Monday Mailbag: XFL merger, Halifax expansion, 2021 ticket sales

The 3DownNation Monday Mailbag answers questions from readers across the country.

You can submit a question via email ([email protected]) or direct message on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Please note that by sending us a question you are giving us the right to publish it along with your name. Questions may be lightly edited for spelling and/or formatting.

We’ve answered a handful of questions below. If your question didn’t get picked, don’t panic — we’ll save it to potentially answer here next week or on the 3DownNation Podcast.

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I hope the CFL will be cautious regarding an XFL merger. If the two leagues attempt to play an interlocking schedule of any kind the impact would be devastating to the CFL.

If the CFL were to commit to too many changes — likely losing their old school fan base while gaining a younger fan base — and for any reason the XFL is no longer viable or committed to the CFL, the CFL may be destroyed forever as we know it.

The CFL needs to be smart before they react to the XFL.

-Grant Duguay

Thanks for the note, Grant.

I don’t think an interlocked schedule would work well for the CFL.

Starting the season in March would make it difficult to sell tickets in cold weather cities and force the league to compete with the Stanley Cup playoffs. Even the Argos have a tough time garnering attention now, imagine what it would be like if they were going head-to-head with the Maple Leafs.

RedBird Capital has deep pockets and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is a big celebrity, but I think people have forgotten that Vince McMahon is a marketing genius worth $2 billion USD. There’s no guarantee that RedBird and The Rock will succeed where McMahon failed (twice).

The CFL should only pursue a merger with the XFL if it prevents the league from folding. If there are any made-in-Canada solutions available, that’s what the CFL should pursue.

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I realize that COVID-19 really put a hamper on the CFL’s plans to expand in Halifax. However, since there is so much opposition to building a CFL-sized stadium there, why doesn’t the Atlantic Schooners and the CFL agree to expand the stadium in Moncton, N.B. and call that their new home as a plan B and forget about Halifax altogether?

-John Anderson

Thanks for the question, John.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the plan was for the Atlantic Schooners to start playing in Moncton as early as 2022. Obviously, that timeline is no longer realistic.

Croix-Bleue Medavie Stadium is located at the Université de Moncton and has 10,000 permanent seats. Temporary seating was added for the first Touchdown Atlantic game in 2010, which saw 20,725 fans in attendance.

The smallest venue in the CFL is currently Percival Molson Stadium, which has a capacity of 25,012. Is it possible for the Schooners to be viable with a stadium that small? I don’t know.

What I do know is that sponsors like large population bases. Halifax has twice the number of residents than any other city in the Maritimes at 435,000 and is three times the size of Moncton. If I owned a team out east, I’d rather have people from New Brunswick traveling to Nova Scotia for games than the other way around.

I’ll also say this: if the CFL is too small for Toronto or Vancouver, maybe the long-term solution for the league is to tap into markets like Halifax, Quebec City, Kitchener, Victoria or Saskatoon. Expansion into smaller markets is easier said than done but with strong, community-oriented ownership, there’s no reason why these markets couldn’t sustain a CFL team.

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Any idea if there are still strong COVID restrictions come football season, would home season restrict to only seasons ticket holders? This coming from a 25-year holder with the Stamps! I want my football.

-Doug Giles

Thanks for the question, Doug.

Only one team has discussed their return-to-play plan publicly, which is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Though each club will have unique protocols for hosting fans, there will likely be many similar elements between them.

Blue Bombers’ President and CEO Wade Miller said that season ticket holders will be contacted regarding ticket sales and game day logistics in early-to-mid May.

Some elements of the new plan will include limited concessions, mandatory masks except when eating or drinking, and the addition of 250 hand sanitization units at IG Field. The entire stadium will also be cashless, which will help limit contact between fans and game day employees.

We don’t know anything about how the other eight teams will conduct ticket sales, but I would imagine that season ticket holders will get priority.

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Will you be doing another mock draft? I like reading those.

-Aiden

Thanks, Aiden. You bet! My first mock draft is almost three months old, so I’ll be updating it within the next week or two. A quick spoiler: my No. 1 selection will not be changing.

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