Published on June 29, 2011 11:06 PM by dbo.
As the season approaches (the season-opener is tomorrow), the media is full of CFL stories and coverage. I’ve picked through the countless preview and predictions to find these nuggets of CFL goodness.
The Tao of Jim Barker is examined by Steve Simmons. Too bad it regurgitated the story of CFL ambivalence in Toronto. From what I’ve seen, that Toronto ambivalence applies to all things. Traffic to this site shows Torontonians have a strong interest in the Argos and league. When will the media quit self-perpetuating this story line? The increased amount of CFL media coverage not only across Canada, but in southern Ontario, indicates a rise in interest as media outlets do not cover what does not bring eyeballs.
In Commissioner Mark Cohon’s season kick-off letter he addresses a number of topics, from the Grey Cup to the fans. Little new or concrete here, but the commissioner covers many of the hot-button issues for fans to reinforce what is being done and encourage patience for longer term projects like stadiums and expansion. I think this constant reinforcement that the league is aware of these issues, working on solutions and looking for feedback provides a much better feeling for fans now than the unapproachable league some remember from the past. Update: Mark Masters gets some more depth in an interview with Mark Cohon.
Assessments of the league heading into the season are positive again. An editorial in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix goes farther, saying it is time for the CFL to strike to receive the best new TV deal it possibly can. Not only do they want more money, they figure CBC is ready to bid, increasing the demand and price. Sole-sourcing with TSN, a cable broadcaster, must be reviewed, since it leaves those with only broadcast television with no option. Not only that, but an additional 18 games a year (actually 9, the addition of a franchise will add 9 games to the schedule, from 72 to 81) will stress an already overworked TSN crew. Another broadcaster would help balance out the load and prevent games from being bumped from the main TSN channel (how many times has that happened?) it claims. All good intentions, but splitting the CFL package will not make it worth more. I am confident TSN will be willing to pay a premium to be the exclusive broadcaster and fill their channels with known advertiser-friendly content. The only broadcaster that has the same needs is Rogers Sportsnet, who may decide to get into the bidding with their recent CFL-friendly attitude adjustment an indicator they want to be considered.
Finally, to end off Herb Zurkowski asks 10 questions about the 2011 CFL season and tries to annoy and insult every region of the country at the same time. To answer his question about whether Mark Cohon is leaving the commissioner role after this season, while nothing is certain until the contract is extended, Cohon wants to stay so its up to the CFL board to not screw this up by waiting too long or submitting an insulting offer.