2013 Schedule: Beautiful Mess

Published on March 16, 2013 1:45 PM by dbo.

Note: See the Schedules page if you are looking for the 2013 CFL schedule.

The CFL released the 2013 schedule Mar. 5th. The latest release date in six or more years, 2013’s schedule is also the most untraditional schedule in more than a decade.

Schedule Summary

  • The pre-season begins Wednesday, June 12th and concludes Friday, June 21st.
  • The regular season opens Thursday, June 27th with Montreal visiting Winnipeg for the regular season debut of Investors Group Field.
  • Bye weeks continue this year on weeks 6 and 7.
  • Touchdown Atlantic returns to Moncton in 2013 for the third year with Montreal visiting Hamilton and game sponsor NAPA.
  • The Lions host a special August 5th Civic Holiday (British Columbia Day) game against the Blue Bombers.
  • Labour Day weekend gets a shakeup due to stadium availability. Traditional Winnipeg at Saskatchewan on Sunday and Edmonton at Calgary on Monday take place with Hamilton visiting BC on Friday Night Football and Montreal facing Toronto on Tuesday, Sept. 3rd.
  • The Canadian Football Hall of Fame Game comes to Edmonton Oct. 5th with Montreal providing the opposition.
  • Thanksgiving features Winnipeg at Montreal and Toronto at Hamilton at Guelph’s Alumni Stadium.
  • TSN has all regular season and playoff games and boasts 16 double-headers.
  • Six of eight pre-season games are televised on TSN or TSN2.

Schedule Quirks

  • Winnipeg avoids the long start on the road they had last year by opening the season in the new Investors Group Field. I’m sure they are hoping for the opposite start this year with their stadium situation sorted out.
  • Winnipeg and Hamilton’s schedules feature a high 5 home-and-home series, 3 against eastern opponents and 2 against western opponents for 55% of their schedule. Montreal has 4 home-and-home series, Toronto and Edmonton feature 3 while the rest have 2 home-and-home matchups in 2013.
  • While Hamilton has all their home games in their temporary home at Guelph’s Alumni Stadium on weekends, they do have night games, confirming that afternoon games were not a concern due to lighting for HD broadcasts.
  • No team has more than 2 game home stand/road swing through the season except the Toronto Argonauts, who are forced on the road for four games in the month of September. After capping off a 3 game home stand at the end of August on Tuesday, Sept. 3rd, the team only plays 3 more home games the rest of the year.

Schedule Analysis

Looking at the weekday breakdown, Fri/Sat games remains the prime real estate for the league, receiving two-thirds of the games, consistent with the past 3 years. The concern for the league has to be the increase of Mon-Thurs games, which has increased since 2010, now levelled off but with no signs of decreasing.

Table 1: CFL 2013 Regular Season Home Games by Team and Day of the Week
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Stat*
BC 1 4 2 1 1
Calgary - 4 4 - 1
Edmonton - 3 6 - -
Hamilton - - 7 1 1
Montreal 4 1 3 1
Saskatchewan - 1 5 3 -
Toronto - 2 - 2 4 - 1 -
Winnipeg 1 5 2 1 -
Total - 2 - 8 22 26 10 4

* – Four games occur on Stat Holiday Mondays (August British Columbia Day, Labour Day and Thanksgiving)

Game times remain inconsistent across the league and for some teams. Surprisingly Toronto leads the pack with two different game times, a half-hour apart (largely due to their almost all weeknight games). Hamilton trails everyone with seven different times across nine games.

Table 2: CFL 2013 Regular Season Game Unique Start Times by Team
Unique Times Mode (Local) Freq Count
Toronto 2 7:30 PM 5
Montreal 3 1:00 PM, 7:30 PM 4
BC 4 7:00 PM 6
Winnipeg 5 7:00 PM 5
Edmonton 5 7:00 PM 4
Calgary 5 7:00 PM 3
Saskatchewan 6 2:00 PM, 2:30 PM, 5:00 PM 2
Hamilton 7 1:00 PM, 4:00 PM 2

The average number of days between games remains fair and consistent for all teams considering the scattershot schedule some teams are faced with due to stadium availability.

