CFL Expects to Have Fans Back in 2021 -- Season to Begin Aug. 5

Football May 28, 2021

The Canadian Football League continues to get good news.  

Last month, officials announced the 2021 regular season will kick off on August 5th.  

That news was a breath of fresh air after nearly 500 days since the last CFL game was played.  The entire 2020 CFL season was scrapped.  The last game played in Canada was the 2019 Grey Cup, won by Winnipeg over Hamilton.  The Blue Bombers defeated the Tiger-Cats 33–12 in the 107th Grey Cup to capture their eighth league title.  That championship game now seems so long ago.

Even better news for CFL fans is the expectation that not only will spectators be permitted back at stands.  There's even some optimism brewing that by August – and certainly be season's end – full stadiums will be allowed.  For outdoor venues in particular, this looks very promising.  That would go a long way towards rekindling the flame of excitement between Canadian football fans and their favourite teams.

Alberta's premier is expressing hope for full capacity crowds at CFL games this summer.  Jason Kenney says the Edmonton Football Team and Calgary Stampeders could sell begin selling tickets in their outdoor stadiums if certain targets are met under the province's reopening plan.  At present, Alberta's plan calls for all restrictions to be lifted two weeks after certain numbers are crossed on vaccinations.

"As long as we hit those targets, which we anticipate doing by the beginning of July, it will be full capacity," Kenney said.

Nine teams will return to action for the regular season.  Four teams will play in the East division and five teans will play in the West division.

However, the return of football doesn't mean everything is back to normal.  For instance, pre-season will start with a "quarantine period" beginning on July 2nd for all players and staff, right before teams begin their training camps on or around July 10th.  Camps will last about three weeks, giving players a week to make adjustments before the regular season Week 1 kick-off.

True to form, oddsmakers are also ramping up and posting numbers on futures, props, and even some games.  Here's the futures odds to win as of Friday, which can be viewed at SPREADS.CA.

Hamilton is the consensus pick as the CFL favourite heading into 2021.  Most preliminary forecasts expect the Tiger-Cats to hoist the Grey Cup, which fittingly, is scheduled to be played on November 21st at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.

We'll begin covering all the CFL teams when training camps begin in mid-July.