Montreal Alouettes Owner Gary Stern was a recent guest on The Markcast. He talked about why he got on Twitter, the importance of social media to get new fans, the CFL surviving 100 years, the Alouettes recent coaching change, Vernon Adams Jr, competition from US football leagues, and more.
Stern was asked about the CFL TV ratings verse the USFL. Stern does not like the word USFL or XFL. He also talks about the CFL attracting a US audience.
“I don’t even like the word USFL on your podcast, but they’re there. I don’t like the word XFL. I don’t even like the word NFL. I love the word CFL. I am passionate about it, and I am really passionate about the Alouettes… we have a good Canadian fan base.
The US leagues, we have to step up (to attract fans)… we’re not competitive… we’re uniquely Canadian. How do we take this Canadian football and attract the US audience… There is a balance here and it’s something I think the CFL is going to have to figure it out and fast.. we are uniquely Canadian, but can uniquely Canadian support where we want to go?
Let’s face it, with this new league(USFL & XFL), I won’t even mention their names. There is going to be increased competition for players. Increased competition for players causes rapidly rising salaries or a diluted product… that’s going to be a problem.”
He also goes on to talk about the CFL’s shrinking revenues and losing the players to the US football leagues.
“We’re looking at shrinking revenues because there’s less money available from our fan base to pay…. Yet I’m a firm believer we’re going to have to pay more for players…. I’m going to get shot for saying that. It’s not us against the players. We’re together on this. “
Stern also talks about how important having great players is to a league.
“We must find a way for people to watch and sponsor us and have a great entertaining product. That product is based on having great players… we’re working on it. How do you spend more and have less revenue? I think we have to take a risk, spend more, and hope that our on-field product improves.”
He also talks about how the new US leagues will impact the CFL next season.
“How are going to translate this to players next year? We’re even going to have to protect our players because people are going to come from the US.. Looking for them. This is going to be tough… I’m passionate. I believe we can do it. But we got to remain open to any and all ideas.”
Stern was asked about the firing of head coach Khari Jones.
“I won’t get involved in the whole thing… I have nothing but respect for Khari, for the effort, he put in helping take this team in 2020. We didn’t play in 2020… then we played a shortened season in 2021, and now we’re playing a full season.
The man has been nothing to me but genuine, hard-working, and did everything he could, and he put his heart and soul into it…. I’m being sincere. It saddens me that he’s no longer with the club, but I’m not going to go into the rest.”
He talks about Vernon Adams Jr, Trevor Harris, his dislike for bi-weeks, the CFL media, and more. Worth a full listen.
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