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CFL attendance is on the rise - Metro US

CFL attendance is on the rise

“You can’t help but wonder why Vancouver isn’t a major hotbed for CFL football.”

CFL games generally have been more entertaining in recent weeks, thanks to improved offensive production (finally) and several dramatic, last-second decisions. What really has the league excited, however, is an increase in its attendance figures.

After a third of the regular season, games have averaged 28,777 paid customers. That’s a jump of six per cent from the same time last year.

“We’re pleased,” exclaimed Jamie Dykstra, the CFL’s usually taciturn spokesman. “It’s especially exciting when you consider that, traditionally, our attendance increases even more after Labour Day.”

There’s at least one CFL club, though, that probably should be drawing larger audiences. The B.C. Lions have attracted an average of only 31,120 fans to their home games this season. That’s about the same figure as last season, but their stadium’s capacity is 59,196, and you can’t help but wonder why Vancouver isn’t a major hotbed for CFL football.

Seriously, the Lions are their league’s defending champions and are an impressive 5-1. Should there really be tens of thousands of empty seats at their games?

• In one of those only-in-the-CFL moments, the Calgary Stampeders’ Sandro DeAngelis ran wildly more than half the field and slid in his team’s end zone to celebrate his last-play, game-winning field goal the other night in Edmonton, but to suggest the Eskimos were not amused would be the epitome of understatement.

“It was overzealous and unprofessional,” said the Esks’ Mike Bradley, who confronted DeAngelis face to face. “It wasn’t the kick to win the Grey Cup.”

The Esks cannot wait for Round Two in the Battle of Alberta. It’ll be in Calgary on Labour Day.

• Reasons why hefty lefty David Wells will be released by the San Diego Padres any second now: He is 44, right-handed hitters are averaging .324 against him this season, his earned-run average is a frightening 14.04 in his past four games and he has a contract that pays him $176,241 per start … Lefty Erik Bedard, on the other hand, is on the verge of receiving a huge raise from the Baltimore Orioles. The 28-year-old Ontarian is locked up with Baltimore through 2009 but the club considers him a Cy Young-calibre pitcher and is preparing to pay him accordingly … Looks as though Charlie Manuel will be dumped at season’s end as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies and replaced by one of his coaches, Jimy Williams, which would mean a Williams-Pat Gillick reunion of sorts. Gillick is the Phillies’ general manager and was GM of the Blue Jays when Williams managed them in the late 1980s.

marty.york@metronews.ca

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