Jeff Hamilton of the Winnipeg Free Press joined The Markcast this week to discuss the latest CFL/XFL news, fan reaction to the XFL talks, plus how and why the CFL needs to be more transparent.
On When The CFL Needs To Make A Decision On The 2021 Season
“The reality is, we’ve been in a bit of a holding pattern and waiting on covid-19 and where the numbers are. Not just in a number of cases in the various provinces, but also the vaccination rates.
I think the real date we’re looking for now, is mid June, because you can’t just say you’re going to play August 5th and not make a definitive statement.”
The Issue Of Transparency In The CFL
“Transparency has been an issue with this league for a long time. It’s been not only an issue in the lack of transparency, but it goes it contradicts directly what they claim to be.
That the CFL is the most accessible league in pro sports, most accessible to players, more accessible to their product, like you’re part of this, we need you kind of thing.
Obviously, every professional league needs fans. They need that support. But the CFL tries to put their arm around you and say, come on in and be part of this…. now fast forward a year, and we see this movie play out again…. Then you throw the XFL on top of it, and tensions are high.”
On If The CFL Will Survive If They Don’t Play In 2021
“I do think they’ll survive if they don’t play another year. If you look back at things and even go to last year, I was of the mind that they should have shut the lights out early… We started seeing teams lose 7 million dollars. The Bombers lost $10 million, but it was $7 million with the government subsidies they had… the Edmonton, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, would have benefited from shutting the lights off immediately. The fact that they’re posting anywhere between $7 and $10 million losses is unforgivable. You look back on it and you go, wow, that money could have been really useful, and where exactly did it go?”
On The CFL’s Business Model Being Broken & The XFL
“There are things that are broken with the CFL. A common thing I’ve used is if you had preexisting conditions before the pandemic hit, that just got magnified… That was the situation with the CFL. They already had issues. They were already claiming, beating their chest, about being this big, glorious league…. But they were losing $20 million dollars a season… like there’s no one in their right mind would buy the CFL…
Now, the CFL is a good product. It’s a good game. It has a long history and all those things. But when the announcement came out with the XFL that we were announcing that we’re having conversations you’re damn right the CFL knew what that would do. They knew that even the mention of the US expansion was going to rattle the cage.”
His Reaction On The CFL/XFL Talks
“Immediately I thought, OK, this is interesting for sure, given the whole global expansion plan. But I originally thought, OK, this is The Rock. This is Danny Garcia, who has a lot of experience in building brands. You have RedBird Capital who has money and interest in expanding their sports portfolio…. the CFL Board of Governors is an old, tired group…. They don’t have creative ideas. They sit in a room and I’m going to say they just yell at each other”
You can watch the full interview here.
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