It was a month ago when CFL Commissioner Randy Ambroise asked the federal government for $150 million to stem the bleeding of the league. Now, I’m not in favour of public dollars to professional sports, ever, but it did reveal to us how fickle the CFL is as a league. There’s not a lot of money to be had (which is why the cap is so low), and of that revenue, ticket sales account for most of it (unlike other leagues).
The CFL is in trouble. It could fold. I think there’s always a market for professional football up here, but there’s serious question whether COVID-19 will spell the end to a franchise or two, or even the league as a whole.
Right now, if the pandemic reality somehow pulls off a miracle, the league could start late in September. But is it likely? For one, I can’t imagine fans returning to watch games this year, assuming it’s even allowed. You have to expect a few things to come together for it to happen. The border has to open for players, the cities need to be safe, and there needs to be a fan base to support it.
There’s always the die-hard fans ready to risk it all for Cup and glory. But in a league where growth has been incremental at best, is this really a time to risk a return? Conversely, without any presence for a whole season, that would certainly put a dent in any growth the league has worked on over the past few years.
Ultimately, there’s not easy solution here, but one thing is for sure. For most of us, CFL is one of the last thing’s on our mind, but it would be a nice distraction if it could be pulled off safely.