With XFL talks now sent out to pasture, fans of the CFL have begun to relax, but the three-down league isn’t out of the water quite yet.
Massive financial challenges still lie ahead, but at least one CFL owner believes a long awaited solution to those issues in on the horizon.
Montreal Alouettes co-owner Gary Stern told Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette that the board of governors are close to adopting long-awaited revenue sharing, believing the motion will pass before the end of this season.
“All nine teams recognize the need to have nine healthy franchises. In the past, more or less, there were six healthy and three not healthy,” Stern said, acknowledging that Montreal had traditionally been of the unhealthy variety along with Toronto and B.C.
Still, he believes with a sleeker business model and president Mario Cecchini at the helm, the Als will be making significant contributions to the pot.
“We’ll be paying into that in two years,” he added. “The CFL has to make changes that takes it into the future and makes the league more viable financially.”
During commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s plea to the Canadian government for up to $150 million at the start of the pandemic, he revealed that collectively CFL teams lost between $10 and $20 million dollars per season in recent years.
Revenue sharing has long been proposed as a solution to that problem, one used in almost every professional league and endorsed by the players, but until now was too difficult to pull off. The pandemic and ill-fated XFL talks have changed that.
Stern, with his connection to MLSE, was labeled by most an XFL supporter, but he now says that door is closed. CFL teams are bound only to each other and need to figure out their own financial solutions.
“The nine teams have to get together and accept we have a unique game, with three downs and a wide field,” Stern said. “But we need revenue. Hopefully the fans are thrilled it’s over, come back and support us. I think they will but we, as owners, have to give them a reason to come.”