Pedersen's Take - MLSE

5 – GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS: The good news is that there will be pro football in Canada because the CFL is not folding. The bad news is there’s a solid chance we may not see it again for awhile. Since Wednesday I’ve spoken with five solid sources whose stories on the CFL/XFL merger and 2021 season are all generally the same. One of their messages began with “You deserve to know truth” which I never questioned but I’m guessing it’s because we cover the CFL so closely and talk about it everyday on the RP Show. Talking to these sources and disseminating their information feels a whole lot like patching together a quilt. So here goes ..

6 – 2021: There seems to be three clear hurdles the CFL needs to clear to get onto the field this summer or fall – 1) Covid/Variant, which is self-explanatory, 2) Money. Will the Federal government step up with funding to play or to stay alive? Or will the owners “bite the bullet” themselves to foot the bill to play like former Commissioner Larry Smith suggested on TSN Montreal last week? and 3) Convincing the teams who DON’T want to play, otherwise. If there’s only one team dissenting, then that team is the Toronto Argonauts and MLSE. Remember last year the vote to play was 6-3 in favour, and yet the season was cancelled. Why would it be any different one year later? Read on ..

7 – THE BACKSTORY : One unimpeachable source told me the moment MLSE realized it’s impossible to turn a profit with the Argonauts (roughly two years ago), they immediately turned their attention to blowing up the CFL and making it a profit-making venture. At this point in the story you might want to research MLS ownership because it’s a big part of what’s going down. And this is huge. The vision is central ownership with shareholder-held franchises which has proven to ensure sustainability, then profitability.

Remember that source I quoted a year ago who said, “MLSE is running the CFL”? He told me yesterday that they’re simply a year further down that path and the pandemic, and folding of the XFL, have only expedited the plan. Everything is lining up more perfectly than they ever could’ve imagined.

8 – NFL TORONTO : There are other sources out of Toronto who’ve confirmed this and more. It’s a grand plan but I’m told the ultimate enchilada ends with an NFL team in Toronto, a converted Rogers Centre-to-NFL facility, the Blue Jays playing elsewhere downtown, and the CFL/XFL league existing as proof Canadians love football but aren’t a threat to NFL Toronto.

Dizzy yet? The central figure to this all is one Larry Tanenbaum who just happens to be the Chairman of MLSE, a 25% owner of the company, and the new best friend of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Remember last week when Goodell said, “Canada is a very important market to us.”?

They’re hiding in plain sight.

)9 – BACK TO THIS SEASON:** I was perhaps a little harsh on ALL CFL operators on the show this week but that was born out of my own frustration, plus the cries of beleaguered CFL players and staffers who simply want an answer for this season with training camps planned for a month away. The Covid situation is what it is and likely the smartest/safest scenario is to scrap this season and build for whatever the next version of the CFL is to be. However current CFL operators, the majority anyway, want to play for the good of the league and their employees and the fact is the majority of them wanted to play LAST YEAR. But sources have all confirmed to me that MLSE is all about – entirely about – balance sheets and care little for the history and viability of the CFL nor the people who keep it running. If it’ll cost more to play than not play, then their vote is to not play. Pretty easy. MLSE is truly a faceless, emotionless corporation but with NBA, MLS and CFL trophies in their lobby – plus ownership of the #1 NHL team in Canada – who can say they’re wrong???

The hold up is more about convincing every team to play than it is about fans in the stands. (This explains why the Return To Play proposals have been approved in five out of six provinces). There have been suggestions about playing without the dissenters (because perhaps the Argos aren’t the only ones. They weren’t last year). To me, this is where CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie needs to stand on the table and yell “WE’RE PLAYING WITH OR WITHOUT YOU!”

But Randy’s a smart guy and this would’ve dawned on him already. Are there legal issues with playing a season minus one or two teams? Likely. That would take time to sort out, which the CFL clearly doesn’t have. Does he even want to tick off MLSE knowing they’re the big fish in this pond? Remember he declined to fine them in 2019 despite being the only team who went over the salary cap.

As the world turns …


The big dog always barks the loudest and for good reason.

Prior to having them on board, Braley was the arguably the wealthiest owner in the league and be effective bought influence.

