COVID-19 : How it could impact Lions/CFL

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

maxlion wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 2:01 pm 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.
The idea of playing in a single site is that it would be for TV only. No fans in attendance. Once you eliminate all travel costs, and the cost associated with managing ticket sales and game day operations, the TSN deal pretty much covers the salary cap. As I suggested earlier, if the players took a 25% pay cut across the board (not unreasonable under the circumstances) the money from TSN would cover salaries for players, coaches, and a skeleton front office.

Now the $50M question is, will TSN go along with such a plan or would they want to renegotiate the TV contract if playing football in empty stadiums is considered a less valuable product? On the other hand, it may be the only pro sports available on TV so ratings could be huge.


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

Belize City Lion wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 4:13 pm
maxlion wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 2:01 pm 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.
The idea of playing in a single site is that it would be for TV only. No fans in attendance. Once you eliminate all travel costs, and the cost associated with managing ticket sales and game day operations, the TSN deal pretty much covers the salary cap. As I suggested earlier, if the players took a 25% pay cut across the board (not unreasonable under the circumstances) the money from TSN would cover salaries for players, coaches, and a skeleton front office.

Now the $50M question is, will TSN go along with such a plan or would they want to renegotiate the TV contract if playing football in empty stadiums is considered a less valuable product? On the other hand, it may be the only pro sports available on TV so ratings could be huge.
Okay, that seems more feasible. Sorry if I misunderstood.

With rigorous protocols in place, lots of businesses could operate in relative safety, as they do in some other countries. Why not the CFL? However, that is not the approach most Canadian health authorities have taken so far.


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

maxlion wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 2:01 pm 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.
^^^Agreed. The added expenses required to put on a game and the minimal to zero live gate make it very risky. And then what happens if in spite of all the extra precautions, a player and then other players get the virus in the middle of the mini season?

There won't be a CFL season until there is a vaccine or unless it turns out that people become immune, once they get and recover from Covid-19.


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

Any significant change to the schedule will require negotiation with the CFLPA and TSN.

Player contracts call for specific dollar amounts for the season, not per game.

The league minimum salary for nationals and Americans Is $65,000. There’s no provision to play a partial season for part of that amount.

Want players to to a pay cut to play in empty stadiums? Again, the CFLPA would have to agree.

Want to play games at neutral sites? You’d again need CFLPA agreement. You would at least need to pay everyone's housing costs. Normally, only practice roster players live in team-sponsored housing. Would players agree to leave their families in B.C. for four months or more to live out of a suitcase in Winnipeg?

Similarly, TSN’s contract is based on specific dates and times in its calendar for 21-week regular season, plus preseason and three weeks of playoffs. And it may not consider games to be as valuable if they’re played in neutral sites or in empty stadiums.

Fortunately the CFLPA has agreed to rejoin the league in discussing contingency plans. I’m sure the players want to play football and TSN wants live sports to broadcast but governments would have to approve the health aspects of any revised schedule and the CFL, CFLPA and TSN would have to agree to any change in contract terms.


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

B.C.FAN wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:58 pm 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.
Can you have the cake and eat it too?

For as much Canadian as there is in the CFL the league has done nothing but favour imports for the past number of years. Gets pretty one sided with all the concessions they make each time the CBA comes up.

Were any indigenous Canadians drafted this year? 5% of the Canadian population. Meanwhile Ambrosie is off running skills competitions in Sweden and Japan with no clear objective.

But if they are handing out money they sing the song loud and proud.

Season or not, I would like to see a clear organizational objective stated by the CFL. Is it all for the fans or is it just about jobs for the players and bureaucracy. It's a way fo life is a bit lame when you think of it.


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

B.C.FAN wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 8:00 pm Want to play games at neutral sites? You’d again need CFLPA agreement. You would at least need to pay everyone's housing costs. Normally, only practice roster players live in team-sponsored housing. Would players agree to leave their families in B.C. for four months or more to live out of a suitcase in Winnipeg?
There's that too. It's assumed in such a scenario that there would be no fans in attendance. Should such an endeavour take place in a CFL city while the crowd aspect of the home field advantage would be neutralized it nonetheless would amount to a 4 month home stand for one team and a 4 month road trip for the rest. That's of course unless they sequester and isolate the "home team" players, coaches etc in the same facilities and away from their families living in the same city.

