The Canadian Football League is in dire straits as it grapples with the possibility of losing the entire 2020 season to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie told the Canadian Press that his league is asking for $30 million from the Canadian government right now and would need another $120 million if the entire season is canceled.
“We’re like so many other businesses across Canada,” Ambrosie said. “We’re facing financial pressures unlike anything we’ve seen before. Our best-case scenario is we’re almost certain to have to cancel games. 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.”
The CFL’s TV contracts are tiny compared to the NFL, and CFL teams make a much higher percentage of their revenue from ticket sales than NFL teams do. So playing games in empty stadiums may not be feasible for the CFL.
The CFL had planned to begin the regular season on June 11 and play the Grey Cup on November 22. The league has already announced that it will not start the season on time, and Ambrosie says the season probably won’t start until September, if it starts at all.