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

He doesn't think about this as a virus, he simply sees things in military terms like this is some kind of enemy to be defeated. There are battles and there are battles. This isn't the kind of enemy where being tough and intimidating counts for anything. I really wish that people would stop characterizing this as some kind of war with a traditional adversary. It isn't anything that has been faced in our lifetimes and can't be encapsulated with rhetoric that makes is sound like is just like some other run of the mill enemy. The only enemy in this battle is the one with our own mind. The one that gets lazy with social distancing, the one that is too rigid to accept the idea that the current timeline can't be fixed to a particular date or place because the situation is still in flux. We like to put things into nice neat little boxes. Helps us organize our world into more manageable chunks but some things defy that and this virus is one of them. We can make plans, grandstanding speeches about combating this and while a certain amount of cheer leading is a good thing, it never replaces the basic reality which is that until we get this virus under control somehow, the things we like to do are not doable right now. The league can make announcements about plans for season and playoffs, locations, schedules and all they will accomplish is to paint themselves into a corner. This virus is nowhere near under control and the sooner that is understood, the more easy we can be with the disruption. Mr. Baker is entitled to his opinion but it is just that, his opinion. It's a new world, and decision making is going to have to come with some subtlety and nuance. Mr. Baker never had to make decisions under circumstances like this. Where getting it wrong could literally mean death for some. Yes, the players need to be involved but in the end, the league has to make the decision, not Mr. Baker, not the players, not the fans. And while a lot of us may have some ideas to make things a bit more palatable, at the end of the day, none of us are sitting in that hot seat and frankly, I wouldn't want to. So a little respect for the situation Mr. Baker.
Last edited by Sir Purrcival on Fri May 29, 2020 10:51 am, edited 2 times in total.


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

The red flag for me was Bill Baker's suggestion of BC Place as a possible site for the 2020 GC. I guess he doesn't know that BC Place is indoors (the hole in the roof opening doesn't do much) and that is the worst place for crowds to gather.

And then there is the GC Week partying...Bill Baker just doesn't get it.

If the CFL is able to get a partial season going, then the idea of playing in the home stadium of one of the GC finalists in a sound idea, with less of a need for hotels and partying and just a physical distancing Game Day.


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

DanoT wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 11:39 am
If the CFL is able to get a partial season going, then the idea of playing in the home stadium of one of the GC finalists in a sound idea, with less of a need for hotels and partying and just a physical distancing Game Day.
I think the CFL is dangling that idea of playing the Grey Cup in the home stadium of the top finalist just to give fans faint hope they may be able to attend the game live. If the league is going to play in empty stadiums, why bother with the expense of relocating from a hub city to a home city for the Grey Cup game? The only reason to relocate for the game would be to avoid playing outdoors in the prairies in December. In that case they should just "award" both division finals and GC to Vancouver now.


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

The hub city idea is at the bottom of the CFL’s priority list, alongside cancelling the season. The first priority is for each team is to play at home, with or without fans. That’s where the “win and host” Grey Cup model comes from. Sending teams on a three-month road trip to Regina or Winnipeg is more costly for teams, less desirable for players and their families and gives the league less exposure to fans and sponsors.


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

Re: Hub City Concept.

Willes had a pretty good column today basically asking why the hell would Vancouver want to go down that road for the NHL given so many players and others would be coming from places that haven't exactly been leaders in halting the virus. Sure it would be great for the hotels and food services in those hotels but beyond that what other benefits are there and do they offset the risks of setting the host cities back? I think it makes more sense for the NHL given they will be trying to stuff a lot of games into a short window, multiple games per day. They would get in 3 or maybe 4 games per the cost of housing a team for 1 week. CFL teams would get 1 game for what would be higher costs.


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

What a mess for the cfl. Assuming they can even play a partial season, by the time they start, they'll be competing with all 4 major league sports. Further, they don't have the revenue scale of these other leagues to make it make much sense, as much of the overhead costs are fixed.

I don't know what the contractual obligations are to the players, not even sure if the league knows. But this seems like a money losing endeavor. In a league already bleeding in the books, I don't see how or why they pull this off.

Best case scenario, fans are allowed back after labour day. But how many show up? I would predict around 5,000 max at a lions game. That's assuming we have a vaccine and the gov opens up for large crowds - very unlikely.

More realistically, no fans allowed. Gotta pay players, stadium overhead, refs, etc. Plus extra costs for covid compliance measures. Does the TSN money cover this?

Is there something I'm missing? I just don't understand why they don't announce already that the season is cancelled.


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

Huge Talent wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 4:29 pm Is there something I'm missing? I just don't understand why they don't announce already that the season is cancelled.
The players want to play, fans want to watch, TSN wants to broadcast games and a majority of clubs would reportedly prefer to play a shortened season rather than cancel entirely. As Randy Ambrosie and Rick LeLacheur have said, the CFL might not survive a cancelled season. Playing half a season, culminating with the Grey Cup, keeps the league relevant and puts it on a more solid footing heading into 2021.

At this point, clubs have spent nearly half of their annual non-player salaries, and most offseason player bonuses have already been paid. Teams are losing money this year no matter what happens. Paying the players for half a season gives the league a chance to collect some TSN and sponsorship revenues and perhaps even some gate revenues, if only to give season ticketholders some value for the money they've already paid.


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

Huge Talent wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 4:29 pm What a mess for the cfl. Assuming they can even play a partial season, by the time they start, they'll be competing with all 4 major league sports.
Not necessarily so re: competing against the other 4.
CFL: talking no games until Labour Day although that isn't etched in stone.

NHL: We now know their plans likely will have them playing most if not all of July and August. With things to deal with like draft, free agency, arbitration, break after the playoffs and a subsequent training camp it's unlikely the 2020-21 season will start until probably mid-November at earliest which would be only 5 or 6 weeks later than normal. That would leave them inactive while the CFL gets September and October in.

