “Sports from Nowhere” for this final day of the Olympic Games in Rio. All in all, I am sure glad to see another Summer Olympics over with, because I was tired of seeing it on just about all these sports channels.
The main reason I’m glad it’s over is because I was really getting fed up with the usual nationalism and jingoism we’ve come to expect. And as usual, it was mainly emanating from Team USA, in particular its insufferable swim team.
In particular, Ryan Lochte’s half-cooked story that he told about being robbed at gunpoint, when in fact it was his buddies busting a washroom door at a gas station, has made all Americans look arrogant and obnoxious. No wonder people are mad at him.
Honestly, though, I haven’t been too focused on this Lochte controversy, either. In part, it’s because I was focused on covering other important news this week. But it’s also because I have spent my free time concentrating on these other sports besides the Olympic Games. Such as: the CFL.
Why, I don’t know. The CFL is increasingly painful to watch, and that goes double for my beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders who were clobbered in Hamilton yesterday by a score of 53-7.
Needless to say, the post-game shows on the radio were interesting again. Lots of fed-up people were threatening not to renew their season’s tickets over this debacle of a season. Saskatchewan fans feel they are being taken for granted, and they sure are, ladies and gentlemen.
I am noticing more and more consternation about attendance in the league as a whole. Yesterday, the Toronto Argos hosted Edmonton at BMO Field and the attendance there was once again terrible, announced at just over 15,000. Meanwhile, I tuned in the post-game show the other night from BC after they hosted Calgary, and the Lions fans were freaking out on the radio about how bad the attendance was for that game between two teams at the top of the CFL West. It drew only about 20,000. Seriously, people are more obsessed with the CFL’s attendance numbers than they are with the scores for the bleepin’ games!
In particular, people are tearing their hair out about how the local MLS soccer teams are beating the CFL in attendance in these big cities (that also includes Montreal). There is also hand-wringing about the league’s demographics, and how millennials are tuning out the CFL and tuning in soccer instead. But that is nothing new, folks, it’s been going on for years. Of course, the Saskatchewan sports media folks look at this and wonder what’s wrong with these people, but this is what happens in markets where fans have options. They make choices.
My read of the situation is that the CFL is just shooting itself in the foot with all these flag-happy referees, all these challenge flags and booth-reviews, and of course all the controversies regarding roster violations and the like (this means you, Chris Jones). If the CFL wants to be relevant again in the big cities, they need to stop being such a gong show.
As I said, even in Saskatchewan the customers are losing patience, and interest. I was in some establishments the other day where instead of having TVs tuned to the CFL game like they normally are in the province, they’d be tuned to (a) the Blue Jays or (b) the Olympics!
Other establishments no doubt had their TVs tuned into the big fight last night — the Nate Diaz- Conor McGregor UFC 202 fight that went the distance with McGregor prevailing by decision. That, my friends, was entertainment. Fans would rather watch that than this current CFL product any day. Heck, they’d even rather watch the final concert of the Tragically Hip. As I said, the CFL needs to up its game.
Finally, may I add that I’ve been trying to tune in this weekend’s NASCAR racing from Bristol, Tennessee, but the weather has absolutely failed to cooperate. It was rained out last night and it’s raining again today. I have no idea when they’ll get that racing in.
That’s my ranting for this afternoon.