CFL commissioner says a season canceled due to coronavirus could put future of league in doubt

When we talk about secondary football leagues failing, the Canadian Football League doesn’t often get its due.

The CFL has been around since 1958, eight years before the first Super Bowl. It’s a popular, successful league with a rich history.

And even with a solid foundation, the CFL is struggling with coronavirus restrictions. The CFL commissioner said that without financial assistance from the government, the future of the league could be in peril.

According to The Canadian Press, the CFL asked the federal government with financial assistance. It said if the CFL season is canceled, it could be “devastating” for the league.

CFL asking for government help

The Canadian Press reported that CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie is asking for up to $150 million from the Canadian government.

He is asking for $30 million to help with league business lost due to the coronavirus pandemic, then additional assistance if the regular season is shortened and up to $120 million more if the 2020 season is canceled altogether.

Ambrosie said like other businesses, the CFL is “facing financial pressures unlike anything we've seen before.” The CFL season usually starts in early June and Ambrosie is figuring on games having to be canceled.

“Our best-case scenario is we're almost certain to have to cancel games,” Ambrosie told The Canadian Press. “But at worst if this crisis persists and large gatherings are prevented, we could lose the whole season and the types of losses we could incur would be devastating.”

Montreal Alouettes fullback Etienne Moisan (84) tries to tackle Calgary Stampeders defensive back Brandon Smith (28). (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CFL worried about future

Even though the CFL has been going for more than 60 years — and its Grey Cup was first awarded in 1909 to the top rugby team in Canada — losing a season could put the league’s future in doubt.

“One of the things, I think, that the CFL and all of us who love the league pride ourselves on is we're striving to be very optimistic,” Ambrosie said, according to The Canadian Press. “But to be realistic, the kinds of losses could have an effect on the future of this league.”

While the major American sports leagues aren’t going to be in danger of folding if there’s a lost season, the CFL’s concerns speak to the issues every league is facing.

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