2020 CFL season expected to be canceled, says Commissioner Randy Ambrosie

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

Ambrosia admitted for the first time during testimony before a House of Commons standing committee on finance on Thursday.

“Unlike the major US-based leagues, our main source of income is not television – it’s ticket sales,” said Ambrosie. “The governments facing COVID 19 – for reasons of public health that we fully support – have prevented us from doing what we do.

“Our best scenario for this year is a radically truncated season. And our most likely scenario is no season at all. “

Ambrosia appeared on video during an arts, culture, sports and charity panel after announcing last week that the CFL had asked the federal government for up to $ 150 million in financial assistance.

Ambrosie testified that the future of the league is “very threatened”.

“Not a rich company”

“Ours is a big brand but not a rich company,” he said. “Collectively, our teams lose between 10 and 20 million dollars per season.

“We survive thanks to the passion of our fans, the dedication of the volunteers who guide our community clubs and the civic philanthropy of the people who own and subsidize our private teams. “

Ambrosie has acknowledged that further game cancellations may emerge.

“We currently operate with the money that our fans and, to a lesser extent, our broadcasters and sponsors, pay us in advance for the games,” said Ambrosie. “The day is fast approaching where we will have to cancel several games and maybe the season.

Winnipeggers take to the streets in November 2019 to celebrate with players the end of a nearly three decade long Gray Cup drought. (John Woods / The Canadian Press)

“And then our fans and partners will have every right to claim their money. At that point, our financial crisis will become very real and very significant.

“A ban on large gatherings means for us no income, no business. We want to make sure it doesn’t mean CFL for the future either. “

Ambrosia has made it clear that times are desperate for the CFL.

“I don’t mind telling you, it’s humiliating but the fact is that we need your support,” he said. “So we can be there for all the community groups that depend on us.

“So we can continue to generate $ 1.2 billion in economic activity each year. So the CFL can continue to be one of the things that connects us as Canadians.

“Whenever this happens, we want our next Gray Cup – Canada’s 108th – to be the place where we can all celebrate that we have gone through this ordeal. And that Canada is back. “

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