CFLPA vice president, Eskimos’ Ryan King: playing with no fans, we wouldn’t break even

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Veteran Edmonton Eskimos long snapper Ryan King believes the CFL and players’ union can work together in obtaining financial aid from the Canadian government.

After commissioner Randy Ambrosie presented to the standing committee on finance, and the members of parliament called for the players to be involved, the league and CFLPA held ‘urgent meetings’ on Friday.

“[Friday] was a very positive day. We heard from their whole side and we had a lot of time to speak about our issues as well. I think both sides now know, we knew all along, that this has to be a joint effort,” King told Reid Wilkins on 630 CHED radio in Edmonton

“When it comes to the dollar amount… just overall figures not as detailed or as clear as I think the government wanted to see. Once we can reface this funding situation collectively together, I think you’ll see a completely different approach.”

Ambrosie asked for $30 million in working capital to maintain operations through the pandemic and estimates the league could need as much as an additional $120 million over the next two years — if the most negative scenarios, all of them, come true. However, there was no plan for how exactly the money would be used.

“If we can approach this properly, we will be able to get whatever funding is needed appropriately and we can collectively have a Canadian Football League in the future,” King said.

The government does support the CFL, we’re the only Canadian professional sports organization solely in Canada. I do now feel confident that our time will come with the government.”

During the statement to FINA, Ambrosie did make it clear, the most likely scenario is no season at all. If no CFL football was played in 2020, King, who serves as the CFLPA third vice president, understands how it would impact the league’s players.

“We’re a gate revenue run league, over 50 percent of it. Even just playing with no fans, we wouldn’t even break even and I think it’s important that people know that,” King said.

“It might actually, legitimately be the right move not to have a season for a calendar year. But then you go into a lot more other issues of how do we sustain the CFL? And that’s another big part of where we are with the CFL, how we start the league back up when the time comes.”