CFL urging Canadian kids to “Try Football”

Who: The Canadian Football League.

What: A new ad campaign, “#TryFootball,” promoting the sport to Canadian youth.

When & Where: The campaign broke July 4 and includes TV and online ads as well as 11,500 football giveaways. There is also a dedicated portal,, where visitors plug in their postal code to find the nearest football league. Former Toronto Argonauts/Edmonton Eskimos player Brad Smith is the program’s official ambassador.

Why: It’s the latest initiative in the CFL’s $3 million commitment to grow the sport in Canada. Reports say that participation in football is declining as parents worry about the health risks associated with a physical sport.

Speaking at a government hearing on sports concussions in April, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said that support for football is “underwhelming and disappointing,” noting that just 100,000 Canadian youth now play the sport, down 40% over the past decade.

How: The campaign is anchored by a 60-second spot featuring youngsters playing football accompanied by a voiceover fondly recalling days spent playing the sport. The sepia-toned spot strikes a wistful tone, opening with the words “Do you remember that feeling… of playing outside with the sun on your back?”

Individual teams are also promoting the program through a series of grassroots initiatives. The Calgary Stampeders, for example, will first First Nations schools to distribute footballs and promote diversity, while the Hamilton Tiger Cats are working with elementary schools in the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board and the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic School Board to deliver 1,000 footballs to children between the ages of 6-12.

And we quote: “Fun and football have always gone hand-in-hand. Our passionate fans have built an incredible foundation for the game, and by delivering footballs to more new Canadians, youth, families and communities, we’ll welcome the next generation of Canadian players and fans.”—CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie.



Chris Powell