Thursday, May 3, 2012
Changes to the CFL Draft
Sorry about that.
Anyway, today is the 2012 CFL Draft. The draft has grown in stature over the last couple of years, and the league has made great strides to make the draft a must-see event for fans. But there are a few things that the league should consider doing to make the draft an even bigger event.
The first thing is to move the date back to the weekend. The last couple of years saw a Sunday afternoon start time, yet the league moved the draft to 3:00PM on Thursday. Most fans will still be at work at that time, making them unable to watch the draft. By putting the festivities on television, the league and its television partner TSN, want to maximize viewership. Drafts are no longer niche products; they are mainstream events that interest even some casual fans. By holding the draft on a Saturday or Sunday, more people can enjoy it.
My next idea is to take the draft out of the TSN studio. The NFL holds their draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York; the NHL and NBA host theirs in arenas, rotating them between teams; the CFL could do something similar. Take the draft on the road and alternate between the eight, soon to be nine, CFL cities. There are numerous places in each city that could host the event, and it would be a great way to engage fans while add another revenue stream.
One of the aspects of the CFL Draft that has always bugged me is the eligibility rules. The CFL allows for players that still have university eligibility to be drafted, and that needs to change. The CFL should adopt similar rules to the NFL where a player can only be drafted if he no longer has any college eligibility left or if he voluntarily leaves early to enter the draft. In light of recent examples that have seen teams waste high draft picks, the CFL would be wise to alter their eligibility requirements sooner rather than later.
Those are three changes that I would like to the see the CFL make to the draft. I am sure there are plenty others and I'm curious if anyone has any ideas of their own.