CFL would use potential loan from feds to fund shortened season: report

By Dan Ralph

The bulk of the CFL’s $30-million, interest-free loan request from the federal government is to cover the operation of a shortened season.

A source with knowledge of the situation told The Canadian Press on Wednesday the CFL’s plan calls for approximately $28 million going towards an abbreviated campaign. The source added it’s included in the loan details the league has provided the federal government.

The CFL source spoke on the condition of anonymity as neither the league nor the government have divulged details of the loan request.

The CFL’s board of governors is slated to meet Thursday but it’s unclear what — if any — details of the league’s negotiation with Ottawa will be presented.

The federal government required cost certainty from the CFL. It also needed a specified repayment plan as well as Health Canada approval of health-and-safety protocols the league would implement during a shortened season.

Of the $28 million, approximately two-thirds (or about $19 million) would go towards covering player salaries and operation of the CFL bubble in Winnipeg, its tentative hub city. Roughly half the overall total (or around $14 million) would be allocated for hub-city costs like food and lodging, testing and buses for players, coaches and support staff.

That’s a great return on investment for the Manitoba government. It included $2.5 million in its bid to the CFL for Winnipeg to be the league’s tentative hub city.

Around $5 million would go to player salaries. However, the CFL would reportedly make up any shortfall in the payment of its players.

An estimated $5 million would be for coaches and support staff. Roughly $4 million would be available to take care of incidental costs.

Losses still expected in truncated campaign

The league is making a last-ditch effort to secure financial support from the federal government for an abbreviated ’20 season. But the assistance won’t assure the CFL of prosperity.

The source says the league expects to lose between $60 and $80 million with a cancelled season. Even if football is played, the deficit could be as much as $50 million.

The CFL declined comment Wednesday.

The league has been steadfast that it needs government money for a shortened season. Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has stated the nine-team circuit collectively lost upwards of $20 million in 2019.