The division between CFL owners could keep the league off the field again this year.
The league reportedly collectively lost between $60 and $80 million not playing in 2020. However, there are key stakeholders who feel the CFL wouldn’t fold if another year passes without football on Canadian fields, according to Postmedia reporter Dan Barnes.
CFL governors understand the importance of playing in 2021. However, not all team owners are convinced they have to play at all costs, and some believe the league can survive a second lost season.
Some would rather wait it out as long as possible, hoping the vaccines start winning the war against the variants, and fans are welcomed back into stadiums in the fall. Those teams believe that a seriously shortened season played in front of paying customers is a better financial gamble.
If they decide to play a significant number of games this year without fans in the stands, or a massive cash infusion from the federal government or a benefactor like the XFL ownership, or concessions from the players in the way of another significant salary rollback — and none of the above are likely to come to fruition — they will lose even more money. It could be as much as $100 million.
In 2020, the league asked for a $30 million interest-free loan from the federal government, however, it was denied. That answer ultimately led the board of governors voting to cancel the season last August.
Regardless of what happens in 2021, the three-down league will take another large financial hit as it tries to survive the pandemic.