As of this writing, the NFL is planning to forge ahead with its 2020 season, as scheduled. North of the border, in the CFL, it’s not quite as likely.
“Our best-case scenario for this year is a drastically truncated season,” commissioner Randy Ambrosie told Canada’s House of Commons (via The Associated Press). “And our most likely scenario is no season at all…Ours is a big brand but not a wealthy business. Unlike large U.S.-based leagues, our biggest source of revenue is not TV — it’s ticket sales.”
Ambrosie explained that the government’s measures to protect the public against COVID 19 “have made it impossible” for the CFL to operate. The NFL and professional sports leagues all across North America are faced with similar obstacles, though they’re better equipped to handle them from a financial standpoint. In 2019, Ambrosie says the CFL lost $20MM. The NFL, meanwhile, took in roughly $16 billion in revenue with profits skyrocketing past their operating costs. Much of that money, as Ambrosie said, comes from lucrative TV deals.
With that in mind, the CFL isn’t necessarily a canary in the coal mine for the NFL. Dr. Anthony Fauci says the NFL has to test players early and often in order to play games, but that’s a feasible expense for Roger Goodell & Co., thanks to the TV money.