Dmont's take on NFL - Toronto (yeah yeah, its late, i know)

My take on NFL Toronto

Yeah yeah yeah, I know, some people are sick of hearing about it, but I wanted to post this last week but was swamped with midterms. If this topic angers you, simply ignore it. Don’t bother with the “lets stop talking about this!? stuff.

Ok here we go:

Normally, I’d say not a chance.

If MLSE and Rogers are planning to do this, they’d need to a) fund a brand new 80k seat domed/retractable stadium, or b) renovate the rogers centre to hold in excess of 65k.

I don’t believe a) is possible within Toronto. There’s already a big damn stadium in Skydome, and after that experience, I doubt the city would rezone for another monster stadium. If they wanted to knock skydome down, where would Rogers’ jays play? Teddy's not ready to say goodbye yet, and since multi-use football/baseball stadiums seem to be a thing of the past, the owners would be left footing the bill for two stadiums. If they went with b) the final product would likely be too big/unsuitable for the jays. They’d get stuck making another stadium again. Therefore, I don’t see a venue happening.

Ok, now suppose the group had enough money to somehow build two stadiums OR build a big monster out in the suburbs somewhere. To me, the economics of adding a Toronto team don’t make much sense for the NFL. The league would be splitting its TV revenue another way, sending $110M north of the border every year, and almost certainly never seeing much incremental league revenues. This of course means the franchise fee would be enormous; the league would expect to be well compensated today for their forgone future revenues. As has been said several times out of the NFL front office, there are no plans for expansion in the immediate future, and even if they were, L.A. would be the first choice. There’s a handful of other cities also more likely to land a franchise, like San Antonio and Orlando.

Expansion appears to be out!

Ok, now lets look at the Bills. The stories about Buffalo being a dying city unable to support a team are ludicrous. Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis are all dealing with the same issues, and Buffalo’s had some economic progress in the last couple of years. It’s hardly a sinking ship. People say "The owner's gonna die and there's no one but the Toronto group waiting to buy it!" Yes, the owner is old, and wants to sell the team before he dies. The closer he comes to dying, though, the more desperate he’ll be to sell the team. That means a lower price. I bet there’s plenty of rich American guys waiting in the fringes to snap it up at a price less than $1B.

Not to mention, I’ve also heard that the Bills trying to get either a new stadium or a sweetheart lease out of the city, and they’re fabricating a threat of relocation. This is the oldest trick in the book. If this team is likely to move, the current owner would actively try NOT to get a new lease, since doing so limits the new owner’s options, and thus decreases the value. A new lease would only be valuable to someone planning to keep the team in Buffalo, and if its true that the team is pursuing this, then that team isn’t going anywhere.

Like I said, normally I'd say no chance, but some key players have been acting more jittery these days, like Wright, Cohon, etc, than if it was all just idle speculation. So, lets examine the "what if?"

Ok now lets suppose that Toronto has gotten a new stadium, AND the NFL has defied all my logic and has decided to be Toronto-bound. They face a P.R. nightmare if they do so without the cooperation of the CFL. They might actually LOSE fans over it, particularly fans of both leagues all over Canada (35% of football fansin Canada) who have lost their CFL team and know exactly who's responsible for killing it. They want to improve their image around the world, and coming in and killing the domestic league and a piece of football history isn’t the way to do it. If (BIG IF) the NFL ever ended up in Toronto, a CFL-NFL agreement would be signed similar to the following:

CFL agrees to:

  1. Welcome the NFL to town, grease the wheels with fans and politicians.
  2. Move its season back a few weeks to limit competition between the two leagues. Preseason occurs toward the end of the NHL playoffs
  3. Sell the U.S. broadcasting rights to the NFL network for $XM (I’m gonna guess $16M, similar to the TSN contract). This compensates the CFL for any loss of sponsorship (and then some!) and will give the rest of football-crazy Canada a rosy image of the NFL, plus with the death of NFLE, there’s not much going on on that channel all summer anyways.

NFL agrees to:

  1. Enter into partnership with the Argos to retrofit BMO field for approx. 25k seats.
  2. Donate $4M annually to CIS football, on the surface to “grow the game of football in North America?, but really just another way to get a shot at attracting fans from outside of Toronto to watch. Together with the tv deal, it’s $20M per year, peanuts to the NFL.
  3. Add CFL teams, stadiums, and rules as options in Madden. It wouldn’t cost them anything, in the grand scheme of things, and might actually get a few Americans to watch the NFL network telecasts of CFL games.

So, in conclusion: There are enormous barriers to Toronto ever getting a team, so we’re likely never going to have to deal with this scenario. On the slim chance the NFL ever did show up, they are likely to actively seek the CFL’s cooperation and would have an interest in supporting and promoting the league.

This leaves the worst-case scenario, NFL aggressively running the CFL out of business, highly unlikely.

Wow, I can't believe you made it to the end of this post! Since I've kept your attention this long... GO PIKEMEN! :slight_smile:

It may have been lengthy but it was a good read and well written. Glad to see that not everyone is pushing the panic button.

I especially agree with your point about the NFL not being interested in running the CFL out of business.

This is the second time I have heard the suggestion that the CFL might want to move their season back a few weeks. Myself, I don't like that idea. I see no reason why the CFL should change their schedule to accomodate the NFL. Perhaps I am a little shortsighted in saying that, but it would definitely be a bone of contention with me.

Good read for sure. The schedule presents dilemmas. Personally I'd like to see the GC a month earlier, that way if I do go out west for a game, I can plan a hiking trip or whatever and not worry as much if I'll be hiking in snow. Sure the beginning of the season would conflict with the SC playoffs but that could be worked around I think.