NBA: it's been quiet there but I think they will be on a similar timeline as the NHL ergo not competing with CFL for September and October.

NFL: They are planning for a normal schedule which really means no difference for the CFL who always has to compete with them starting Labour Day.

MLB: Similar to the NFL they traditionally finish regular season at the end of September with World Series ending at the end of October. What might change is their season could carry on deeper into the fall but they can't go too far into November given how weather impacts baseball,

If the CFL can pull off starting a shortened season at Labour Day the net effect of competition for TV eyeballs might be less than normal if NHL and NBA are done this season by Labour Day and get a late start on next year. Nothing will be different for NFL competition and MLB could be the same except for possibility of going later into November.


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

Some good points guys.

The NHL timeline has their training camp starting early to mid July. That means the playoffs would start late July and probably wrap up end of September? 5 rounds!

I agree with your sentiments, but money talks. I really hope they do it, I just question the viability.


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

grunching here.

CFL is definitely in a tough spot.

what are CFL teams run-rate loss with no season?............ has any of this been articulated? those government help numbers mentioned 6 weeks ago seemed really really high for something that won't have games (and presumably won't be paying out $4-5 million in salary

if we have season (shortened?) with no fans at stadium, what will the players be paid?

is having high paid imports a big barrier to government assistance?

with a completely cancelled season, will things change with TSN and league sponsors?... of course, probably a mess with season tix holders in weaker markets. make them pay for nothing for a long time? or not make them pay, and then they look at world differently after CV?... both are poor outcomes.

this comment relates to pretty much most crowd activities: if it takes till 2021 to get vaccine, how long until many people are vaccinated?... and of course, there's going to be stupid blowback amongst anti-vac people and "i love the constitution even though i couldn't explain it" crowd........ it gets really scary for much more succesful leagues than CFL if 2021 starts looking like no fans.


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

Multiple sources have told Sportsnet, however, that there are some franchises in the league unsure at the moment on whether or not to proceed with playing games at all this year.

Those sources say there are at least two privately-run teams that have expressed reservations about going forward with a reduced schedule this fall under the present circumstances. Ambrosie said last week the league was exploring plans of potentially beginning a modified run of games beginning in September.
I know there has been a lot of assumptions that BC and Toronto are the 2 privately owned teams that don't want to proceed with a shortened season since they lose the most money. However, it was Braley himself suggesting a couple of weeks ago during a 1040 interview of an early September start-up. No way it's him.
Can't see it being MLSE either given their deep pockets. Both these owners are used to losing millions of dollars per season in recent memory with their CFL teams.

It's probably more like Ottawa (was initially surprised to learn of their borderline break even status given their success since the franchise re-launch) and perhaps the new owners in Montreal that didn't factor anything like this into their purchase.

That being said, it still comes down to federal aid for anything to proceed. From $30 million for immediate relief, $100 million for a shortened season with no fans to $150 million for for no season and the expected financial struggles of a 2021 season too.


And how long will this play out? Different formats being tossed around, teams in the process of re-opening their training facilities and we don;t know for what exactly. Strange times.


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

Montreal and Ottawa were my guesses too for the two franchises unsure about wanting a shortened season. David Braley and Rick LeLacheur have both said the CFL needs to play this year to survive so B.C. is not one of those teams.

If true, it’s a positive sign that a strong majority of teams want to play a shortened season. I’m sure the No. 1 priority is for teams to practise and play in their home markets, with some fans in attendance where possible.


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

Since the cancellation of the 2020 Grey Cup Festival, the league has been trying to present a brave face (co-opting the "Return To Play" slogan and connecting it to September). They know what they will actually be able to do at that time depends entirely on several layers of Gov't and their corresponding health authorities.

This is no different to all other pro sports but some of them, particularly the NHL and NFL, try to control the narrative more with planning that appears to disregard any potential regulatory barriers. With the CFL's inadequate TV contract (compared to the NHL, NBA and NFL) they don't have the luxury of making concrete plans with the certainty of no gate revenue. Lelacheur was asked in his most recent TSN interview about the modeling for physical distancing in BC Place and he sounded pretty dismissive about it as a solution (due to the very small percentage you could fit in there). If it's that discouraging in the largest CFL venue, no way anyone with an average size venue is going to take it seriously.

Farhan first reported the "better to close up now before you lose any more $$$" sentiment among some owners even before Ambrosie appeared before the House of Commons standing committee on finance. Ambrosie may have been trying to put the most dire spin possible in the languaging he used, but no doubt there is some truth in that possibility.

If at least some of the requested assistance isn't granted soon, I wouldn't be surprised if they do call the season. Probably before the big expenditures of fully opening up of training facilities begins.


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

A few things we know about Braley:
1) his passion for the CFL is runs as deep if not deeper than any other ownership group be it private or community.
2) he's stepped in to keep 3 different franchises from folding.
3) he's not afraid of losing money to keep teams solvent and perhaps the CFL itself as a result.
4) he's stubborn, very stubborn.

As a result as long as he's still on the right side of the field turf he will do whatever is necessary to keep the CFL alive. He will not let it die on his watch if he can at all help it. If he stands to lose twice as much money under a shortened fanless season versus canceling entirely and starting again in the New Year he will support that if he believes that gives the CFL it's best chance to survive. Losing the league will matter far more to him than losing money.


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

I'm in agreement with Hambone. This is not about money but about the longevity of the CFL and what it represents. We need the other CFL owners to express the same feelings and fans to stand behind their Teams and not perpetuate the CFL is dead mantra. If we don't play this year, so be it. There will be next year, be positive.

Be safe.


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