Video games have quickly become an integral part of a sports league in North America and around the world. Games like FIFA, NBA 2K, EA Madden NFL and EA NHL give a big boost to the leagues they simulate and help grow the game.
The CFL is missing out on a massive opportunity right now that they are going to need to take advantage of to gain some respect from the people who don’t know about the game or choose to not care.
This topic is something that might be difficult for the readers to understand if they didn’t grow up with video games, but a CFL video game or at least the CFL being a part of a video game would be a massive step in the right direction for the league.
The CFL has previously tried to make a mobile phone video game that was more of an arcade-style of a game then the simulation style game they should want to make, but the game works for what it is intended to do. That game is good, but there needs to be the next step taken now.
Let’s look at what a video game can do for a league or a sport. It’s an opportunity to grow your brand. This can be done in many different ways. It can be through an ultimate team where you assemble a team of your favourite players and play against other teams built by users. It could be done through a career mode where you become the star of your favourite CFL team. It could be done through a franchise mode where you have to build the best team possible and compete for the Grey Cup. There are so many things the CFL is missing out on by not having a game.
There are ways to fix this. EA Sports publishes Madden NFL annually and the CFL should be trying to get in on that action. The ask shouldn’t be for EA to make them a game of their own, but rather to add them to a Madden game that already exists. There are many positives to having the CFL join Madden each and every year, so let’s go through them now.
The game sells
It’s no secret that EA sells copies of this game. The sales for Madden 21 were up 20 percent at launch from the previous game, and people are playing more Madden now than ever before. Despite issues with the game, people are buying it at an all-time high rate. This would be a good thing for the CFL. Instead of needing to develop your own game, you could join the Madden party and be the side focus for players. Madden would benefit because CFL fans would have an incentive to buy the game and increase their sales just a little bit more.
Even if the CFL is the secondary focus for users, people would still play with CFL teams. Being able to run a CFL franchise or play for a CFL team would be interesting for people and would be something different, even for the American fans. There would be a YouTube series that showcased a franchise mode of a CFL team and people would be interested to try something new. Something new is also important for this next point.
People would learn about the CFL game
From personal experience, I can tell you that playing a video game for a sport is one of the best ways to learn the rules and how a game works. Growing up, I was never a big NFL or NBA fan, but I played Madden and NBA 2K and eventually learned about the game and wanted to start watching.
One of the reasons people don’t watch the CFL is because they don’t understand the rules. This would be a big help with that. Playing a CFL video game would get people to see how the game works and how some of the rules work. You could begin to see how the rogue works, how the five-yard halo works on punts, and even how you need to pass the ball more often than not in the CFL. It would be a great opportunity for Americans to see how the CFL works, and some may even become CFL fans.
What would the game look like?
Madden offers a variety of different game modes that allow you to play the game the way you want to play it. Imagine taking control of a CFL team in a franchise mode. Signing free agents, drafting and managing your salary cap all while trying to build the best roster possible. Maybe that isn’t for you. Maybe you want to be a quarterback in a career mode. Lead your team to the Grey Cup and become the best QB the CFL has ever seen. Maybe you like the ultimate team. Build the best roster of CFL players you possibly can and dominate your opponents in style. There are so many possibilities with a CFL game.
There is another option for the CFL as far as publishing a CFL game, however. Doug Flutie’s Maximum Football published by Canuck Play was originally released as a Canadian Football game but has since shifted the focus to college football. The door isn’t closed to work something out with Canuck Play and turn the game back into a CFL game. The game has grown in leaps and bounds since it was first released and has lasted much longer than many other competitors in the simulation football game market. The studio is small and the budget is much smaller than Madden, but with the help of the CFL, the game could see rapid steps forward.
CFL fans would by any game that featured CFL players and teams and just getting some sort of simulation-style game going would be huge for the league. The players would appreciate a little extra cash going into their pockets too.
Even if you don’t think video games are worth your time, one is needed to take the CFL to the next level.