Alouettes’ owner Gary Stern: ‘the league is in dire straits’; CFL could lose $100 million due to COVID-19

Photo courtesy: Peter McCabe/CFL

Montreal Alouettes owner Gary Stern is well aware of the effect COVID-19 could have on his franchise and the CFL overall.

“If they don’t allow (games to be played) by September, it’s going to be very difficult for us to do. They believe there can be (games played). I’m hopeful there can be,” Stern told Montreal Gazette reporter Herb Zurkowsky.

“It’s a lunch-bucket league. This league is in dire straits. We do need help.”

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie asked the Canadian government for up to $150 million because of COVID-19 ramifications on the league and it’s finances. Zurkowsky reports: it’s believed the Als would lose $9 million — and the CFL could lose $100 million — if the season is lost.

“I’ve been frank about it. We bought this team and we’re well funded. Would you, no matter how much money you had … think it’s right that I or you or whoever the owner is, pours money into something? Because I have money, I should pour money in? Stern asked.

“This team will not fold. I will not let it. I say that to my employees and players. The Alouettes are here. I didn’t buy it for one year. I didn’t buy it for two years. This is going to be a great club for now and the future. We’re going to be around.”

Stern and his partner Sid Spiegel purchased the Alouettes in January. Stern is Crawford Steel’s chief executive officer. The Als were bought by S and S Sportsco, a corporate entity owned by Spiegel and Stern.

“There could have been no worse timing. But we would do it all over again,” Stern said.

The 2020 CFL regular season was scheduled to kick-off on Thursday, June 11, but Ambrosie has stated the schedule won’t start before the beginning of July. Stern is taking a positive mindset towards the possibility of being able to play games. 

“I hope this can happen in September, but there are deadlines rapidly coming,” Stern said.

“Keep your head up. I’m telling you, this will come to fruition and something good is going to happen.”