CFL commish: 2020 season likely off, league in trouble


As part of a request for balloon funding to keep the league in position to play, Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie told the House of Commons the 2020 season would “most likely” be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CFL ownership and players are scheduled to meet Friday, when a final decision on the regular season could be made.

Ambrosie said the CFL is “very much in jeopardy” after owners collectively lost $20 million last season.

Ambrosie requested $150 million in support from the Canadian government to counteract ongoing losses in revenue that would only deepen if the season is canceled as expected.

Asked on the floor of the House why the government should support a league with many wealthy owners and minimal support from banks, Ambrosie denied that was a question to ponder.

“It’s not a question of whether banks would support us,” Ambrosie said. “The issue is you’re now taking a $20 million loss and you’re almost certainly making that loss bigger in future years.”

The average CFL player salary is around $100,000 and teams operate with a salary cap of just over $5 million.

The CFL season typically begins in June — Week 1 for the upcoming season was scheduled for June 11 — and the regular season runs 21 weeks, compared to 17 for the NFL. But teams have three bye weeks and play 18 games.

“Our fundamental position is that we are looking for financial support that we want to pay back to Canadians. If it’s in the form of a loan, perhaps we pay some of that loan back through programs,” Ambrosie said. “We’re really looking for a business relationship that would be good for Canadians in the long run.”

—Field Level Media