So his influence along with many others of the old guard were the ones running the league.... it's never been a commissioner. We know what his take on marketing was like and his belief in things like blackouts that hurt the league move forward.

Now MLSE is in that seat of influence, Lastman's appointment in the chairman's seat is evidence of that.

Considering they own many successful sports teams off the field of play (and more recently on the field too), media and real estate to boot....i.e. non gameday forms of income, I'm open to what plan they have here.


...interesting stuff, the next few months could be fun...

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This is all getting more convoluted by the day.

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Well that's quite a bit of info that seems reasonable considering the history of MLSE .

One LT and Rogers wanted the Bills and lost .

The other party Bell has the NFL rights .

The XFL getting the CFL to adjust it's schedule slightly
to get rid of the overlap and you have no conflict with the
NFL for both parties . Bell wins , LT and Rogers wins .

The CFL ends up losing or surviving for a time period afterwards but the big CDN players get there ultimate prize .

Cool story of two media giants manipulation of a league for underlying nefarious reasons . Not sure they needed to do much the league is never lead by true CDN interests for some time anyways .

The sport itself has never been nurtured as a true CDN native performance by it's owners for many years now ; it's more a local circus of imported entertainers for sometime so it's not out of the realm to just give up and sell the heritage away for a boat load of GTA interests . So the story may have merit .


I call poppycock on this piece. I don't believe Petersen at all.

Why would the NFL come to Toronto when it denied Jeff Bezos an opportunity to buy the Washington Football Team. A man with the World's richest bank account. Who could fund a worldwide NFL expansion to Europe, Mexico at the drop of a hat.

Goodell was talking about TV and merchandise sales, not about franchises. The NFL doesn't allow corporations and ownership groups to own NFL teams

Roger Goodell is friends to everybody, He's networking. That's his job.

The NFL needs the CFL to exist to keep it's anti-trust exemption. If there is any conspired predatory plans to dissolve the CFL with any connection to the NFL, Washington will set up hearings so fast to make Roger's head spin, The US Gov't went after Facebook, Standard Oil when they get too big for their britches.


The local Buffalo owners are still complaining they need a new stadium. It's all about money. Would they rather contribute to a new stadium in Buffalo or a larger market in Toronto. I hope not but in pro sports money talks. Loyalty to cities means nothing.


I think MLSE is the true owner of the Alouettes behind their buddy from Burlington. Way too much weird shiat went down during that sale and out of nowhere two semi-rich guys from Burlington buy the team. Not buying that story and never will.


I don't think so. Spiegel and his son-in-law Stern own Crawford Steel, probably have a hand in a lot of construction projects. They would have some money behind them. They were a better ownership group than the others that tried to buy the Alouettes like the Lankov Brothers


Now that's what a call a real scoop! And those are some great reviews.

Does anybody know the legal angle, as inferred in the article, on what happens should a minority of the CFL team owners not approve a deal agreed to by a majority of the CFL owners and the XFL interests?

Does such a decision on reorganization, by the documents of the CFL, have to be unanimous? Or does majority control?

In any case whatever the documents say, as Pederson states, such a matter with so much at stake likely will be tied up in court anyway.

It would be good to know the underlying requirement for approval by the league owners of any new deal for reorganization.


This is the problem in TOR
Canadas largest market, Argos play by play radio station doesn't even recognize their own CFL team in their 10th year anniversary! :poop:

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Because they don't consider it "major league", they don't show the AHL Marlies in the picture either


Didn't know Brady played for the Argos wearing a Buccaneers uniform lol.


But they have the balls to show Tom Brady, who plays for a f*cking foreign team.

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That is the problem especially if it's your media rights holder .

Really TSN is yesterday for the CFL . They no longer foster the league like they did before . I remember watching early OTR and lot's of CFL content . Near the end it was non existent .


I guess the Toronto Rock don't count but TFC does.

Lacrosse is far more entertaining than the soccer (sorry fooball as the Europeans like to say)

Well they can fit him within their salary cap structure :wink:

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Can't win only one player. Takes the whole salary cap and still is owed more money :rofl:.

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Bang on. What an embarrassment. For all the praise that TSN has gotten when it comes to being a CFL partner this sort of thing is simply inexcusable. Period.