Gate EQ, Revenue sharing and that elusive 10th franchise

The CFL has a unique opportunity right now. They need growth, they need new fans, they need a new business model.

Here are some Out of the box ideas.

If the league shares all revenues and expenses

  1. Put a League owned franchise in Moncton, in exchange for the City and province to bring Moncton stadium to a capacity of 18 000 and add amenities needed. League can sell the franchise in the future. Or possibly NB will want to own it as a community team.

Watch how quick Halifax wants a franchise...

  1. Budget teams expense all of them until they fit 15 to 16 million a year.

  2. Lower ticket prices by 50 percent for all seats not inside the 40 or 30-yard lines.

  3. Split TV contracts to two broadcasters giving them each half the games for 50 million per season. That would cover 10 million of the 15 million team budgets. relying on merchandise, tickets, naming rights, sponsorships, and concessions to generate a minimum of 5 million per team.

Everything over the 150 million in revenues gets shared 50/50 between the owners and the players. Slices divided by dressed roster x games played)

For example, there is 36 million over the floor, each owner gets 1.8 million and each player gets a bonus of 2380.00 for each game played.

Some interesting ideas to think about there. They will definitely be looking at cost cutting measures and I’m sure sizes of game day rosters and coaching staffs will be looked at. Remember when the rosters were at 33 players, later on a 4 player taxi squad was added. We’re now at 46 game day plus the practice roster and the one game injured lists which have seemingly spiralled out of control. Coaching staffs hovering around 12 now where they used to be 7 or 8. Not to mention team presidents, Vice Presidents, marketing coordinators, community outreach and more. Taking away Blue Bombers stadium payment they were still hovering around 30 million in expenses last year. So you’d be looking at cutting that nearly in half with your model.

If they could pull off two tv contracts that would be a major coup. Not sure that they’ve really shopped around since they’ve settled in with TSN. Should definitely explore Sportsnet at the very least.

Getting off the ground in Moncton would be a great idea - if not for a full team at this point why not rotating games by all CFL teams to start for the first few years - each team gives up one home game each year and plays out east. At least plant the seed for the local fans and expose them to more of the league stars. Or start a small developmental league - Moncton, Halifax, Saint-John, Fredericton or Charlottetown playing in smaller stadiums. Populate it with some of the practice roster guys, late camp cuts, U sports grads, Global players etc. Give them a chance to get some playing time then maybe work their way Back into CFL rosters. All the while slowly building more of a fan base and familiarity with the players so when it makes better financial sense, Halifax moves forward with the stadium and becomes the 10th team.

Definitely time to look at some new ideas for this old league.

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In numbers 2 , 3 and 4 they are all within walking distance for the league .

1 is a plane ride around the world with many stops .

1 requires too many working parts to come together and maybe easier to accomplish after they change the CFL business plan .

1 creates the extra jobs , the extra content to get players and broadcasters behind the league.

Had Ambrosie been smart instead of a handout, he should have asked the goverment to convince the CBC to get behind a TV contract at the end of the current one in exchange for up front money. Would have been much easier to sell to people with something tangible in exchange.

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That would just be repeating past mistakes ie the last couple Touchdown Atlantics. They would need their own team, finally, to get them excited now.

Also the CFL doesn't have stars--it has one year contracts.

Let's say they average 15 000 people a game in Moncton, if the league is living within its means and sharing the pot, at most they would be losing 3 million in Moncton for a few years and would be making more than that up on tv money.

Quebec Major Junior took that risk and put a hockey team in Halifax, knowing travel costs would go up for the rest of the league. Look at it today. What is it 6 or 8 franchises? What used to be the poor junior league in Canada is probably the most lucrative also sought after by foreign talent.

You have to grow and sometimes that requires out of the box thinking. I don't mean CFL 2.0 in Mexico

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It wouldn't hurt to try it for a few years.

I don't know how much each team spends scouting each year so I don't know how much they would save, but if the CFL centralized its scouting (like what the XFL did) then a Moncton team theoretically wouldn't have to hire its own scouts.

Or any other mid level CFL market for that matter...

Marketing should be centralized too. It isn't normal that some teams have a bigger marketing budgets than the league office.

