Dragons’ Den Vincenzo Guzzo too hot for the CFL to handle

The CFL couldn’t take the heat inside the Dragons’ Den.

Vincenzo Guzzo, the latest addition to the hit CBC show, made a hot pitch to buy the Montreal Alouettes, but the league turned it down.

“If it was a Dragons’ Den deal, yeah I would have made them an offer and that’s what I did. I did make them an offer and the offer was their offer,” Guzzo told the Montreal Gazette.

On Twitter Guzzo provided more insight into why the potential sale broke down: “The CFL has my number and knows my terms. It’s them that really walked away more then I walked away. It’s not the money…it’s about the conditions and timeline to take the team.”

The 49-year-old businessman is the president and CEO of Cinemas Guzzo, the largest movie operator in Quebec with 10 locations. He’s also the CEO for Groupe Guzzo, a construction company, Guzzo Hospitality and Guzzo Medical Services.

The Alouettes have lost millions recently, according to CBC Radio Canada reporter Michel Chabot: $50 million since the Wetenhall family owned the team, including $25 million for three years. In 2018 alone, losses would have reached $12.5 million due to a revenue decline of approximately $6 million and an increase in expenditures of more than $6 million.

“There’s a lot of work here and because it’s a product that’s in my community I’d consider putting in the effort to turning the team around and actually making the deal. But, for example, if this was a team in another country, let’s say, I wouldn’t even look at it twice. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m a Montrealer, I wouldn’t even look at this deal after I saw what I saw,” Guzzo said.

“Because of the financial situation of the other teams there’s actually a light at the end of the tunnel. Because five out of those nine teams make money, so that means there is a way to make money. You’ve just got to run it like a tight ship, like a real corporation and not like: Oh, it’s a sports team, so it’s OK to lose money. It doesn’t work that way.”

Providing strong local ownership such as Guzzo could have benefitted the Alouettes franchise, but personal conflicts have gotten in the way of a transaction.

If Guzzo made a movie about the Alouettes ownership debacle it would surely be a hit and make money, unlike the current beleaguered franchise in Montreal.

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