Commissioner Randy Ambrosie admits pitch to Canadian government could’ve been ‘better’

Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie has reviewed the film and admits his performance could have been “better”.

Ambrosie made a presentation to the standing committee on finance asking for $30 million in working capital to keep operating with as many people employed as possible during the coronavirus pandemic. And an additional $120 million over the next two years — if the most negative scenarios, all of them, come true.

“What we did in respect to this, and the criticism is fine, we just wanted the government to understand our situation. We wanted them to know that there was a crisis not caused by ourselves. From my lens, if I reflect on this thoughtfully, I never want to let my governors down, I never want to let the teams down, I want to be one step ahead rather than one step behind,” Ambrosie said on the Piffles Podcast.

“We wanted the government to know that we were facing a crisis, but the truth is if I could go back, I would do it better simply because that’s my responsibility to the governors and to the teams. I never want to be in a position where I haven’t represented them to the very best of my abilities, and I think in this case I don’t think I did as well as the team deserved me to do.”

The COVID-19 crisis has put the league on pause in many ways, most importantly revenue streams. The earliest the CFL might return to play – for a shortened but meaningful season – is September due to COVID-19. The final decisions whether games are played in 2020 will depend on what the Canadian governments and medical officials deem best for the safety of citizens and athletes across the country.

“Even for the weirdest conspiracy theorists, and there are many out there, I don’t think any one of them had suggested that this was cooked up in a CFL laboratory. Although, I gotta say reading the newspapers today that could be coming at some point as well,” Ambrosie said.

If there is no season in 2020, it’s estimated the CFL could lose approximately $100 million. Ambrosie revealed collectively CFL teams lose between $10 and $20 million dollars a season. The CFL is considering new business model approaches for the present and future to improve longterm viability.

“You start with the most basic of principles, it’s always better when your revenues are higher than your expenses. You really don’t need to go to Harvard, revenue that exceeds expenses is a better model,” Ambrosie said.

Just getting through 2020 is not enough. You have to look at what could be a weak economy in 2021 and 2022 and maybe longer than that. You can’t go on the assumption that all you have to do is survive the short term crisis and then everything will be fine. We could see economic weakness for two or three years after this crisis passes.”