Speculation is over. No season in 2020.

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BC 1988
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David wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:09 pm
cromartie wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:00 pm
This is either a failure of PR, a failure of leadership, or both. Either way, someone who is employed today should not be as a result.

A league with a plan lays out to the public the costs and challenges of doing a reduced hub city season. They have a plan for this and an anticipated cost for that plan.

A league without leadership asks for money first and maybe comes out with a plan later.

Every North American sports league realized in April that COVID was going to negatively impact operations for their upcoming or current seasons. The NHL and NBA have found ways not only to finish their seasons, without fans in a hub city concept but they have plans in place for the next one. That's indicative of leadership, and believe me that's not a word I associate with Gary Bettman that often.

Even MLS, whose margins as a sports league are on par with the CFL most of the time (ponzi scheme expansion fees notwithstanding), found a way to execute the hub city concept after a delayed start. For the Commissioner to say "we didn't see this coming" is unacceptable.

There are ways to go about this, and still come to the conclusion that the season isn't viable, but this was the worst possible way to do it, and it is a clear failure in leadership at the league level, and a fundamental failure in the Commissioner's Office.
^^ This. ^^ Word for word. :daman:

:whs: :rockin:


DH :cool:
Yes--after spending some time to think about what just happened, and listening to Ambrosie several times since the announcement, I concur. It was an abomination, and they would have been much better in hindsight to have cancelled the season in early April. The damage to the league's image is enormous, not just with the public, but to all the players and operations staff who were given false hope.

I'm sure the CFL as we know it will not exist next year. If it exists at all it will be very different--and quite frankly it needs to change.


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Let me state again that other leagues were preparing contingencies with financial and logistical plans in April about how to run/manage both the remainder of the current season and the next.

Now, MLB unhubbed is having infection issues, and the NFL/NFLPA fiddled until literally the last minute and the NFL did a poor job of handling the PR around that, but they're actually playing some portion of a season, with a plan.

The CFL is a low margin league in the majority of its markets, with a variety of ownership groups with different opportunities and limitations in terms of revenue streams. What conclusions should you have been able to draw in April ?

1. Provinces weren't likely to, in a best case scenario, reopen fully until the June/July timeframe. This meant the season wasn't going to start on time, and a normal schedule wasn't viable.

Because of this, you could have concluded that you could:

A) Come up with an alternative potential operating model centered around one or two hub cities. or

B) Just go to the government and ask for $150 million with no plan at all.

If you chose B, you're the current Commissioner of the CFL.

And if you're asking me to have pity on a guy who inherited three ownership groups with financial issues, perhaps then he should have spent less of his time setting up scouting combines in Mexico and Germany and more time getting those situations resolved.

Let me be clear, I don't object to not playing the season because you don't feel it's safe to do so, I object to the complete failure in leadership that cancels the season in mid-August because you spent four months dicking around trying to come up with money before you even had a plan. Ambrosie is no more up to the job than his predecessor and needs to go.


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BC 1988 wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:35 pm
The damage to the league's image is enormous, not just with the public, but to all the players and operations staff who were given false hope.

I'm sure the CFL as we know it will not exist next year. If it exists at all it will be very different--and quite frankly it needs to change.
I don't think the damage is that bad if I'm literally the only person walking around calling for Ambrosie's head. (And, for the record, I'm American, marginally.)

I don't think the CFL as we know it is going to be radically different. I don't think anyone is going bankrupt. I don't think any ownership groups are going to sell. The guy banging the drum the loudest about revenue distribution heads the club owned by MLSE, not exactly a poverty stricken ownership group.

Does it "need to change"? Sure. But the CFL is a high cost low margin product that is heavily gate revenue dependent. The primary source of income is gate driven in a time when actually having to rely on a physical presence to generate the majority of revenue is a death sentence. There isn't a lot of room to change, much less so than most other professional sports leagues.

So a better television contract is about the only way to infuse cash into the system without a heavier investment using cash you don't have.

You can reduce expenses by using cheaper labor (which is at the core of the international player initiative) but that requires renegotiating your contract with the CFLPA and I wish you luck with that. You can cut/consolidate/outsource back office labor, but the burden of filling the needs then falls on revenue producing labor and that indirectly impedes revenue generation. Assuming there's expendable revenue out there to be had to begin with; a risky proposition in a pandemic.

You could ponzi scheme your way to a short term cash infusion through expansion. The 1990s taught us that that wasn't a viable, sustainable strategy.

History shows that your international options have a very low ceiling. Robert Wetenhall tried for close to two decades to get this league into the American television market with low success at best.

The clubs that can put pressure on to improve stadium lease financial terms, with the costs of these (indirectly) being pushed back to the provinces. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but the Lions, as one example, get next to or nothing from concessions or parking revenue for games. That is atypical for most lease arrangements (at least down here, where clubs outside of California rob municipalities blind as a matter of course).


