‘This is not instant coffee’: Arash Madani doesn’t see XFL as quick-fix for CFL’s business model

Sportsnet reporter Arash Madani may have been a fan of Folgers’ famous marketing campaign, but he doesn’t believe the instant coffee method can fix the CFL.

Folgers pitched themselves as one of the first companies to produce a mug of morning joe quickly, but fixing the CFL can’t be done in the same manner, according to the sports media veteran.

“There’s no magic touch. You have to roll up your sleeves, sell tickets two-by-two, and do the work. This it not Folgers, this is not instant coffee. This is not, ‘Add water, add partnership with another league and all our problems are solved,’ especially a league that’s folded twice in the 2000s,” Madani said on The Rod Pedersen Show.

“A lot of the same people who were almost ridiculing spring football for not having a chance to exist, who ridiculed around a year ago at this time that the XFL folded, are now saying this is the only thing we have left. And now it’s the XFL and Dwayne Johnson because he once slept on a mattress and he’s grateful for Wally Buono, that’s now going to save it.”

The Rock has stated he’s excited for the ‘unique opportunity’ the CFL and XFL ‘can potentially create together.’ The most recent incarnation of the XFL lasted just five games before the COVID-19 pandemic put their season on hold, which led to Vince McMahon filing for bankruptcy and selling.

“My point is this on the whole XFL thing: you are willing to throw the baby out with the bath water to team up with a brand that has twice folded, with no guarantee that it’s going to last more than a year,” Madani said

“It’s a league who came out in August and said, ‘We’re going to find new, different business ventures.’ They came up with a Grey Cup fan base, that was supposed to generate some revenue. I’m told give or take they were able to bring in about a million-and-a-half in revenue — so nothing when it’s $300 bucks a pop.”

“What else have we heard from the league in terms of what new business model plans may look like? I haven’t heard any.”

Johnson, Garcia and RedBird Capital were selected as the winning bidders 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, which could include an agreement with the CFL.

“In terms of the XFL thing, the CFL for a number of years now has just looked for effectively a vaccine to save it. Remember first as soon as the Argos were going to move out of Rogers Centre that was going to be it,” Madani said.

“They’re going to move to BMO Field, and then they’re going to have tailgating and it was going to sweep the city and everything was going to be fine. And then CFL 2.0 and this ridiculous Global program, that was going to save everything.”

Madani clarified his stance on the Global initiative — he wasn’t or never has been taking a shot at the talent and potential abilities of the players. It’s the structure of the program championed by commissioner Randy Ambrosie that he believes “just doesn’t work.”

“I’m not blaming Global players for anything, I’m blaming a program that is flawed. I’m blaming a program that is asking for Global players to make a three-year commitment that they can’t get out of, with a max salary of $54,000, mandated by the league,” Madani said.

“And if you’re a Global player, that’s not a kicker or a punter, you have to unseat an American player to get on the field. It’s not the players that I’m criticizing at all, I feel bad for the guys who are being put in an impossible situation.”

The CFL’s long-term viability doesn’t seem like a problem Folgers instant coffee can solve.

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