The Commissioner's Latest Offering

I just read on the other network's website the latest thoughts by the commissioner on the probability of the 2021 CFL season. It did not leave me with much hope. So here's my thoughts, in case he is reading this or if my idea has not been thought of previously. All numbers are merely an example.
Take the cost of a low range season ticket holder (not an end zone seat). One of the sports networks should provide pay per view for a team. Ticket season holders could pay 10% of their season ticket for pay per view to watch their home games and maybe another 10% to view away games. Non-season ticket holders should pay more for the same service. Then the season could begin. If a limited number of fans would be allowed to attend the game each club could allow a certain percentage of season ticket holders to watch the game live, let's say 5000 fans or 20% of capacity. Each team could decide how to distribute those tickets.
I know this is simplistic but hey, if it would work it might provide a season for us to watch.

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Interesting concept. My guess is we get a 9 games season in. Starting Labour Day weekend. Maybe shared revenue across the board but time and Covid will tell.

What is: how to kill your league in 1 move for 500 Alex.

This would be even worse for the CFL than not playing with fans, make it even less accessible to those who would be will to watch at home, and alienate your advertiser's and sponsors who want to reach those fans.

Advertisers and sponsors would still advertise and sponsor but non season ticket holders have two choices, either sign up for PPV or wait for the evening sports report. But like I said, its just a thought and I have not seen any plan to generated income for our teams. Crying to the government for hand-outs is never the best solution and we've already seen the result of that.

Here is the elephant in the room for you.

Those 5000 in attendance, they've already paid for their tickets. The clubs have spent that money.


An idea like this makes total sense since BellMedia and TSN and Shaw are partners with league. They stand to gain as well as league from a revenue model test like this. Maybe try this with a special Touchdown Pandemic game between Argos and Lions honouring Braley and healthcare workers.

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You say "one of the sports networks" provides ppv? but TSN has the rights to all CFL games and a contract to televise all CFL games. That's a contract and not changing until the end of the contract period.
The CFL has no control on how many fans in the stands, whether it's 5,000 like you mentioned or another number. MLB has already announced 2,000 fans per stadium allowed for games in Florida, that's one reason why the Jays have decided to stay in Florida for now but likely to move to Buffalo if things in New York open up

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Understood but the tradeoff is live bodies to cheer on the home team. Socially distanced concession might be made available? Nothing I've suggested will replace all the revenue of the previous year's operations but at least each club gets the guaranteed amount from season's tickets sales. A little revenue is better than no revenue, i.m.o.

And I wonder....since TSN and BellMedia have the broadcast rights to CFL games...
What great revenue generating initiatives does it have up its sleeve to proactively promote the Grey Cup Fan Base and stores and cloth face masks. I would assume that they have some obligation to do this...or then that to me would represent an issue the CFL...should investigate...a media company partner that will actively help CFL teams with online campaigns in the off-season to generate much needed revenue. Maybe there is a contract clause that should be added. Maybe. TSN talent could play a major role in wearing and promoting cloth face masks and CFL store, as one small example.

Nonsense!! You have to at least break even. Math calculation needed.
Expenses must meet Income. Income from all sources. Bottom line.

That would be exactly it; it would be really interesting to know how much the league would have to compensate TSN for breaking the contract if games really were to be shown on PPV.

And as it's being pointed out before, there is already PPV on TSN, whereby if you do not already have cable, then you can watch the games online for a fee. The fees are as follows (all prices plus taxes):

  • $7.99 for 24 hours access
  • $19.99 per month; or
  • $99.95 for 6 months

Note the 6 months package is the best value of all of them, PLUS it covers an entire CFL season from June to November!! Isn't that such a great value???

I'd wonder how much PPV would charge, and if they charge more then the TSN 24 hour pass, if people would still choose PPV over TSN?

AND BTW - for those of you that don't know, the English Premier League actually did try out PPV for games that were not broadcasted nationally.

As you can imagine, that didn't last very long.

If PPV doesn't work out in the country (only the England part of the UK) that is home to the world's most popular sport, with a reasonable population (and much more denser), I don't see how it will work in a sport where it is not the most popular in the country, and with a much smaller population.

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more PPV stuff eh.

it's been a looooooong off season.


Agreed. And we know that a CFL team needs at least 18k in the stands over 9 games to generate the 20 million to break even.

And the data tells me the health authorities are not going to allow 18k + to gather anywhere in Canada for a year.

Well Said. Thanks

100 % agree!

The 18k number doesn't mean a lot if you don't put a price on it.
If you are selling $20 tickets you won't break even.
You didn't mention the "club seats" "private suites" "field level seats" - not sure about other cities but Ottawa and Hamilton sell up to 1,000 Club seats at $250 or $350 per game and they are in demand. The field level seats around the same.
1,000 club seats at $300 = $2.7 MILLION in revenue over 9 games.
Add up the private suites and field level seats and you get a pretty good revenue stream.
The cheapest seats in Hamilton and Ottawa are close to $40 and they go up dramatically to $120 between the 45s
Average seats are around $80
Compare that to Toronto and Montreal where they don't have a lot of club seats and premier seats and sell a lot of cheap tickets.
How many of the 12k average in Toronto are the $20 seat sale tickets? I see the blue field level seats at BMO and they are always empty.

Stating that CFL teams need to sell 18k? not really true at all, some teams could sell 30,000 seats a game and make less money than a team selling 20k seats a game.

It is generally accepted that 18-20k (taking into consideration all the seating options) is the break even.

But to your point, it is known that CFL teams need to generate 20 million in revenues overall in order to break even. Right now CFL teams have 50 million in hand through the TV deal, so by my math they are still 130 million light.

I.e. 9 teams x 20 million = 180 million (less 50 million = 130 million which they generate almost exclusively through the gate (regardless of seating configuration)

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Looking at the public teams, they are all around the $24 MILLION each on operating expenses, so they have to generate at least $24 MILLION. The TV deal is $4.3 MILLION, $5.7 MILLION in sponsorship (ESks), concession $3.8 MILLION (esks) gate receipts $8.1 MILLION, merchandise sales $967,000
Edmonton had $24 MILLION in expenses and $23.5 MILLION in revenue (2019), their gate receipts were down $1 MILLION from the previous year and of course concessions down too.

2019 was the last year before the new TV deal kicked in. It's 50 million as of the 2020 season so about 5.5 million now. With escalators, it could be even more

BARNES: CFL agrees to new six-year TV deal with TSN | Toronto Sun

Private teams have very different models than the public ones. They can streamline some expenses. Toronto, Ottawa and being conglomerates can have one sales and marketing, PR, accounting departments and so on to cover all of their brands. If Edmonton ever got sold to Katz, many expenses would be rolled into OEG.

Even non conglomerates can use a team as a tax write off as long as the losses are manageable and with the cost cutting being done on a team and league level, getting to the 20 million mark is very doable.

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