The Canadian Football League is planning for an entire schedule of games, limited contests and even the chance not a single down of pro three-down football could be played in 2020.
“We’re looking at everything and literally every day something changes. We’re literally assessing it on a daily basis,” Greg Dick, the CFL’s chief financial officer and head of football operations, told Postmedia reporter Dan Barnes.
“We’re in the middle of coming up with all sorts of scenarios. Full season, shortened season, no season. A guy who works on my team, Trevor Hardy, is looking at all the different scheduling options. We are in full force contingency planning now.”
As of March 20 at 9 a.m. eastern time, there are 846 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Canada. On January 25, Canada confirmed its first case of COVID-19 related to travel in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization declared the global outbreak of coronavirus a pandemic on March 11.
COVID-19 could cause disruption for the league and it’s broadcast partner as well. The CFL and The Sports Network agreed to a six-year contract extension last year. The league’s contract with TSN was coming for renewal after the 2021 season, that deal was extended in 2015.
It’s been reported the pact between the CFL and TSN is worth approximately $50 million to the CFL. Although that number could grow significantly as there are incentives, ratings-based and otherwise, written into the contract.
“It’s so up in the air. Obviously the clubs want 18 games to get the revenue. We want that because then TSN has 81 games to broadcast and we don’t have a reduction in broadcast revenue. So we’re looking literally at all options,” Dick said.
CFL games have aired on TSN since 1986, and on RDS since 1989. The two networks became the league’s exclusive broadcasters in 2008. Both the league and primary TV partners are collaborating for contingencies amid the coronavirus chaos.