Montreal Alouettes co-owner Gary Stern is in favour of potentially partnering with the XFL.
Owners from both leagues have agreed to work together to identify opportunities to innovate and grow the game of football. The Rock has stated he’s excited for the ‘unique opportunity’ the CFL and XFL ‘can potentially create together.’
“If it keeps the CFL integrity and most of what we have intact, you’re talking about a much more global league, which can only be better than just Canada,” Stern told Montreal Gazette reporter Herb Zurkowsky.
“The exposure is so much better than just being a Canadian league. That’s a straight business way of just looking at it. If it can’t happen, we’re going to have a CFL that, we all know, needs some kind of reset and fixing.”
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. RedBird Capital, Dwayne Johnson, and Dany Garcia were selected as the winning bidders. 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.
“I’m not saying you move it ahead at all costs or we give up the CFL and everything it stands for. Am I happy playing three downs? I love that. I love its uniqueness,” Stern said.
“It would have to be something great for our league in order to trade that. I’d have to see the whole package — if the package ever happens.”
According to reports, the CFL collectively lost between $60 and $80 million not playing last season. Without an infusion of cash, either from the government, RedBird Capital, or the passing of single-game sports betting in Canada, the league would take another large financial hit regardless of what happens in 2021.
“They’re well-funded, well-versed and know what it takes to run a business. The team they’ve assembled certainly knows a lot about running sports teams. I’ve been in business; these are real solid, good people,” Stern said and noted he’s prepared to play without fans in the stands.
“I’m not hiding. I told you I’m in. I’m committed. I’m not running anywhere. We’re funding it.”