Thursday, May 22, 2014

The CFL risks alienating fans

From where I sit it looks like the CFL may be heading to a work stoppage...

It's a situation that both the league and players association need to try to avoid. The CFL is not the NHL, NFL, MLB or NBA. This isn't a multi-billion dollar league. It's barely a mullti-million dollar league. The latest offer from the CFLPA asks for a salary cap of $6.24 million dollars. To give that some perspective there are 60 NFLers making over $6 million a season. The league's offer of $4.8 million sees an increase of about $10,000 per player, at least that's according to the CFL. None of that deals with the major problem staring both sides in the face. Fans. The CFL, despite it's shiny new TV contract, is a gate driven league. Any work stoppage could see games, even pre-season, cancelled. No games means no money. It also means fans get frustrated. Any work stoppage in any league has that ripple effect. It's a very real risk that the players and league will shoot themselves in the foot. Yes, the CFL is a Canadian tradition, but in the biggest markets there are plenty of other forms of sport to get support. Yes, fans in Saskatchewan will come flooding back. They will in Winnipeg too, probably in Edmonton, Calgary and Hamilton. Ottawa will still see decent attendance with a new team. But in Vancouver and Toronto don't count on it. Montreal is too focused on the Habs to even notice the Alouettes might not by playing. In a league that's so delicately balanced the thought of a work stoppage should be terrifying for both sides.

At least that's how I see it, and I sit in the cheap seats.

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