Insider Talk: the CFL’s business model, proposed 20 percent cut & losing money

This week’s Insider Talk is full of discussion about the CFL’s business model and the league’s proposed 20 percent cut to player salaries that would allow the 2021 season to start on time even without fans in attendance.

Insider Talk is an exclusive weekly feature that includes anonymous quotes from people around the CFL — players, coaches, personnel experts, and agents — regarding the latest news around the league. It’s a combination of insight, analysis, rumours, and friendly gossip.

Enjoy this week’s quotes and come back next Wednesday for another edition of Insider Talk.

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Twenty years ago, CFL team presidents were all making between $100,000 to $200,000. Those salaries have all doubled, tripled or even quadrupled since then. You’ll also notice that the presidents don’t fall under the operations cap — they’ve cut spending for everyone but themselves.




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The league was smart to leak this proposed 20 percent cut to players’ salaries if there are no fans in the stands. If the CFLPA rejects it and the season doesn’t start on time, lots of fans will blame the players — not the league/team executives.

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Are the coaches and execs all going to take 20 percent pay cuts too or is it just the players? I’m cool with doing whatever for the survival of the league if EVERYONE does it, but it feels like [the players] are being asked to make all the sacrifices.

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I do not believe that all these CFL teams are losing money like they claim. If they want us to believe it, they should show us the numbers. I bet they’d get help from the feds if they were truly transparent about it.

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We are not a corporation who happens to play football. We are a football corporation. Our marketing department barely sold any tickets to our last home playoff game but they didn’t take any budget cuts — we did on the football operations side.

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Your article (on the CFL’s business model) made some good points but you can’t compare 1976 to today like apples and oranges. Players receive way better medical treatment today along with proper training and nutrition.

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How much money could the CFL get from one of these big gambling companies in an exclusive deal? I’m talking about putting betting lines up on the jumbotron at games, in-game promotions, social media tie-ins — even putting a company logo on our jerseys. That would be worth millions in brand new revenue, no?

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The Argos have done well signing free agents because they’ve been patient. They let Chris Ackie leave for Montreal on day one of free agency where he got $130,000. Toronto signed Henoc Muamba from Montreal a month later for $90,000. Their patience paid off.

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