Canadian Football League

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Notre Ligue. Notre Football.

The Canadian Football League or CFL (Ligue canadienne de football [LCF] in French) is a professional sports league located in Canada. The CFL is the highest level of competition in Canadian football, a form of gridiron football closely related to American football.

Its eight teams, which are located in eight cities, are divided into two divisions of four teams each — the East Division and the West Division. The league's 19-week regular season runs from late June to early November; each team plays 18 games with one bye week. Following the regular season, the three teams with the best records in their division (except if the fourth place team in one division has a better record than the third place team in the other division, the team with the better record makes the playoffs and "crosses over" to the other division's playoff) will compete in the league's three-week divisional playoffs, which culminate in the late-November Grey Cup championship, the country's largest annual sports and television event.[2]

The CFL was officially founded in 1958. It is the highest level of play in Canadian football, the most popular football league in Canada, and the second-most popular major sports league in Canada, after the National Hockey League.[3] Although ice hockey is Canada's most popular sport, the CFL has increased the popularity of Canadian football in Quebec and Western Canada.[3] Canadian football is also played at amateur levels (i.e. youth, high school, CJFL, QJFL, CIS and senior leagues such as the Alberta Football League).

In Southern Ontario, the CFL is recovering from the bankruptcy of the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 2003 season. Since that time, both teams have improved their attendance figures dramatically under new ownership.[4]

The 2010s will be a significant decade for the CFL in terms of growth, as teams have renovated, expanded stadiums, or plan to build entirely new stadiums. The Montreal Alouettes accomplished this first, adding 5,000 seats to Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in time for the 2010 CFL season.[5] The Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders will also renovate their stadiums and facilities for the 2010 season.[6] During the following season the BC Lions will play under a new, retractable roof in BC Place Stadium after spending one year at Empire Field.[7] Then, the following year, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will play in an entirely new stadium at the University of Manitoba, scheduled to open in time for the 2012 CFL season.[8] The Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Saskatchewan Roughriders and the new Ottawa franchise will also be looking at new or extensively-renovated stadiums in the following years.[9][10][11]

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