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I don't put too much blame on Ambrosie. I'm not sure that a 2020 season was ever viable for the CFL (barring a large infusion of cash). No other pro league needed such an infusion to operate. No other pro league has the challenges of the CFL. I do agree that his $150m pitch was perhaps not as well planned as it could have been, but he faced (and still faces) a very difficult situation.

The big challenge for the CFL is that it is looking increasingly unlikely that the stands will be filled next year either. Not sure the league can survive two years without gate revenue.


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maxlion wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:32 pm
I don't put too much blame on Ambrosie. I'm not sure that a 2020 season was ever viable for the CFL (barring a large infusion of cash). No other pro league needed such an infusion to operate. No other pro league has the challenges of the CFL. I do agree that his $150m pitch was perhaps not as well planned as it could have been, but he faced (and still faces) a very difficult situation.

The big challenge for the CFL is that it is looking increasingly unlikely that the stands will be filled next year either. Not sure the league can survive two years without gate revenue.
^^^ I agree. Most of the criticism should go to the CFL BoG who are Ambrosie's boss and while the BoG won't be the ones working on the Proposal, they certainly would need to approve anything that goes to government.

I felt back in late March that there would be too many unknowns including unforeseen expenses and not enough income for the season to happen, even a shortened one. I based my reasoning on it coming down to choosing between No Season and known loses and Altered Season and unknown loses, potentially greater than No Season.

I didn't think that $$ from government would happen due to others in the Arts and Entertainment industry and associated companies and individuals also expecting more gov. $$.


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Any rumblings yet on CFL players who might opt out of their contracts when that door opens on Monday?

https://www.tsn.ca/report-cfl-players-c ... -1.1512818


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cms22
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i have said this a few times. but i think the CFL should change things up some and the federal government should be a major sponsor going forward beyond covid. nothing different than the CBC or the national ballet. and for the money, CFL benefit/dollar would be astronomically higher than the CBC. culturally, the CFL is one of the few things that links prairies (and the maritimes soon) to the rest of canada. quebec somewhat too.

i understand if people say "why should the government spend that money on CFL?"... but they already do spend tens of billions similarly. so to me, it's sponsor nothing or sponsor alot of things..... government sponsorship would be brilliant. TSN covers the commercial side and federal government covers the cultural side. if CBC broadcast the games, they would lump the 2 together.


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honestly, is there going to be a 2021 season?........ big money sports will have 2021 seasons but will they look that different from now. AND will players want to bubble for 7 months? seems unlikely

i think we are minimum 3 years from 95% normalcy.... but 2 years away from 85% normalcy


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cms22 wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:42 pm
honestly, is there going to be a 2021 season?........ big money sports will have 2021 seasons but will they look that different from now. AND will players want to bubble for 7 months? seems unlikely

i think we are minimum 3 years from 95% normalcy.... but 2 years away from 85% normalcy
Valid question. IMO there's no way the CFL can operate in anything other than something close to normalcy. I'm thinking everything as normal except for restrictions on how many fans can attend. Bubble is too expensive and I doubt they would find enough players willing to enter a 7 month bubble. The NHL bubble is looking successful but I think under the surface a lot of players are struggling to deal with it and almost looking forward to elimination. They've only been in it for 1 month with the SC finalists looking at another 6 weeks.

I was listening to the Canuck game on Sirius last night driving back to PG from Vancouver. They had the St. Louis broadcast crew doing it. They talked about the bubble and pondered whether Arizona might have already been counting the days before they could go home as they rolled over and lost the final 2 games of their series by identical 7-1 scores. The Blues didn't sound as engaged as one would think as they faced elimination last night. They also relayed a conversation one of them had with a player (might have been Jordan Staal) who explained how difficult it is dealing with being away from families. Obviously most of these players with kids are dealing with young kids most of whom are likely 7 and under. The player has a 4 year old daughter. He said on a normal road trip when he's talking to her on the phone and she asks "when are you coming home Daddy?" he could answer in terms she could understand like 1 more sleep or 2 more sleeps. This time all he could say is "I don't know" which would be highly upsetting to the little one who would have no way of understanding what this bubble thing means or entails.

I think what makes it much easier for NHL teams is the fact their bubble is 10 weeks max and that's only for the 2 teams who make the Finals. 24 teams arrived in the bubble about 4 weeks ago. 16 of them have already gone home. In less than 14 days they will be joined by 4 more.


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it is not like the concept of working away from family is new. Throughout history many have gone away for months at a time for war, or to work in another country, or up north, etc. Most of the time they couldn't just fly home for the weekend, didn't have phones, then they didn't have internet. It should be easier today to just man up and do what you have to.