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I assume you mean promotion?

What people say is marketing is actually called promotions ie tv ads, social media presence, etc

Marketing is crafting a product before it is made so it sells itself by asking the tough questions and seeing if there is actually a market for the product you are proposing.

The CFL should absolutely ask the tough questions to Canadians. Why are you not watching CFL football? What time would you prefer to watch a game? Do you want to watch the best available players or Canadian players? That sort of thing...

Otherwise, if you have a product people don't want, any promotions you do will just be perfuming the pig.

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I use term Marketing team to encompass, promotions, advert, digital media, social media, merch. It is wacked when you think that teams that were losing money when team revenues were 12 million are still losing the same or more with revenues of 30 to 35 million and player payroll just up 2.5 million.


who is losing money on revenues of 30-35 M?

The first idea is a ways off.

2,3,&4 could be achievable.

Having another TV partner is a Must.

It's also important to find out the issues that each of the clubs are facing in the marketplace.

Some of the solutions may work for one team may not work for another.

All 9 teams plus the League and PA need to be on the same page.

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Centralized scouting sounds like a good idea until you get to individual team plans.

June Jones for instance wanted small quick receivers.
Some teams want tall lanky CBs etc
Some want power backs, others want scatback etc

I like when people put out ideas that are trying to make the league better than crapping on it or trying to make it closer to the US game.

I would have to agree, 1. is far off. Its one thing for the league and teams cover a team as they try to find an owner for a year, but jumping in with a league owned team is another thing.

The league should have a set minimum limit for promotions as well as the teams. Can't have a situation where an owner gets rid of the marketing and sales department to save a buck.
Need more marketing or sponsor partnerships that get the players faces out there. I see mostly, former players/coaches and TSN staff on any type of ads, rarely current players.
2,3,4 are definitely some ideas to discuss.
4. There should be discussions with Sportsnet, Global, shaw..etc as well as local or regional channels. Also, now that many of the streaming sites produce their own shows and movies, what about Netflix, Prime video etc... We need options to get more money out of the providers. CBC should be televising junior football and Usports every week, and CBC radio should have CFL games on anywhere that the local radio stations are not located.
I think centralized scouting could help a little. Have CFL camps instead of team camps. Eliminate team camps in the US. If a team wants to run a FA camp, they can do it in their home city.
I don't know if the CFL has this, but work with Hotel Chains or Apartment/Condo owners to get cut rates for players to help reduce player costs while in the teams city. Allow players that have played under 3? years to stay there.

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I agree with this part. The league and PA should be working hard to get this kind of exposure for the players.

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I don't think you can count on Netflix doing a CFL show.

Their CEO said this on sports in 2017, “Sports is really good in the moment. So you want to watch the game, but the afterlife of a given show is quite small,” Hastings said Wednesday at Recode’s Code Conference, adding that it’s the binge-viewing experience that is transformative.

Netflix has said they're more worried about Fortnite than they are Disney so if they do get into sports it will probably be esports. In fact they already partnered with League of Legends to produce a documentary on it.

Esports can be created on the cheap and can be used as filler content, which Netflix seems to love, as you just need a couple of kids, some computers and an announcer or two.

My experience at Rogers Sportsnet and the Canadian Football League indicate the same; those archived games really have very, very limited appeal. I am surprised that Netflix doesn't have every Superbowl or something listed though.

Or on that same token TSN Plus having an archive of all the Grey Cups.

I don't know if the CFL would get more ad revenue just keeping them on Youtube or putting them on TSN Plus if that platform became more like Netflix (able to watch when you want to watch). As opposed to just having five channels and some on demand, which to me is still very much like cable.

I, in particular, would like it it if they at least kept the curling tournaments up there.

I wonder what next year will look like. I dont believe Covid is going anywhere any time soon and mass gatherings could be several years away. The league should really be pushing for at minimum some capacity. Maybe it's the year they try moving a struggling team like Toronto to Halifax?

Can the Argos turn a profit playing in a 11,000 capacity seated Huskies Stadium in Halifax? The Nova Scotia Gov't won't allow more than a quarter in the stadium during a pandemic in a jurisdiction with low numbers. It's a tough sell to me