Belize pondered the idea that the cap covers most of the player salaries which isn't exactly true. It covers about 90% of the SMS Cap which doesn't include 6G injuries, the football ops cap of $2.8M and salaries of the other support staff like trainers, medical staff, equipment staff etc whom a team cannot operate without. It also wouldn't cover those housing costs you alluded to. 4 months living in Winnipeg or wherever? That's 120 nights x minimum 40 rooms assuming double occupancy. 46 players + practice roster + coaches + GM + some Football Ops + equipment manager, trainers, athletic therapists etc. You're looking at minimum 80 people per team. No doubt they can score some great deals on hotel rooms but that's $500K per team @ $100/night or $750K/team @ $150/night just for accommodations. The hoggies haven't even been fed yet.
Last edited by Hambone on Tue May 05, 2020 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.


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

DanoT wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 6:15 pm ^^^Agreed. The added expenses required to put on a game and the minimal to zero live gate make it very risky. And then what happens if in spite of all the extra precautions, a player and then other players get the virus in the middle of the mini season?

There won't be a CFL season until there is a vaccine or unless it turns out that people become immune, once they get and recover from Covid-19.
Bundesliga in Germany was trying to fire up again with plans to test all players. They've already hit a bump in the road when 10 players tested positive.

https://www.tsn.ca/10-positive-covid-19 ... -1.1472444


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

Murdoch wrote: Tue May 05, 2020 5:43 am
B.C.FAN wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:58 pm 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.
Can you have the cake and eat it too?

For as much Canadian as there is in the CFL the league has done nothing but favour imports for the past number of years. Gets pretty one sided with all the concessions they make each time the CBA comes up.

Were any indigenous Canadians drafted this year? 5% of the Canadian population. Meanwhile Ambrosie is off running skills competitions in Sweden and Japan with no clear objective.

But if they are handing out money they sing the song loud and proud.

Season or not, I would like to see a clear organizational objective stated by the CFL. Is it all for the fans or is it just about jobs for the players and bureaucracy. It's a way fo life is a bit lame when you think of it.
I hear what you are saying but on the other hand Canada is a diverse country with many different cultures represented. Somehow saying we will only hire Canadians which would be the extreme conclusion of what you seem to be suggesting is not only limiting but just un-Canadian.

There are many businesses in this country that have employees that may not be citizens (yet) and we allow them to operate and in some cases the Feds subsidize those industries regardless (can we say agriculture). Not to mention that many of those industries are Canadian in name only. Is GM a Canadian Company (really?). How about MacDonald's, Tim Horton's?

Normally I am not a big fan of subsidizing sports but honestly, there are few sports/business pursuits in this country that are as "Canadian" as the CFL. There are no teams outside of Canada, there is a guaranteed ratio of "Canadian" players required on the field at all times. The rules and parameters of the game are unique in the world. How much more Canadian do they have to be? On balance, there are probably few entities that do receive gov. help in this country that have anything close to the requirements to be Canadian as does the CFL. The league is in a pickle financially not through their own making. You seem to suggest that they are somehow less deserving of help because they look around to try and find the best players they can while at the same time trying to maintain the identity of the game. The league is a business as well as a cultural entity. They have to try to make the league the best they can otherwise they risk having no league at all. To that end, they look outside of our borders for individuals who are skilled athletes. Just like the NHL, the NBA, the MLS, MLB and so on. If you want to make a case for the league getting a bit fast and loose with what constitutes "Canadian", you may have something there. But lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Just as another consideration somewhat tangentially related. How many ex-CFL vets who came from outside of Canada have decided to stay and make Canada their home after they have retired? Those individuals came here as foreigners, worked/played here and decided to make a life here. Imagine if there was no George Reed, Henry Burris, or Pinball Clemons. Fine people among countless others who IMO make this country a better place.


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

B.C.FAN wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 8:00 pm Fortunately the CFLPA has agreed to rejoin the league in discussing contingency plans. I’m sure the players want to play football and TSN wants live sports to broadcast but governments would have to approve the health aspects of any revised schedule and the CFL, CFLPA and TSN would have to agree to any change in contract terms.
Agreed that is what is most likely to be the topic of the discussions. In their communications with ST holders by email (including me, having bought just a 3 + 1 game pack), the league has mostly been about wishing we could all get together and enjoy the season as normal (and preparing us for the inevitable announcement that cannot happen this year).

