Five crucial CFL questions for 2015

[u]Five crucial CFL questions for 2015[/u] Andrew Bucholtz, Yahoo Sports Here are the five most important questions to keep an eye on from a league-wide perspective:

5. Will David Braley move to sell one or both of his teams this year?
The owner of the B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts has spoken of selling both teams by the time he's 75, and he'll turn 74 in May. 2014 saw lots of discussions of Braley selling the Argos to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, but although the sides partnered on a new practice facility, talks of an outright sale didn't seem to get too far. MLSE isn't the only potential buyer out there, and Braley said in September that he had two other offers for the team, but a sale seems unlikely to close until the team's stadium situation is resolved (see #2 below). There's been less open talk about selling the Lions, but that would seem likely to happen at some point soon too if Braley can find the right buyer. It seems improbable that Braley will completely exit the CFL in 2015, but he may well be able to get rid of one of his teams this year and come up with an exit strategy for the other one.

4. Will concussion lawsuits spread?
2015 is likely to see plenty of further developments on Arland Bruce III's concussion lawsuit against the CFL, its teams, and associated figures and researchers, and how that case plays out could have significant impacts on the league. An even more important question may be if other CFL alumni will follow Bruce's lead, though. At least seven former players have been reported to be preparing lawsuits, including names like Terry Metcalf, Phil Colwell and Eric Allen, but none of those lawsuits appear to have been filed yet. The Bruce case is notable in its own right, especially for his claims about how poor CFL concussion protocols and treatment were in the last few years when concussion science was advanced enough that the league and its teams should have known better (and when they publicly said that they were taking substantial measures to prevent and treat concussions properly, including protocols which Bruce alleges they didn't actually follow), and it could well end up costing the league money, drastically changing its procedures, or both. Lawsuits from numerous CFL alumni could be even more significant, though, and perhaps more damaging to the league. The concussion front will be a key area to watch in 2015, especially to see if others get involved or if Bruce remains the only one actively suing.

3. Will TV ratings and in-stadium attendance rebound?
What about offence? CFL TV ratings had some good moments this year, but fell slightly overall for the season and took particularly concerning drops in the playoffs and the Grey Cup. Now, this isn't a disaster; those ratings are still very good by Canadian sports standards, indicating that the CFL's still one of the biggest Canadian properties out there, and the league is also TSN's particular crown jewel now that they've lost national NHL rights. TSN is also locked into a five-year deal with the CFL through 2018, so it's not like these ratings came in a contract year. However, if the slide continues in 2015, that could be problematic. It's also worth watching the in-stadium attendances, a key revenue generator for the league, but one that's seen some notable declines lately. A factor many cited for 2014's lower TV ratings and attendance numbers was the decrease in scoring; will that change in 2015, and if it does, will that be enough to get the TV and attendance numbers heading in the right direction again?

2. Will the Argonauts solve their stadium situation?
The Toronto Argonauts' quest for a new home may seem like a one-team issue at first, but it's actually one of the biggest issues facing the CFL. Having a Toronto presence is important for the league on a variety of fronts, from sponsorship to television to maintaining a national image.
The Argos' situation got somewhat better this year thanks to the new practice facility and the end of the Bills in Toronto series (plus the failure of the Bon Jovi bid for the Bills that might have moved them north of the border permanently), but they still need a place to play; the Rogers Centre is a terrible football venue at this point in time, and its booking schedule means the team often winds up with a host of awful dates. Moreover, their lease there expires in 2017.
It looks like the most likely solution is moving the team into a renovated BMO Field, something that's been backed and funded by Toronto council, but is under question thanks to federal funds not coming through. Braley is still working on the idea, and MLSE still seems open to it, so if the money's found it, it looks like that will happen. It hasn't yet, though, and the Argos have come close only to have Lucy pull the football away at the last minute before.

1. Who will replace Mark Cohon as commissioner?
The biggest question about the CFL in 2015 is who's going to be leading it. Commissioner Mark Cohon announced in August he wouldn't seek a third term, and president/COO Michael Copeland said he wouldn't apply for the top job.
Cohon is officially exiting the job Jan. 9, earlier than initially planned thanks to a deal with the board, and board chair Jim Lawson is stepping in as interim commissioner while the search for a full-time replacement continues. There are plenty of intruiging candidates both inside and outside the league, but Cohon leaves big shoes to fill, and while the league's stable on the TV and CBA fronts for now, it still has plenty of challenges.
The new boss will have to understand the CFL from a football side and a fan side, but they'll also need a strong background in business. Keeping a group of owners with different interests and agendas united is no easy task, either, and that's a big part of why the CFL had five different commissioners from 2000 to 2007. Cohon brought stability to the league; will his successor be able to maintain that, and where will the league go under new leadership?

