My two cents are as follows:
a) Yes eventually it is inevitable. The CFL will need to expand still once all the viable Canadian markets are sewn up. The CFL will have to look first to the US.
b) My list of initial markets after the final 5 Canadian regions (Quebec City, Maritimes, Okanagan Valley, Saskatoon, London, Ontario) have teams are as follows:
-Syracuse, New York
-Des Moines, Iowa
-Fargo, North Dakota
-Providence, Rhode Island
I realize that some of these cities may not have CFL sized stadiums or the like. I just think they have a close enough proximity to Canada that the CFL would do alot better there than they ever did in their previous endeavours.
c)One place the CFL might want to think about except for travel costs is a team in Mexico City. American Football is played by many, many Mexicans. Their top amateur league provides NFL Europe with most of the National Players that are used over there. Azteca Stadium is large enough, as it holds 101,000 seats. As well since it is a soccer stadium its field is soccer sized, which if I remember the dimensions correctly would fit a CFL field easily with room to spare. If the CFL governors were willing to make a concession on the rules for Team Mexico City and make the non-imports Mexicans instead of Canadians, I think a team down there could work.
Another idea is create an entire Mexican division a CFL Mexico. This league could compete against the champion of CFL Canada for the Grey Cup. If the Governors of CFL Canada did not wish to lose the intent of the Grey Cup, they could always create a new trophy to compete for at the conclusion of the season. Have the championship game rotate between Mexican sites and Canadian sites. I think it would be interesting to give the Mexicans a try at the Canadian game. Screw the US, lets take the CFL global. Now that even people in the Middle East can watch 7 CFL games this season, the game itself should be exported as well, not just TV.
The cities included for CFL Mexico could include such places as:
Mexico City - Estadio Azteca - 101,000 seats
Guadalajara - Estadio Jalisco - 65,000 seats
Queretaro - La Corregidora - 40,785 seats
Puebla - Cuahuhtemoc - 42,600 seats
Monterrey - Tecnologico - 32,662 seats
Irapuato - Sergio Leon Chavez - 24,000 seats
Morelia - Jose Ma. Morelos Y Pavon - 41,552 seats
Torreron - Corrona - 20,010 seats
I know the CFL dabbles in some smaller markets, but Billings and Fargo aren't even close to Regina in that aspect.
SPOKANE has Joe Albi Stadium, which has the field size and a good 28K structure, and a market bigger than Regina IIRC.
I'd call on Boise, and Bronco Stadium probably has the field and Boise the market even bigger and faster growing than Spokane, but there's no way in Hell that Boise State would allow that to happen.
What about Grand Rapids? I believe Western Michigan University is close, like that matters. What kind of stadium do they have? They're more than twice the size of market Spokane is, and bigger than Providence IIRC.
Recall that Providence is only 25 miles or so from Foxboro (Providence is slightly closer to Foxboro than Boston is), and the point is that you want to carve out your own market if at all possible.
Albany, New York? They at least have the ego for such a venture.
Rochester? Actually, I wretch at the thought of using Pae Tec Park (when it is completed) for something other than soccer or lacrosse, but I guess you have to consider Rochester.
Columbus, Ohio? Nah, that's Ohio State in a nutshell... never mind. Nebraska is why I don't take stock in Omaha.
Peoria? Quad Cities?
The Mexico idea? The NAFTA League? Never in the big soccer stadia... especially since you show mostly "southern" markets, while the football fans are generally "El Norte" in Mexico. Monterrey is good, maybe Torreon. Juarez / El Paso is far more likely than Puebla or Morelia. Hermosillo and Nueva Laredo, I can see, but never Guadalajara. Even then, I don't think it's a good idea for the CFL to get that far away from their base.
As far as my American examples Portland made my list as that was once of the cities Jeff Giles mentioned in his book. So I figured he must have done his homework on it. I didn't realize the proximity of Providence to Foxboro so I guess they're out. I still think Fargo and Billings would work as they seem starved for pro sports. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they generally draw quite well for their minor hockey teams, minor baseball teams etc. Also, doesn't North Dakota State sell out their football games? They are both good enough and draw well enough to move up from Division II to I-AA this year. I threw in Omaha as a hope of drawing in the fans who support the Huskers, being football fans in general. I realize this is the same rationale they used in Memphis and Birmingham, but I think Southern fans are little more prejudiced against 3 down football. I used Syracuse as Jeff Giles mentioned them as well.
Grand Rapids crossed my mind, but I didn't know that's where Western Michigan was and couldn't be sure there was a useable stadium at all in the city.
Here's just some food for thought, how about Anchorage? Makes playing at the frozen tundra of Green Bay seem like Hawaii.
I would suggest a team in Honolulu, as it seems ideal with Aloha Stadium and everything. The huge knock against it is the travel costs from Canada imagine the time if a team was placed in Halifax flying to Honolulu. That would kill the CFL on the spot.
Last I heard the CFL wants too pay off its debts and stabilize itself again. It has a working relationship with the NFL and even provides a few players too the NFL once in a while. The CFL wants too expand, but they are only talking 1 maybe 2 teams in the future (which might be smart) so they don't over extend themselves. What is wrong with this philosophy?
And as for North Dakota State, last I heard was that they where on the fence on the issue of moving up. Now that was a few months ago and my info is old.
To get more questions answered about Arena vs. Indoor football, you should probably go to the Indoor Football section of this message board.
Now I know its been awhile since my 10th grade geography class, but I've never heard anyone call Iowa, Nebraska, Rhode Island, or Conneticut "close proximity to Canada". Still, they are closer than many of the original CFL-USA teams.I just think they have a close enough proximity to Canada that the CFL would do alot better there than they ever did in their previous endeavours.
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Detroit. Detroit is the largest US-Canada border town, with Windsor, ON as the neighbor immediatly to the South (yes South). I'm not sure if it is common knowledge, but Tiger Stadium is still standing and is still fully maintained despite the fact that the Tigers left several years ago. It would be perfect for the CFL. Even if there is no US TV contract, Detroit is served by the CBC network out of Windsor (Hockey Night in Canada is a regular in my house). Detroit could have full coverage of their team even without the US contract. The Lions played at Tiger Stadium before the Silverdome was built and I understand there was a visit from the XFL looking at it as an expansion site for the league before it folded. Detroit is a much larger market than any of those mentioned, US or Canadian. If they are a winning team, the fans will go nuts. The Detroit Drive were a major draw when they were winning one Arena Bowl after another. They only left town because the owner bought the Tigers and sold them to someone out of state who would move them. They outdrew the Tigers at the time and he didn't want the competition.