The next step was assessing the chances of Gov't financial assistance, since empty stadium games would not otherwise be viable (unlike the NHL, where big $$$ are on the line if that league fails to finish the season/playoffs). Sekeres first mentioned this last week, and it explains the illogical insistence on dragging all 30 teams back, rather than just determining playoff qualifying by winning percentage as of the "pause"
https://www.hockeyinsiders.net/articles ... hl-hockey/


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

Sir Purrcival wrote: Tue May 05, 2020 10:54 am If you want to make a case for the league getting a bit fast and loose with what constitutes "Canadian", you may have something there. But lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Good post. Not my intent to disrespect the league.

Like everything else, things evolve.

Back in the day Canadian kids generally attended post secondary institutions in Canada. Drafting a Canadian was a completely different scenario from today. Toss in the "my mom was born in Canada but I've never been to the country" and the national status is blurred a bit more. Expanded rosters with a lower number of national starters and now Global positions. The true national is becoming a rare thing.

:tease: I have never been able to figure out how they meet the visa and residency requirements. That goes for Canadians working in the USA as well.

I don't actually see it as a drop in quality of play. Hope your first round pick works out as well. Looks like someone who could make us all forget about Sol E.

I do think they are missing a significant talent pool right in front of their noses by not scouting and developing indigenous Canadians but hopefully that will eventually come.


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

I'm right there with you in the "lets not overlook what's already in our garden POV". I am often very challenged how some positions like RB for example seem to have a default setting of "International". And yet we have seen in the last few years a number of top notch, quality Canadian RB's. QB same problem. I get that Canadian QB's that have the experience to compete for the top job may be thin on the ground but I don't believe that in all the years, that not one has existed that could be a number 1 in this league. It's a bias that I think needs to be carefully monitored and occasionally needs to be pulled back from the brink. So a good reminder from you that we need to constantly evaluate those aspects of the game that are open to sliding down a slippery slope. I would hate to see a situation arise where for example a football player could be designated a "national" because they attended a CFL game once in their life.


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

There will likely be no spectator sports in B.C. until either a COVID-19 vaccine is found, broad treatment is available or herd immunity is developed, Premier John Horgan announced Wednesday. That likely rules out anything this year and well into 2021.

Horgan said he has had discussions with the NHL about Vancouver hosting games for a TV audience only. He said the B.C. Lions can't play without "bums in seats" but he has had unspecified discussions with the CFL.

COVID-19: No Vancouver Canucks until a vaccine is found, but pubs can open next week

P.S. Is he calling us bums? :wink:


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

https://www.sportsnet.ca/football/cfl/c ... cancelled/
Ambrosie testified to a House of Commons standing committee on finance today. Sounds like he is conceding the season is done--there will be no attempt at empty stadium games.


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

BC 1988 wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 3:25 pm https://www.sportsnet.ca/football/cfl/c ... cancelled/
Ambrosie testified to a House of Commons standing committee on finance today. Sounds like he is conceding the season is done--there will be no attempt at empty stadium games.
Empty-stadium games, even for a truncated season, are better than no games but it would take a buy-in from players and some financial support from fans, sponsors and governments. I don't know if the league would want to play a Grey Cup in an empty stadium but if they did, I'm sure they would give Saskatchewan a chance to host in 2021 instead and bump Hamilton by a year to 2022.


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

B.C.FAN wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 5:16 pm
BC 1988 wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 3:25 pm https://www.sportsnet.ca/football/cfl/c ... cancelled/
Ambrosie testified to a House of Commons standing committee on finance today. Sounds like he is conceding the season is done--there will be no attempt at empty stadium games.
Empty-stadium games, even for a truncated season, are better than no games but it would take a buy-in from players and some financial support from fans, sponsors and governments. I don't know if the league would want to play a Grey Cup in an empty stadium but if they did, I'm sure they would give Saskatchewan a chance to host in 2021 instead and bump Hamilton by a year to 2022.
I think the CFL will try to get the CFLPA to agree to bump player contracts so 2020 will come into effect or contracts be re-written so they start in 2021 instead, just start one year late. OTOH, maybe teams will want to re-negotiate new deals...at a lower price due to economic effect of CV19, smaller crowds, less sponsors, blah, blah, blah.


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