Commissioner Randy Ambrosie knows all about Canadian winters and also the affect it could have if the CFL schedule had to be pushed into December due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of the things we have been talking about – we are spitballing everything – there is a certain point at which you can’t use a number of our venues because the cold sets in and the basic infrastructure in some of our stadiums just wouldn’t function,” Ambrosie said on Tim and Sid.
The Alouettes, Redblacks, Ticats, Argos, Bombers, Riders, Eskimos and Stampeders all play home games in outdoor venues; the Lions are the only team who play indoors at BC Place.
“While it’s nice to think about playing games as late as December, some of our stadiums just couldn’t function. This is some of the stuff we’re having to analyze and look at as we consider what our options are,” Ambrosie said on Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto.
“We don’t know when we see the end of this lockdown. We’re trying to see how quickly we can put the virus behind us. The fact is that all sports are so much better when they’re played in front of big crowds. I don’t think there’s a sport out there that wants to play without the fans in the stands.”
Olympic Stadium in Montreal and Rogers Centre in Toronto are alternative settings for playing inside, however, availability would have to be determined. Perhaps the CFL could explore ideas such as the NBA, NHL and MLB and discuss the possibility of games in centralized locations with empty seats.
“The challenge is that we have more things that we don’t know then we know,” Ambrosie said. “All the leagues are modelling and scenario planning. We’ve got combinations and permutations galore, but in the end they’re just theories right now.”