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Windsor councillor looking to score CFL game

Downtown councilor Renaldo Agostino is a big Canadian Football League (CFL) fan and has been dreaming of bringing a game to Windsor-Essex for over five years.

“We're probably at the 40-30 yard line on this one,” he said.

Agostino has others on board who are ready to go the distance with the idea, especially after hearing CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie at the Grey Cup on TSN.

Asked if Touchdown Atlantic (a single CFL game in Halifax) could be seen in a different Canadian city Ambrosie replied, “That game should move around. It should help us attract fans in different parts of country so those conversations are ongoing. In fact I expect we will have something to say about our Touchdown Series in the not too distant future.”

That statement excited Agostino.

“To see the commissioner make his comments yesterday about how the Touchdown Series is gonna be a brand and move to other parts of the country I think Windsor is primed for certainly a game,” he said.

Huskies Stadium in Halifax, with permanent seating for 2,000 fans, expanded seating capacity to over eleven thousand for Touchdown Atlantic this year. Agostino feels the same can be done here.

According to an independent study by Sports Tourism Canada, the game between Toronto and Saskatchewan had an overall economic impact of $10 million.

He also believe our region is more than capable of hosting a CFL game adapting the model used to run the CHL's Memorial Cup tournament in 2017.

“We have resources here that other cities don't have so to me I look at this as a huge opportunity to take a giant leap for the city to put our name on the map,” Agostino said.

Windsor Lancers wide receiver Javonni Cunningham grew up playing American football near Atlanta, Georgia.

“Whenever we did have the opportunity a lot of us did pay attention to Canadian football so I believe this would be a great chance for Americans to experience Canadian football and be able to get to learn the game a little more and fall in love with it just like I did,” Cunningham said.

Not everyone is into the CFL. Detroit Lions swag is a hot seller.

“Here at Bob Reaume Sports, it’s all about Honolulu Blue,” said store owner Bob Reaume. “Didn't even get an inquiry for anything for the game yesterday (Grey Cup).”

Despite the lack of interest in these parts, the CFL has been around for 110 years for a reason.

“As a purist the CFL game is much faster,” said St. Clair Football defensive coordinator Mike Morencie. “Much faster pace. Multiple plays. Balls in the air. Stuff is happening all the time.”

JP Circelli, head coach of the Windsor Lancers football team, thinks a CFL game in our area would attract a large crowd.

“The NFL is still king. It's still the one everyone is going to watch but if you did watch the Grey Cup you understand how exciting the Canadian game is,” said Circelli.

Agostino is looking to pitch the CFL in the near future and score a game in the next two years.

“The CFL is probably going to be out there looking for communities that wanna make offers and I believe Windsor-Essex will be right at the top.”

He also believes Windsor could be home to a CFL team one day.

“The necessity for it (a stadium) is gonna be there as our city continues to grow and we’re growing right now. A thousand people a month.” Agostino said. “Imagine having a stadium to have these talks that Windsor will one day need a stadium. You don’t get there unless you see it coming and I see it coming.” Top Stories

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