COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

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

Well then I guess those types better eschew all the other entities that have received Federal $ over the years including flying Air Canada, diving a GM or Chrysler product, using oil or gas etc. etc. 29 Billion roughly a year in government grants and subsidies to business in this country. Those "let em fold" types should practise what they preach and let all those other recipients fold too. We can buy all our dairy from the US, all our electronics from China, everything else too. I wonder how Canadian, Canada would be if we left everything to free market forces. Say goodbye to health care, all our schools can be private, the military can be a collection of private armies financed by individual warlords. I have another term for that kind of benign mindset. "Idiocy".


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

A strong case can be made that the CFL is a Canadian business that has suffered as a result of the pandemic-related safety measures and is just as worthy of compensation as other businesses that have received support. Of course, this could also open the door for other pro and junior sports leagues to seek similar compensation. Prime Minister Trudeau seems open to the the CFL's request and says discussions are ongoing.

Trudeau to CFL: We'll keep talking


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

B.C.FAN wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:58 pmOf course, this could also open the door for other pro and junior sports leagues to seek similar compensation.
I wouldn't say the CFL is opening the door. Other leagues such as the BCHL have already reached out to different levels of government for possible assistance. For the most part I don't think they are looking for compensation but rather support to get through and survive this rough time.

Yesterday I was looking at the Riders' financial report for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019. While financial statements don't provide all the specifics there's enough general information there that I was able to estimate that CFL teams will already have spent somewhere between $5M and $8M in preparation for a season that may produce very limited revenue that would at best cover a fraction of what has already been spent. The Riders also will have already invested a lot of money in preparation for a Grey Cup that may not take place. LeLacheur indicated the Lions have 62 non-playing personnel on staff. Any fulltime non-playing staff will already have earned 1/3 of their annual salaries. Close to 1/3 of the $2.8M FOPs cap will already be spent. While there have not been layoffs yet for Lions' staff and paycuts have been imposed they will continue to lay out cash for payroll until the point in time where if this continues or the season is killed there will be layoffs and lots of them. Take BC's 62 staff members and extrapolate it across the CFL and there's 500+ direct jobs on the line plus how ever many work out of CFL Head Office. Those are just the direct jobs. Then there's the indirect jobs related to everything that goes on to make games happen. Bottom line pro sports is an industry with the CFL being a small division of multi-billion dollar industry.

The part I find ironic about this debate is how CFL critics have suddenly changed their tone about the league. Most of them dismiss the CFL as bush, Mickey Mouse or should have been put out of its misery years ago. Now that this has been floated suddenly they want to put the CFL up on the same financial pedestal as the NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL.


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

Here's an article with the full statement from the league: https://3downnation.com/2020/04/29/cfl- ... 0-million/


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

I've tried to avoid social media today as I can only imagine the negative feedback. Interesting in that Ed Willes article that David posted last week indicated the Lions were applying for the employer federal wage benefit. A little concerning the league has essentially run out of money to operate but then I guess they were propping up the Aloutette franchise for the entire 2019 season. That might have drained any contingency fund they had.

Canada's three MLS franchises should be right behind the CFL looking for federal aid since that league is also heavily gate driven. The Canadian Premier League has also asked for $15 million, then at a much lesser scale, there are junior and senior lacrosse teams across the country that will see their entire seasons wiped out — never mind if the junior hockey leagues are out of luck this fall. Fun times.


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

On the plus side, if the season is cancelled, the 2020 Lion draft picks won't be at training camp until 2021. The competition between the 2020 picks and 2021 picks at camp should be interesting to decide which years picks are the best.


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

Slippery slope indeed to have the Feds prop up the league. They need to be careful about devaluing the dollar with all the handouts. Good to know the politicians are working through the crisis though.

$150,000,000 sounds like a lot given the TSN deal signed last year is estimated to be $50 mil / year. Not sure why they need so much if the season is cancelled.