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Yea I saw that article. A couple of things. The TV ratings were down but they were not out. I don't think the ratings will be a major issue anytime soon. It can't always go up every year as long as there is not a huge 50% drop off.
As for the lack of scoring football runs in trends. Thrend a few years back were 5 receiver sets being the norm. Defenses had to combat that by replacing the SAM LB spot with a cover DB, basically a HB. Now that the Import DBs have made the adjustment. The offenses have countered again with the use of more TE/FB and running the ball more.
2nd when the salary cap era was ushered in the quality of back up QBs dropped drastically. Teams just could not afford to pay a good salary to a back up so many left and hit the TV studio in the states.
TSN launching of new networks will bring more programming around the CFL. Aside from pre game and post game coverage I believe the weekly Show that lauhcbed was CFL in 30.

As for Braley selling both the Lions and Argo's. My Hunch is that he does not want the Argo's at BMO, especially under the current conditions that have been made public. Also the other conditions that have not been made public as of yet. That would be hosting many more soccer events and matches that do not include the MLS TFC schedule.
Already showed the real reason why the expansion was in such priority for 2015 and it was not for the Pan Am 7's. Just getting starting with the announcing of hosting a pool play double header for the Gold Cup. I believe the Guiness Champions Cup has plans for matches in Toronto.

For the Lions there is always mentioned several groups being interested but the Canucks S&E. Already quickly seeing that CFL is a great investment for a S&E in Calgary and Ottawa. Aquilini has made no secret he want to expand his Brand in Vancouver and in the BC province. Lions are always in the conversation. Lost the bid for the MLS Whitecaps and the expanding of Sangarrrd stadium to a MLS SSS. trie Abbortsford for AHL club but was too far from the rest of the AHL. Also still is wanting to try the NBA in Vancouver again.
Lions are on the board and there for the taking. Promoting the Lions at all home games at Rogers Arena, which he owns. Selling Lions and Canucks merchandise at all NHL and CFL games. Lining brand names together.
I here ticket prices are going up do to the use of BC place is going up. Canucks already have a full staff for promoting and corporate sponsors. He may not be able to seek naming rights to Province owned BC place but could and will find other ways for corporate sponsor to offset the rise in ticket prices. i.e. WhiteCaps Bell Pitch at BC place.
Like Calgary S&E and OSEG. He is born, raised, lives in Vancouver area. He is a successful billionaire type and is completely invested in the Vancouver, BC Community
He is a SFU grad so owning the Lions could lead to support of the Clan Football program as well.
Unlike Clagary S&E and Rexell in EDM the Canucks are the only tenant at his Rogers Arena with the WHL club playing out of the old arena, and NLL Stealth as well playing in Langley.
AHL may not have worked in Abbortsford but NHL clubs are starting to affiliate with AA ECHL and the Canucks share a team in MI. Abbotsford no longer has a hockey tenant and Wester NHL teams are placing affiliates in the West.
Wheather he one day gets involved with any of these clubs and moves them to his Arena is not out there yet but the BC Lions are.
There is no pro basketball to speak of in Vancouver or Pacific Canada so starting with a D - League team closest club Portland does not have one nor does Canada's Toronto Raptors. There would be a chance to get games on TV. Easier if he partners with MLSE but TSN could do it on their own.
Taboo of Arena football at Rogers Arena where the Lions could use as a farm team with shorter western teams travel.
Even pro soccer in Victoria would need a money backer

CFL needs to come first and some of the rest can fall right into place.

As for the Commish spot, as long as Copeland stays on board in his current financial role the CFL will continue to grow leaps and bounds.
Cohon was a great Commish. The face of the league that came back from the darkess of times in a huge way. Cohon was a CFL fan and the next commish should be a fan as well as having qualifications for commish.
It is Canadian pro sports league and that is where he promoted and grew it. Not being obsessed with the US expansion or TV. Focus was Canada expansion and Canada TV deal.
Now ESPN owns 20% of TSN so they are tied together to share programming now of all kinds. The Contract and $$$ are with TSN but all games are Broadcast by TSN and shared on a ESPN platform. Even including on the ESPN website under the CFL you click and it takes you to ESPN. Costing the CFL nor ESPN really anything. It making it no longer the mystery league to the North as players can see it as a pro option and back home for the Imports have access to all of their games.
Cohon has done the leg work in Halifax and hopefully he can get involved to coordinate/broker groups interested in the Atlantic Region, Quebec City, and Mississiuaga
With no longer a conflict of interest hopefully he can get the family on board with corporate partner McD's Canada and the CFL.