The State of the League

Published on November 21, 2008 11:20 PM by dbo.

I’ve combined a number of Single Point links and commentary into one post on today’s State of the League Address by CFL commissioner Mark Cohon.  My comments in bold.

  • Playoff move from Sunday to Saturday
    • Attendance fared well, but television numbers did not.  “People are busy.”  Cohon will discuss a move back to Sunday’s with the CFL‘s broadcast partner TSN in the off-season.  The CFL found that people will not interrupt their schedules to watch a CFL playoff game - there is time and money invested in kids activities and a normal shopping day.
  • Corporate agreements
    • New and multi-year agreements with sponsors like Pepsi and Wiser.
  • Expansion
    • Pending stadium agreement with city, Ottawa may be on the field in 2011.  It was also announced (or everyone reminded?) outside the press conference that Ottawa has tentatively been awarded the 2014 Grey Cup.
    • League is investigating playing exhibition or regular-season games in Moncton starting in 2010.  Games would be played at Moncton’s new track and field facility in a stadium that could be expanded to 20,000 seats.  The league needs to look at all the ramifications of purchasing a game from a southern Ontario team to play in Moncton while trying to break even on 20,000 temporary stands.
    • Quebec City - stadium is issue but with a stadium and strong, local owners, they would be welcome to the league.  Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall owns the territory rights of the province of Quebec so it would require his approval.
  • Economic outlook
    • The CFL is prepared to face an economic downturn in Canada and around the world.  The CFL‘s affordability, grass-roots support, long-term agreements in place and aggressive marketing are advantages in the changing economic climate.
  • Marketing
    • “This is our league.” was successful and will be continued, expanded.
    • Retro weeks will be rolled out to all teams in 2009.
    • Aiming for a Canada Day start in 2009, with Canada Day sponsor tie ins.
    • Negotiating for a title sponsor for November — playoffs and Grey Cup.  Grey Cup will be “presented by” sponsor, not naming sponsor.
    • Nissan has been a strong sponsor, not affected by economic uncertainty like Big 3 US automakers.
  • Officiating and rules
    • CFL working on adopting a command center in Toronto for video replay reviews.  Have to work out authorities of officials.  Hope that it will speed up calls.
    • Continue to define standards to protect players, especially quarterbacks.
    • Expires in May, 2010.  Negotiations on next agreement will begin in 2009.
  • Salary Management System
    • By Cohon’s estimate it will not rise in 2009, but it will be examined in the off-season.
  • Globe and Mail article - CFL coverage is down
    • popularity translates to coverage and the CFL is more and more popular.  Media has to face economic downturn and that may mean fewer reporters traveling, but it has nothing to do with the prestige of the event.
  • Divisional alignment
    • With the possibility of Ottawa coming on board the league is not likely to adopt a single division.  Costs and scheduling (rivalries) pose issues.
  • CFL purchase game or partner with Vanier Cup in next two years?
    • League would have to look at economics but there are scheduling and other issues.
  • Drug Testing Policy
    • First draft written with CFLPA, goal is to negotiate it into the next CBA.

Cohon concluded his initial comments by saying the league is strong and stable in both official languages.  There is no panic in CFL circles over the NFL or a souring economy.


David Naylor and Stephen Brunt did their own annual question and answer thing with fans today as well.


The State of the League was published on November 21, 2008 11:20 PM by dbo.

767 words.

This article is categorized under Game and tagged with cba, finances, franchises, grey-cup, marketing, sponsors, stadiums and state-of-the-league.

Continue the conversation on Twitter.

Related Stuff