Surely the Global skills competitions fall outside the guidelines of tax dollar support.

We'll see. Personally I think it needs to sink or swim on it's own. The whole system is unsustainable at it's current pace.


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

johnchow604 wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:00 pm On the plus side, if the season is cancelled, the 2020 Lion draft picks won't be at training camp until 2021. The competition between the 2020 picks and 2021 picks at camp should be interesting to decide which years picks are the best.
I was pondering that in a discussion on RF. With TC reps being as limited as they already are would a team really want two full draft classes worth of rookie prospects at camp. Two classes of higher end prospects they might get in the first 4 or 5 rounds maybe. But what value is there in having two classes of 6th to 8th rounders who might be relegated to fighting over a handful of 3rd of 4th unit table scrap reps.

Despite having traded away their 1st this year and next in the Manzeil deal Montreal for instance still has 10 picks this year and another 7 next year. TC roster sizes are currently limited to minimum 68, maximum 75 plus non-counters which would be drafted players who haven't attended a previous camp and CJFL players such as Pocrnic. A team could find themselves with up to 20% of their TC roster being non-counters competing for maybe 3 or 4 depth spots. Further complicating that would be the Global players initiative adding another handful of players to the mix. To make it all work a team may have to release veteran depth Nationals or hope some retire just to make room to allow all these pro rookies to compete and be assessed.,

I do wonder if in the case of a lost season there would be guys drafted in the later rounds of 2020 who would be wondering if they should simply move on and put their degrees to work as opposed to coming back a year later to compete with twice as many rookie prospects as normal for the same number of vacancies.


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

Farhan on 1040 with Sekeres & Price just now discussed the Draft (which he is hosting). At the beginning of the segment, he said the CFL feels if they just canceled operations for the year right now, they would lose less money than trying to play an abbreviated season in empty stadiums. Of course, the damage to the league from having no season may be worse than the money lost.

So at least they have seriously considered the "no fans" option.


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

I think if there is no 2020 season than the 2021 draft will have reduced number of rounds.


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

Here is my idea. It's bit out there, but I'd be interested to see if anyone agrees that it may work.

Play the season at a neutral location. Some city in Canada with at least 2 stadium options. Seating capacity is a non factor, so in Vancouver you could have BC Place, Thunderbird, and Swangard. Likely not Vancouver however because of the higher cost of living. Edmonton, Regina/Saskatoon, or Winnipeg may be more likely to tick all the boxes.

With no ticket sales, corporate sales, game day ops, etc. all clubs can lay off most of their non football staff. Players and coaches take a 25% salary cut across the board. So with a lower salary cap of $3.9M and only players, coaches and a skeleton front office staff on the payroll, and no travel costs, teams can operate on the $5.3M they get from TSN.

Are players and coaches going to want to take a pay cut? Of course not. But making 75 cents on the dollar to play football is better than being unemployed. The league would have to get creative on how to house so many people in one community. I'm sure hotel vacancies are going to be low for the foreseeable future. Universities moving to online classes may open up on-campus or near-campus housing. For some players they may have to live like it's an 18 week training camp, but that will leave more money in their pocket at the end of the month. Cities may step up and bid against each other as bringing 9 teams and at least 2 TV production crews for 6 months would be a decent injection of economic activity during a recession.

Go to a 16 game regular season (play each team twice) and do away with divisions but add two playoff games (this will increase viewer interest). The top 6 teams get an automatic playoff spot with the top team getting a bye in the first round. The 7th and 8th team play 1 game for a wild card spot.

PLAYOFFS

Wild Card:
Team 7 vs. Team 8

Round One:
Team 1 bye.
Team 2 vs. WC
Team 3 plays team 6.
Team 4 plays team 5.

Round Two:
Team 1 plays lowest remaining seed.
Second lowest remaining seed plays third lowest remaining seed.

Grey Cup:
Winners from round two play for the championship.


