Can the CFL honestly survive without a 2020 season?

American Fan here, just saw the XFL fold, by the looks of this forum the CFL is running on razor thin margins, and I don't see how they can honestly survive without playing a season.

just wondering....why not?

Well, teams might have to lie a bit here and there, but some teams are used to being dishonest about their finances. I think we'll pull through.

Some CFL teams have been around for something like 1000 times longer than the XFL survived, so they might have a more solid base to stand on.


Well. The XFL has just layed everyone off. Players last few paychecks wont be paid.
And 2021 season is likely to be cancelled as well.

I was a big fan of the XFL, but it obviously has nowhere near the history of the CFL. With that being said, the face of pro sports will undoubtedly change. Even when things get back to "normal" I don't know if we'll see the days of 30k+ packing sports stadia again. While NFL and NBA can exist solely on television deals, the owners will not be happy losing 20-40% of their revenue without paying fans and merchandise/concession sales. Contraction and salary reductions will be the norm going forward. For leagues that rely on gate attendance as their chief source of revenue, it may be hard to ever truly come back.

The CFL, MLS, WNBA, and even the NHL need fans in the stands to even come close to turning a profit. The television money just isn't there to keep them afloat. The sports landscape will look vastly different, I predict, in 2022

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I think it all depends on if and when they come up with an effective enough vaccine.

If they do, take a shot and go to the game. No reason not to get back to normal in that case


I certainly hope so. The cities with new stadiums and good attendance may survive. TO, BC, who knows? I wonder if teams or leagues have any kind of insurance for something like this? I just think this league has survived a long time and gone through a lot, it will come back in some form.

There might still be a reason, FYB.

As in, if you are stuck sitting next to an anti-vaxxer.


I think the league will survive. If they don't have a 2020 season, they'll relaunch in 2021. Most likely forward 2020 season ticket money over so they have a base to start from.

Once a vaccine or effective treatment is ready for the general public, people will want to go out again.

As fast as comparing this to the XFL, it was being funded by one owner as opposed to 8. It was done effectively be selling WWE stock which is low right now. Since WWE is a publicly traded company, shareholders would not be too happy right now. Costs more to run 9 teams (8 plus the combined practice squad) than it is to run 1. The XFL didn't have a TV contract that paid them.

2 very different business models were talking here.


Owners have resources and an upside to keeping the league afloat. XFL lost money and CFL teams, most did not. Also the team that lost the most money is also the CFL's broadcast partner owner. CFL is a major property of their's so they won't want anything to happen to it. Each game is televised so they have ad revenue from that and probably lots of it plus as fans, we all pay to watch them on Bell through TSN. That cost me $15/month as I want all the TSN channels during the CFL season and in Quebec, RDS also owned by Bell holds the French Broadcast rights. Forgot also TSN radio also holds radio broadcast rights so maybe the club is a bargain for them when you look at the big picture. Not to mention the hours of content the league provides to Bell.

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How many of the CFL on TSN advertisers will still be in business to advertise in the future? Or will opt to spend as they did before? How many fans who subscribe to TSN will cut back on their discretionary spending (such as cable packages) after losing their jobs or losing a big part of their income?

I don't think we can make any safe assumptions based on what has happened in the past. This is a whole new world, with spinoff effects that aren't yet fully known.

Clearly the league has in the past relied heavily on gate revenue. That seems likely to take a hit, and TV/sponsor revenue is far from guaranteed, I'd say.

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I’m already watching re-runs of “CFL Classics” on TSN. I think I’m a junkie?

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I’m thinking CFL survival may come down to the amount of fixed costs the teams will need to absorb in 2020. Toronto, BC and Montreal with new owners may be the bellwethers. If costs are seen as being too high to recoup in say one or two years, I’m afraid some of our team owners will bail. And how many players in their last years will want to sit a year and then restart their career for maybe one season? Might be an opportunity to move on to a second career.

I can see teams, and players, carefully considering the future, post-Covid.


This is a fair assessment. I subscribe to Sports Business Journal and one thing they've mentioned, advertisers will tend to stick with tried and trued brands once sports return to normal. This could Unfortunately be an example of the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer

Can the CFL honestly survive without a 2020 season?



Might take a step back, but it will be around. The CFL doesn't really care what it looks like, as long as they are playing Football. They'd roll out a bunch of teams made up entirely of fans if they had to.


Once this evens out and there is a goal in view of a vaccine or even drugs that help with the symptoms, people go back. If say next year a vaccine comes out, in a few years, people will talk about it like 911. It was horrible, but happened a while ago.

For the CFL, I think that it helps that they didn't start the season. No player pay cheques to write right now. Working with skeleton staffs as well.
If masks are found to work well with limiting spreading, could we not see games return with fans facing mandatory mask requirements, and players being tested before every game.

There will be a season. Saskatchewan has just purchased two rapid testing kits now in circulation which should significantly increase testing capabilities. Talks of implementating opening up of the economy is beginning. All looking good imo.

The "rapid testing kits" apparently take one hour. So, to test a team of 44 players would take 44 hours, or two days with one kit, one full day with two. Unless you had 44 individual kits. What happens if your last guy tested comes up positive? Would you have to isolate all 44 players starting two days before each game, to ensure no one had contact with anyone else, who might be positive. And what do you do if your starting QB comes up positive? Would there need be provision to have an emergency call up at each position? Would they all have to be tested and isolated?

Until the new infections rate falls to zero or essentially zero, I think we are running up hill in quick sand.

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Yes! I think they will find a way,

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