COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

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David
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COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

Not to be a Dave Downer, but even if the Lions' Kamloops training camp moves ahead on schedule in May, there could be some challenges for the club and league, if...

* The NHL season/playoffs carry over into July. To a much lesser degree, if the MLS season gets extended (likely, as they're determined to play their full complement of games, even if it means more mid-week games).

* People are still wigged out by assembling in crowded venues, thus impacting attendance.

* Prevents our recruiting efforts in the USA (the eight-city open tryouts). Thankfully, we already have quite a full roster.

* American athletes (FAs) less willing to come up here amid the unknowns/uncertainty, especially for a 75 cent dollar.

* The economic impact this virus could have on attendance. For example, the trickle-down effect of living in such a service/hospitality industry reliant city impacted by far fewer visitors, cruise ships etc. Film industry shut down etc. Fewer disposable dollars could impact the football club.


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

An extended NHL season would hurt the Lions if the Canucks make the playoffs. As things sit, they may be frozen out after a promising season. That could turn local fans off of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

I remain optimistic that restrictions on travel and public gatherings will be lifted by May and life will start to return to normal.


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

With 2 months to go until TC there isn't a lot to stress about just yet. No doubt Ambrosie and the BOG have been in discussion regarding the various "what if" scenarios. BC did postpone 2 FA camps but we're still 5 weeks away from the first of the remaining six. All teams have to deal with that issue. Teams survived quite nicely before these open tryouts so no reason why they won't get by without a few this year. Losing the combines might hurt but I'm not so sure they are the big difference maker. I think the most important part might be the interviews and those can be handled in a conference call. With the draft still being 7 weeks away they may still pull them off if things settle down in the next 4 or 5 weeks.

As for the season they do have the 3 bye weeks that give a fudge factor to shorten the season. I think their first option if camps have to be delayed will be to leverage the byes and rework the 18 game schedule into a shorter time frame.

What I don't see them doing is pushing the Grey Cup out if the season gets delayed. I think that stays as it is. Agribition which aside from occasional Grey Cups is the biggest event on the Regina calendar every year. It takes up the 2 weekends following Grey Cup making Dec 13th the earliest they could host if Nov 22 can't be pulled off.

As for the other leagues the Canucks will be in tough to make the playoffs as it is. Impact against the Lions would require them winning a round. The one thing their season being put on hold does beneficial to them is give Markstrom more time to get ready. He could be key to them making the playoffs and gives them much better odds to advance beyond the first round.

When it comes to the Whitecaps it would depend on possible CFL delays or re-scheduling. If the Lions can open TC on time the Caps schedule will have to be reworked around the Lions" schedule. And if things are delayed for the Lions that means the Caps really have a mess to figure out. MLS has suspended things for 30 days. A CFL delay would mean MLS was lights out for 60 days and counting. As it is the Caps have 5 hone games and 6 road games scheduled between now and when the Lions play their first preseason game. They have 2 more before the CFL season formally kicks off which means they'd have 1/3 of their season to reschedule at minimum if CV19 causes the CFL to delay.


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

Significant disruption is all but certain for all of the reasons you point out.

Recruitment has already been disrupted, and I suspect that many signed players are already looking for other options. I think that it is doubtful that training camp could start on time even in the best case scenario.

What we've seen so far is just the beginning. It's impossible to predict the full extent of this crisis, but having the season cancelled isn't out of the realm of possibility.


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

If I was to wager, I'd put money on there being no sports whatsoever for the rest of this year. I think this thing has just begun.


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

Possibly although there is a part of me that thinks that just like there is a cold/flu season, there may also be a season to this. Come May, either this thing is going to be everywhere or fast diminishing. If it is the former, then you are probably right, large gatherings are going to be prohibited and that will mean no audience sports.


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

First case made it to my neck of the woods today mid-island. There is going to be a huge bump in cases when all the snow birds start to return home from the US and Mexico.


