Could the CFL play in the US if the Federal and Provincial Gov'ts denies permission to the league?

I was watching the Rod Petersen Show and he mentioned would the CFL play in the US if the Federal and Provincial Gov'ts denied the league to play inside Canada like what had happened to the Blue Jays and Raptors. He brought up a good point.

Does the CFL have a contingency plan if the Canadian and Provincial Gov't says no to the CFL? The Federal Gov't said no to the league before. The Pandemic has mutated, the Federal Gov't hasn't secured enough vaccines to inoculate it's citizens by the timelines that it announced.

Is it too late to come up with a plan "B"? Is the CFL going to plow ahead with league play in their own stadiums like the NFL, NHL,NBA and MLB have done?

I suggest the CFL plays games in San Antonio, Texas if the Federal and Provincial Gov'ts denies the league to play inside the country if stadium capacity has changed to mitigate losses for ths league. San Antonio has hosted the AAF and The Spring League to play in it's city.

The Alamodome has a COVID capacity of 11,200 spectators at the moment. That figure is already greater than what Provincial Gov't guidelines suggest. The Alamodome has a COVID attendance plan in place for it's college football team, The stadium can accommodate a CFL sized field. Play regular season games by Labor Day and move the playoffs and the Grey Cup back to Canada, with the hope that COVID cases have decreased.

Thought or suggestions People

I think the first thing among the many contingency plans being worked on, can the league find a way to make the numbers work in a worst case scenario where no fans being allowed any time during the season.

If that plan involves a hub like last year then I don't see a difference if it's played in Canada or the US. The new travel restrictions requiring a 14 day quarantine at a hotel, that cost will exist no matter where they play.

If those costs can be overcome then I can't see why they couldn't play a hub season in Canada, much like the NHL got approval for the Canadian division.

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I was thinking the same way Dave after watching Rod Peterson. Also was thinking of San Antonio with it's indoor stadium especially in the hot summer months. Also was wondering about St. Louis where fans might be more apt to attend CFL after losing the Cardinals. I expect there would be quite a few hurdles setting it all up. But with no fans allowed in Canada and a limited number being allowed in the States the losses might not be as bad playing down there. The paid attendance would probably have to be pooled among the teams instead of each "home" team receiving their gate receipts. Maybe by September things will start to loosen up back in Canada, and the last half of the schedule and playoffs could return up here. As long as TSN is showing all the games I'm all for the idea.


I don't think this makes fiscal sense. Better to use stadium facilities you own or at least can get for very cheap if you're going to bubble and play your games out of one location. And each CFL city has at least some staff that can operate various things that need operating. Hosting them all in the US for months and that CAD to USD conversion - yikes.


DaveDaHammer, Mightygoose, DoubleBlue, and sully,

All of you make valid points. The big thing economically would be 35% average exchange rate that will be a huge operating cost if they were to play games in the US.

If they are allowing an All Canadian Division in hockey with no fans, then I think this is a small stepping stone for the CFL to play games in there respected stadiums. If all or some of the Provincial Governments declined the CFL for playing in there stadiums, then to me that is being hypocritical on the various Provincial Governments.

I get that the CFL is more of a gate driven league for there source of income. However, factoring all of your expenses being all in USD if they were do do so, would be very expensive.

I'm more confident that there will be games with no fans than some fans in the stands. Quite possible also of more of a shortened season.


The problem they CFL has with a bubble, is that they've already taken the fan's money. If they had reimbursed the fans instead of kiting the money and probably kept the TSN money also. They could go to a Pay per view system, Where fans pays 199.00 for a 10 game package or a 549.00 package for all games and they could have made this work. If you play all games in the same stadium, your crew and production costs go down drastically.

I don't see a realistic way for them to have a season without fans without TSN doubling or tripling their contribution for the season. TSN would need to kick in 150 million instead of the roughly 50 million they pay for now. Or they need to find ten companies to kick in 10 million each.

Don't hold your breath for the CFL to get after it...


As an Argonauts season ticket holder, we can social distance big time as we only get about 14,000 fans per game. Lol.


Has anyone figured out how the CFL can make the numbers worked with anything less than 22k in the stands for an entire 18 game season? It has been fairly well documented CFL teams need 20 million in revenue just to break even, which is just about what Ambrosie asked the feds for last spring.

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It might be a good idea but I don't understand why the CFL not pursue this idea last year instead of wasting it asking for government funding that wasn't coming.