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

It feels like I keep droning on about this but there is a player safety component to this issue. It is a an entertainment. Not an essential service. What it boils down to is: "What risks is the league prepared to expose it's employees too?" My guess is not many. Even if teams had a free hand to get together and work out etc (which they don't at the moment), it would only take one or a handful of contagious individuals to potentially take down an entire team including staff, their families and so on. And what would happen to any schedule where even one team has a handful of positive tests? I'm not trying to be a negative Nellie here but does anyone think a team will be able to function under a regime where it isn't safe for people to congregate in groups? Until conditions change (eg. social distancing requirements, border restrictions), there isn't going to be a season. If all the provinces were in the same state as BC, it might look a little more promising but right now, Quebec is a mess, Ontario is a mess and so is Alberta (and that ignores the birth certificate of many CFL players). Those provinces alone account for 6 of 9 teams in the entire league. Without revenue from paying fans, with the risk of contagion to players and related individuals, with the border closures, it is all pretty much inconceivable that there is any chance of playing any games right now. It is going to have to get to the point where businesses are open, groups are allowed again and people aren't afraid to be in one another's company. It could happen tomorrow I suppose but the realist in me says that unless something crazy unexpected happens, it is going to be a long slow return to any sense of normal life which will include mass air travel, going to the movies, a restaurant or a game or even just hanging out at a park with a group of friends. It will be the optional things that will be the last to return and that applies to any major sports league. I notice that even Bettman was musing that the next NHL season might not even get started until December of this year. What that means for their current season I cannot guess. I really do hope I'm wrong but the "no fans at the game" issue to me represents the least of the logistical problems the league faces in trying to figure out how to have a season.


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

IMO, It is not very likely that there will be a 2020 CFL season. Even if they could pull off a partial season it would be a money losing venture.

And Covid-19 is likely far more widespread in B.C. than case numbers indicate. This is because until recently only hospital workers were being tested in B.C.


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

DanoT wrote: Sat May 02, 2020 7:28 am IMO, It is not very likely that there will be a 2020 CFL season. Even if they could pull off a partial season it would be a money losing venture.

And Covid-19 is likely far more widespread in B.C. than case numbers indicate. This is because until recently only hospital workers were being tested in B.C.
The CFL is losing money this year no matter what, but will playing a partial season mitigate some of those losses? I think that's the big question. I also wonder if using "neutral" sites to host Eastern division games and Western division games could be possible? Or perhaps even just one site to host all the games?

As of today, our active cases breakdown is as follows:

BC: 681
Alberta: 2,958
Saskatchewan: 122
Manitoba: 39
Ontario: 4,118
Quebec: 22,402
New Brunswick: 0
Nova Scotia: 310
PEI: 0
Newfoundland: 24
Yukon: 0
NWT: 0
Nunavut: 1

So right off the top, Quebec is out. I also can't see games being hosted in Ontario given their numbers either.

Alberta is an interesting case since I saw a graph last night that suggested the majority of their cases were in Calgary and southern Alberta. Edmonton's line was quite flat, so I think Edmonton would be a potential host city.

Regina and Winnipeg also stand out as potential host cities, as does Vancouver.

Any host city is going to need to be able to house players (and likely their families) in hotels, something that is an added cost to consider. That may knock Regina out, but Winnipeg stands as a very good potential host location. 39 active cases across the province, it's a decent sized city with a lot of hotel options. You might be able to consider hosting games in front of fans with limited capacity to ensure proper physical distancing in the stands.


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

Playing games at a single site or neutral sites is a non-starter in my view.

Most teams do not come close to selling out in the best of times. If they were selling tickets for even more games including teams not based in their area--in the middle of a highly contagious global pandemic--with mass unemployment and our economy in a death spiral--the sales would be minuscule. It wouldn't be worth the effort of hiring ticket agents.

Best case scenario for the CFL is that it does not fold and can return in a year or two.


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