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

I can imagine a scenario where the season doesn't start until August. In which case it could be a 14 game schedule. As for fans returning, if done right the CFL attendance could be stronger post-covid 19. Get people excited about being out at events again, support the local economy, employ event staff that have been hard hit. A shorter season would also mean more games that matter, less games in summer, less games against the same opponents.

Toronto bounced back from SARS in 2003 with one of the strongest years for tourism in 2004. The economic impact of the visitor economy in Toronto has grown year after year ever since.


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

Not much new here, but at least questions are being asked of the Lions and the city of Kamloops regarding plans for training camp, which is scheduled to begin in mid-May.

B.C. Lions 'can't confirm or deny what's going to happen' with CFL training camp in Kamloops


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

I'd expect a truncated training camp but a full schedule.

Having said that, I think the hesitancy of some percentage of fans to gather in crowds will bleed into the season. If I had to wager, I'd say attendance is down 2%-5% leaguewide over last year. But television ratings will spike noticeably.


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

Right now, it's hard to imagine the Leos starting the regular season on June 11 but at the same time, it would be challenging to stage a Grey Cup in Regina any later than November 22. Not only because of the bitterly cold weather but "Agribition" is a massive event held there at the end of November (they just don't have the hotel inventory).

It would be nice to see a full 18-game season, but I could live with say, 16 games and perhaps reduce the 3 byes to 1 or 2 if need be, but this would necessitate reconfiguring the schedule.


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

The easiest option might be to eliminate one or both preseason games and jump straight from a delayed training camp to the scheduled 18-game regular season. Teams already use the first 4 games of the regular season to assess their personnel and juggle their rosters so the impact on the quality of play would not be big.

A longer delay would require drafting a new schedule and risking more conflicts as other pro sports leagues do the same. Simply truncating the CFL schedule to 16 games would not work. The Lions are scheduled to play their first two games on the road in Edmonton and Calgary. Eliminating those games and leaving the remaining schedule intact would give them 9 home games and 7 road games, including 2 in Saskatchewan and none in Edmonton.


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

It's hard to speculate too much on precise timing of this being done until we see if these latest moves - social distancing - closing gathering places - all works. IF it does we could be more normal in May-June but as others note the lag/fear effect will take a toll for sometime.


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

Details are scarce but Randy Ambrosie says he can't guarantee that training camps will start on time and that the league is discussing contingency plans.

CFL commissioner Ambrosie says league discussing coronavirus contingency plans

More details of CFL contingency plans from Dan Barnes of Postmedia, especially regarding plans for the CFL national and global drafts.

CFL staff scrambling for workarounds in wake of COVID-19 pandemic


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Re: COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

cromartie wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:11 pm
Having said that, I think the hesitancy of some percentage of fans to gather in crowds will bleed into the season. If I had to wager, I'd say attendance is down 2%-5% leaguewide over last year. But television ratings will spike noticeably.
Again, not to be a pessimist, but I could see a CFL market like ours being down by more than 2% - 5%. It is not so much the hesitancy to assemble that concerns me, although that's a part of it. It is the ravaging economic impact that COVID-19 will leave behind. With businesses closing left and right, entire industries like film and tourism drying up, how are the masses going to pay rent? Yes, the government is trying to help folks out but when it comes to discretionary entertainment dollars, hard to see people attending sporting events when they're trying to put food on the table or make rent. This is especially true where there isn't a particularly strong emotional connection to the team for many (like ours). I hope to hell I am wrong.
B.C.FAN wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:24 pm
The easiest option might be to eliminate one or both preseason games and jump straight from a delayed training camp to the scheduled 18-game regular season. Teams already use the first 4 games of the regular season to assess their personnel and juggle their rosters so the impact on the quality of play would not be big.
One preseason game, maybe. But it is hard to see no preseason being ratified by the CFLPA. So players would go from limited contact training camp (where some won't be in the best shape to begin with, being forced to modify their off-season workouts) to full-on regular-season action? I could see this being a recipe for some nasty (and nagging) injuries league-wide.

Yes, I realize many starters currently only see 1 preseason game. But there is still a transition from the pace of preseason play to full-on regular season. Just can't see this one flying.


DH :cool:


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