Table 3: CFL 2013 Regular Season Days Between Games by Team
Min Avg Max
BC 5 7.1 10
Calgary 4 7.0 10
Edmonton 4 6.9 9
Hamilton 6 7.1 10
Montreal 5 7.1 12
Saskatchewan 5 7.1 10
Toronto 5 7.3 11
Winnipeg 5 7.3 10

Reviews

Reviews of the 2013 schedule are mostly positive. Saskatchewan is pleased with the schedule, but mostly that it is done. Edmonton was happy with their Friday/Saturday home game consistency. Scribes in southern Ontario focus on the lack of a Toronto/Hamilton Labour Day matchup. We once again invite the media to create the schedule and show us how it is done. The focus in Winnipeg is on the Blue Bombers myriad of back-to-back games with opponents in 2013.

While I think you should look forward to all the games, here are twelve and seven that have been singled out for focus.

Toronto

If anyone has the right to complain, it is Toronto. Their 2013 schedule is worse than last year, but there isn’t a peep out of the Argonauts. A four week/game road swing in September along with 2 Tuesday and 2 Thursday games (44% of their schedule) and no consistent weekday for home games is just awful. Why the media focuses on a missing Toronto at Hamilton on Labour Day in a year where Hamilton is displaced from their home is a mystery. The bigger issue facing the Argonauts is the scheduling at Rogers Centre. With the CFL‘s growth seems to come an effort on Rogers part to give the Argos a disadvantage in their dates. Two years in a row with barely a date available in September? One year is oops, sorry we didn’t leave you any dates in September, two years in a row is not only don’t we care about you, we will put our interests first and give you the worst schedule we can because we want you to fail. Sure, Rogers owns the stadium and has first pick of dates for the Blue Jays, but there appears to be no consideration from them for other tenants. So much so that I am fearful that there will not be enough dates in the summer for the Argos to get games in between Blue Jay home stands (like this year’s exhibition game move to Varsity Stadium indicates) in the future.

While there is recognition of blame to go around, specifically for not getting the Argo/Ti-Cat Labour Day game in the schedule, including on the University of Guelph, Rogers Centre, TSN and the CFL, they fail to see that no one holds any leverage over Rogers and their holdings that control the situation. The Argos are in direct competition with the Blue Jays and other Rogers initiatives and they would prefer they would go away. I’m sure the conversations are all polite between the parties, but there will be no consideration or compromise from Rogers. They are doing their best to make it difficult for the Argos rebuild their fan base without being seen as the cause.

The Mess

The Toronto situation, a one year loss of a traditional game, Hamilton’s venture to Guelph and the domino effect this has on the schedule has created a bit of a mess. People like the traditional anchors. Slotting these games into an eight-team league leaves little variety in the schedule from year-to-year. So while it will stand out from previous schedules as missing tradition and being a little different, these are the growing pains the league will have as new stadiums come on-line. It is a one time thing, Hamilton will be stronger because of the causing circumstances and absence should make fans much more interested next year and in the future. If not, then the tradition doesn’t mean anything except as a streak on paper.

And let us be clear, 2013 doesn’t end a streak of Labour Day games for Hamilton or Civic Stadium/Ivor Wynne Stadium. That was ended already in 1995. The uproar about Montreal replacing Toronto in the 2011 Labour Day game? Toronto’s streak as visitors ended after only 12 years in 1962. In fact, Toronto’s 15 years visiting from 1996 to 2010 counts as the longest uninterrupted streak for that traditional matchup so the league has paid plenty attention in recent years to making the game happen, but it cannot always occur.

A few exceptions in 60+ years of Labour Day Monday games in Hamilton don’t make the game any less a tradition or important. The fact that the game continues, despite the opponent, or missing a year, is a testament to its popularity and support. Leaving it off the schedule is not an indication the league and Tiger-Cats do not get it and don’t believe in tradition. It will be back. As long as the Argos aren’t forced to play at home that weekend as one of the only dates available for their schedule.

The Beauty

Change is good. Variety is refreshing. This year we get something different. How will it affect how the season plays out? They still have to play the games. A new stadium in Winnipeg, Hamilton’s move to Guelph, Touchdown Atlantic and all the games in between have me looking forward to the season. It is just one season, next year will bring a different schedule. And that is the beauty of it every year, even if you think it is a mess.

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2013 Schedule: Beautiful Mess was published on March 16, 2013 1:45 PM by dbo.

1,735 words.

This article is categorized under League and tagged with schedules.