Fan opinions are mixed after the CFL’s decision to move to a revenue-sharing model and one of the main players in that decision is explaining why it was the right move.
Saskatchewan Roughriders president Craig Reynolds stated the team was a little hesitant at first, but they had a say in how the process will play out.
“We were sensitive to it and our board was as well. It was important for us to be involved in the design of the model and to be comfortable in terms of what this actually means,” Reynolds told the Regina Leader-Post.
The board of governors agreed to a revenue-sharing model between the franchises for the first time in almost 40 years and Reynolds believes it is the right call at this time.
“I always want to think about what’s in the best interest of the league. We all need a strong league to play in,” Reynolds said.
“We can have all of the success in the world, but if we don’t have eight other teams to play against, you’re not going to have success overall. There was an interest from each team to look at what was in the best interest of the league.”
The CFL lost between $60 and $80 million due to the cancelled 2020 season. And while Saskatchewan is consistently on the positive end financially, Reynolds explains that can change.
“The reality in pro sports is teams will have their ups and downs. If you go back in the history of the Roughriders, we’ve had a period of time where we had some down years and some very lean years,” Reynolds said.
“So from a principle perspective, it’s easy for the club to get our head around this. It really becomes what makes the model work and what model everybody would be comfortable with.”
The main concern for fans has been the optics of smaller market, community-owned teams like Saskatchewan helping to prop up a big market team like Toronto. There is also the concern about teams not using this money the right way, but Reynolds assures fans that won’t be the case.
“There are certain accountability expectations around it so teams that are receiving money through the program are expected to meet certain thresholds and have certain accountability measures,” Reynolds said.
“That’s so the teams that are paying into it are comfortable that the team receiving the funds is doing everything they possibly can to run a very successful franchise.”
Revenue-sharing is the first of potentially many changes for the CFL heading into 2022 as the league looks to recover from the financial toll caused by the pandemic.