CFL’s 2020 season likely to be wiped out, commissioner Randy Ambrosie says

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said the most likely scenario for the league is a 2020 season canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ambrosie made the admission for the first time while witnessing a standing committee of the House of Commons on finance on Thursday.

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"Unlike the big US leagues, our biggest source of revenue is not TV – it is ticket sales," said Ambrosie. "Governments dealing with COVID 19 – for public health reasons that we fully support – have made it impossible to do what we do.

"Our best scenario for this year is a drastically truncated season. And our most likely scenario is that there will be no season."

Ambrosie appeared on video during a panel on arts, culture, sports and charitable organizations, after news broke last week that CFL had requested up to $ 150 million in financial assistance from the federal government.

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During his testimony, Ambrosie said the future of the league is "very much at risk".

& # 39; Not a rich business & # 39;

"Ours is a great brand, but not a rich business," he said. "Collectively, our teams lose between $ 10 million and $ 20 million per season.

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"We survived because of the passion of our fans, the dedication of the volunteers who run our community-run clubs and the civic philanthropy of the people who own and subsidize our private teams."

Ambrosie acknowledged that more game cancellations may be coming.

"We are currently operating on the money that our fans and, to a lesser extent, with our broadcasters and sponsors, pay us in advance for the games," said Ambrosie. "The day is fast approaching, when we have to cancel several games and maybe the season.

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Winnipeggers crowd the streets in November 2019 to celebrate with players the end of a drought in the Gray Cup that lasted almost three decades. (John Woods / Canadian Press)

"And then our fans and partners will have every right to demand their money back. At that point, our financial crisis will become very real and very big."

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"The ban on large meetings does not mean revenue or business for us. We want to ensure that this also does not mean any CFL for the future."

Ambrosie made it clear that these are desperate times for CFL.

"I don't mind saying, this is humiliating, but the fact is that we need your support," he said. "So that we can be there for all the community groups that depend on us.

"So we can continue to deliver $ 1.2 billion in economic activity each year. Therefore, CFL can remain one of those things that connect us as Canadians.

"Whenever we come, we want our next Gray Cup – Canada's 108th – to be the place where we can all celebrate that we've been through this. And that Canada is back."

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