As people world-wide remain in quarantine due to the coronavirus outbreak that we’ve seen early in 2020 the CFL has found themselves in the same position as many other businesses, in need of financial aid. In all consideration and with time ticking the CFL is edging in on having no 2020 season and no season means no income for the CFL. Having no income for the league in a full year gives a lot of uncertainty whether the league will ever see another season and that is why its so hard to make the call for commissioner Randy Ambrosie to shut down the 2020 season, “Our best-case scenario for this year is a drastically truncated season. And our most likely scenario is no season at all.”
Many would question why the league is in that bad of trouble with shutting down a season but behind all the flashy uniforms and big stadiums there isn’t a lot of money to be seen. In an interview that longtime CFL player and now commissioner Randy Ambrosie comments, “Ours is a big brand but not a wealthy business. Collectively, our teams lose between $10 million and $20 million a season.“
With the big numbers seen there, the league just last week requested the Canadian Government for $150 million if the season doesn’t happen. “Unlike large U.S.-based leagues, our biggest source of revenue is not TV —it’s ticket sales,” Ambrosie said. “Governments coping with COVID 19 — for reasons of public health that we totally support — have made it impossible for us to do what we do.” In Ambrosie’s quote he mentions that ticket sales is the main source of revenue in the CFL and if there can’t be games due to the coronavirus there won’t be any tickets being sold and the league could be in trouble. That trouble going as far as the suspension of the league. “A ban on large gatherings means no revenue, no business, for us. We want to ensure it also does not mean no CFL for the future.” (Said by Randy Ambrosie)
Many would never have seen it come this far when the outbreak first started but if the league doesn’t get financial aid from the government they could get to that point. With that said, there are more people in the world with money around the world and given previous events there is a chance the CFL gets help elsewhere.
In the past, the CFL has came across a couple close calls to having the league shutdown and coming to help was the NFL. Going back to 1997 the two leagues came together to form a collaboration in which the CFL had been given a $3 million loan to help keep the league survive. Although their working agreement had ended in 2008 the two leagues have a lot to have a partnership with and if the CFL has trouble surviving once again I have a strong feeling the NFL can help pitch in for the league’s future.
Also a big help in the CFL’s past was given by Tim Hortons. Yes, the donut shop. In 1996 the sponsor of the CFL was able to help pay the Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts’ players their Grey Cup contracts as the CFL weren’t able to do so. Now that we see the league in a tough position once again, the league has a lot of sponsors that could give small amounts if it is needed.
All in all, even-tough there are negatives that could come out of these unfortunate times CFL fans shouldn’t be in a panic about not having a league for future years as they have a lot of different partners able to help out and hey going back to the NFL’s possibility to help, Dallas Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones just recently bought a $250 million dollar yacht. If the league comes in contact with the NFL Jones wouldn’t even realize his money was gone. On a final note, Ambrosie commented, “Whenever it comes, we want our next Grey Cup — Canada’s 108th — to be the place where we can all celebrate that we did get through this. And that Canada is back.”