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Hambone wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:40 pm
I was listening to the Canuck game on Sirius last night driving back to PG from Vancouver. They had the St. Louis broadcast crew doing it. They talked about the bubble and pondered whether Arizona might have already been counting the days before they could go home as they rolled over and lost the final 2 games of their series by identical 7-1 scores. The Blues didn't sound as engaged as one would think as they faced elimination last night. They also relayed a conversation one of them had with a player (might have been Jordan Staal) who explained how difficult it is dealing with being away from families. Obviously most of these players with kids are dealing with young kids most of whom are likely 7 and under. The player has a 4 year old daughter. He said on a normal road trip when he's talking to her on the phone and she asks "when are you coming home Daddy?" he could answer in terms she could understand like 1 more sleep or 2 more sleeps. This time all he could say is "I don't know" which would be highly upsetting to the little one who would have no way of understanding what this bubble thing means or entails.
Not to go too far in the weeds here as this is a football forum, but it will be interesting to see if there is any correlation between the average age of teams and the length of playoff run in the bubble sports leagues (NHL and NBA). Obviously, skill is mostly at play, but St. Louis is a veteran team (presumably) with many married players with young kids, likely more than the Canucks core, featuring many young single guys like Petterson, Boeser, Hughes, Stecher etc.

I'm not sure it's so much that the Blues didn't seem engaged it's that their goaltending sucked for most of the series. Very deflating when your goalie(s) is whiffing on stoppable shots.


DH :cool:


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Hambone wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:04 pm
Any rumblings yet on CFL players who might opt out of their contracts when that door opens on Monday?
Good explanation of the system on 3DN.

If you go there is a $6600 payout for vets. Nothing said about first year guys with a contract that obviously is not guaranteed.

If you stay, medical coverage and six months of the government wage subsidy program.

Nothing really coming from the CFL for the players that I saw and don't think there will be many opting out given the slim chance of catching on with an NFL team. That said, I wish the best to Nate Holley.

Assume Mike Reilly got his reporting bonus so guessing none of the upper level contracts would opt out.

It is what it is. At least people now know what is up for the rest of the year. Still work to do imo.


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cms22 wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:40 pm
i have said this a few times. but i think the CFL should change things up some and the federal government should be a major sponsor going forward beyond covid. nothing different than the CBC or the national ballet. and for the money, CFL benefit/dollar would be astronomically higher than the CBC. culturally, the CFL is one of the few things that links prairies (and the maritimes soon) to the rest of canada. quebec somewhat too.

i understand if people say "why should the government spend that money on CFL?"... but they already do spend tens of billions similarly. so to me, it's sponsor nothing or sponsor alot of things..... government sponsorship would be brilliant. TSN covers the commercial side and federal government covers the cultural side. if CBC broadcast the games, they would lump the 2 together.
Given that the federal government is currently up to its eyeballs in debt and has recently turned down a $30M interest free loan to the CFL, it seems highly unlikely that the Feds will entertain the idea of sponsoring CFL broadcasts be it on TSN or CBC.

Personally, in these tough economic times, I would like to see the government help out the taxpayer by keeping CBC radio going, but defund the rest of the CBC and also stop the partial subsidizing of private media as well.


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good discussions, thanks :)

as per "working away from family for many months being common", that is almost always voluntary. and usually the motivation is make much more money than you could locally (oil workers, whether oil sands or foreign. i know a guy who works half the year in indonesia. comes back many times - precovid).. many hockey players are already rich. and as mentioned, many commercial workers go home all the time from remote oil work. military not so much.

on government funding, $30MM is nothing. it's rounding error. and it'll be paid back (i think..... not sure if it was "joint and several" where everyone listed on the debt is theoretically responsible for the whole debt).... interest rates are so low anyway, i wonder if CFL could have got it elsewhere. all the different parties and ownership structures might be issue....... i think canadian govt sponsoring CFL could be a financial win. somehow tie it into marketing canada. i think CFL went wrong way in promoting internationally. india/china makes way more sense to me than mexico/europe

had a couple of other points but forgot....... oh yeah, i do find the whole psychology and betting of games in the bubble interesting. i do wonder if teams psychologically check out. are the best teams still the best teams? it seems yes in nba/nhl, not so much in baseball. but baseball is a bit erratic. old players with horrible contracts on big teams. lots of young talent on worst franchises. when do these things kick in?


cms22
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bubble = no home field advantage.

does anyone remember how loud BC Place was in 1982/1983 during the playoffs?. my ears hurt during the game. i remember hufnagel (and zorn?) at QB for winnipeg. couldn't get the snap counts coordinated at all.......... is seattle that loud? i'd need data that it's louder (i would say indoors trumps outdoors).... anyway, BC Place was really really loud


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