There could ways to lower costs like in taxation, playing in Texas with no state taxes, numerous rich celebrities are heading to that tax sheltered state. Cheaper US items on food, gas, supplies in comparison to things in Canada. Buying in bulk for Gatorade, tape, cups, masks saves money. Hotels discounts, tendered bids on Catering services. Buy US dollars now in large amounts saved for petty cash expenses for future usage. The logistics of the contingency plan has to be thought out. Canadian NHL teams face the same battles as well

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Operating costs would be around $24 MILLION, that's taken form the Edmonton financials, most CFL teams would be the same.
Their revenue was roughly close to $24 MILLION
Gate receipts were $8.1M in 2019 down from $9.6 Million in 2018. Sponsors $5.9 M, TV revenue $4.3 M, concessions $3.8 M, merchandise $967k
Other teams may be able to get similar gate receipts but with smaller attendance they would need higher ticket prices, higher concession prices.

When you see that the revenue from the TV contract is not much more than revenue from the concessions, it's obvious that "bums in the seats" and those bums buying beer is by far the most important revenue stream

The only revenue stream for the CFL would be the $4.3 M TV revenue if they played in the US. I doubt CFL games would attract anyone in the US

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Highly doubt that. People would watch CFL football in a football crazed country like the US, particularly in Texas. One in ten Americans follow the CFL according to McLean's 2015 poll.

The real question is how much money is the CFL willing to lose? A lot or a couple of million short of breaking even.

Maybe playing in the States bring in new sponsors, brand awareness and merchandise sales. Playing in a jurisdiction with lessen health guidelines like Texas that allow 25% COVID capacity mandated by the state governor is advantageous than Alberta's 200 limit in outside mass gathering numbers it issued in June. Increase ticket prices by 15%, The US paying fans won't notice the difference. Maybe an estimated gate revenue would be at half rate with the currency conversion would lessen the hardship

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[quote="DaveDaHammer, post:12, topic:69574"]
Highly doubt that. People would watch CFL football in a football crazed country like the US, particularly in Texas.[/quote]

You mean like how the San Antonio CFL team in the 90s averaged only 15k fans a game? The US doesn't care about the CFL. It's TV ratings in the US are horrible. I work with Americans (some from Texas even) and they're football fans - and they had no idea Canada had it's own football league.

The US (and Texas) only care about the NFL and College football. That's why the CFL in US in the 90s failed horribly.

The CFL playing in SA would easily fill the 11,200 COVID capacity. Those are old figures from the 90's, the world has changed since then. The San Antonio Commanders of the AAF had great crowds. The UTSA Roadrunners is well supported. The CFL playing in SA would make more money to mitigate their losses than playing in Canada, if the Gov'ts deny the CFL to play in the country. That is the point of this alternative idea.

You must hang with the 9/10s of Americans that aren't friends of the CFL. Need to find new people to chill with, bro

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The Alamo Dome was rented for $28,300.00 in December 29 2020 for a High School Bowl Game. Apparently covid capacity is a little over 11,000. 2,000 fans at $20 a pop would more than pay for that. I can see getting 10,000 to some games, just out of curiosity.


My wife’s cousins played High School football in San Antonio. Their football stadium in the 1980s could easily seat several thousand, and they would sell out Friday night games. Trouble is, for the CFL, it might be a tough sell, competing with High School, College, and NFL.

They love their football, but I dunno about CFL football unless you have a few local fellows on the squad. And too far for us to commute!

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You are trying to tell us that more Americans watch the CFL than Canadians? I wouldn't believe that McLeans poll or you are reading it wrong. 10% of the US population would be 33 MILLION, we are lucky to get 10% of the Canadian population that is interested in the CFL !!
There is no way that people in San Antonio would come out to watch 75 CFL games and pay for it. 11,000 people a game?
We had a CFL exhibtion game in Quebec City a couple of years ago and there was a couple of thousand fans in the stands. I went to Guelph to see the Argos/Ottawa game a few thousand people in the stands. Fort MacMurray hosted the Esks and the Argos same thing a few years ago. Canadians outside of CFL cities aren't interested, don't expect football fans in Texas to come out and watch 3 CFL games per week.
The CFL can not be seriously looking at this


Ten percent of the US Population is a lot of people,

People came out to watch the AAF and The Spring League. They would definitely come to watch CFL games once it is promoted within the SA area

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If the league has a discount arrangement worked out with Westjet, maybe the season ticket holders can attend a game.

Games in SA should go ahead on schedule to fulfill it's broadcast obligation to TSN. But if need be, move the Saturday to accommodate the UTAS to Monday. But if a shorten CFL season starts in June and ends by September, the scheduling move is moot.

1 in 10 Americans follow the CFL? That stat fails even the sniff test.

1 in 100? Impossible.
1 in 1000? Not even.
1 in 10000? Now we are in the ballpark.

I will give you 5 in 10,000, and that would be generous as the real number is probably about 3 or 4 in 10,000.

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