Money is on the mind of both the CFL and XFL when it comes to talks about future collaboration between the two leagues and TSN insider Farhan Lalji dropped some dollar figures of his own on Wednesday.
“If I had a thousand dollars — and I don’t often have that — I would bet there is going to be a meaningful arrangement between the CFL and the XFL that includes game play, probably by 2023, if not sooner,” he told Derek Taylor during his weekly appearance on The Sportscage.
A thousand dollars is a lot of money on a journalists salary but it’s pocket change compared to the losses facing the CFL.
The league reportedly lost between $60 and $80 million last year after the Canadian government refused to provide a $30 million interest-free loan a year ago. They’ll lose millions more if any kind of season is played in 2021.
The major financial capital provided by the XFL’s wealthy backers could be the solution to that and that desperation is why the talks are so serious.
“I absolutely believe there is real traction to this. I absolutely believe there’s going to be a significant connection or arrangement. I’m not going to use the ‘M’ word but that may be in fact what happens,” Lalji said referencing a full merger.
“Regardless, I think it’s going to be more than some little marketing consultation, lets just exchange ideas… no, no, this is going to be meat on the bone which will ultimately include gameplay, a full connection between these two entities by 2023, if not sooner. If I had money to bet on it, I’d bet on it.”
The Rock, Dany Garcia, and RedBird Capital were selected as the winning bidder last August for all of the assets of Alpha Entertainment LLC, the parent company of the XFL. It cost $15 million and the goal is to make the XFL a stable league in the future, something that spending on the CFL could help achieve.
The CFL has been awarding the Grey Cup for over 100 years. Meanwhile, the original XFL lasted one full season in 2001 and five games in 2020. While many have assumed an arrangement would begin in 2022 but Lalji believes another year would be needed.
“I’m just trying to wrap my head around the fact that if this alignment does happen, it’s spring football, which means games probably get started at some point in April, which means we are virtually twelve months out and I just don’t think that’s enough time to create football infrastructure,” he explained.
Those sentiments were echoed in an insider report from XFL News Hub on Thursday, indicating the CFL might play two full seasons before American assimilation changes the fabric of the league.
Some fans have hoped the arrangement might be limited to just a meeting of champions or an All-Star showcase, but Lalji thinks much bigger changes are on the way.
“That could be the eventual outcome, but I believe it will be more than that. There is going to be some level of inter-league play, I think there is going to be rule changes,” he insisted
“I can’t sit here and tell you what it’s all going to look like but I really do believe this is more than just an exchange of ideas.”