Hewitt Commentary: CFL cancels 2020 season and there is no one to blame
Saskatchewan Roughriders helmet (Twitter/@sskroughriders)
REGINA -- It was inevitable.The math was never going to work. On Monday the CFL officially cancelled the 2020 season.
It is very disappointing.
It seems to be human nature that whenever there is a major disappointment, in many walks of life, fingers of blame are pointed.
In this case, at whom?
The financial effects of a pandemic caused this result, not the incompetency of any leader, individual or government.
CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has taken a lot of flak, much that he doesn’t deserve.
He has made mistakes, like not having a Canadian born CFL player beside him when he first addressed the Finance Committee.
That error was inconsequential to this eventual result.
As much as 50 per cent of a CFL team’s revenue comes from the gate and subsequent spinoffs from that gate.
Right there and then you knew where this would end up.
Several major conferences will not play US college football this season because of identical issues to the CFL.
It’s all about scale and substantial broadcasting revenue which the CFL does not have.
The federal government clearly saw that taxpayers had no appetite to bail out a pro sports league in the middle of a pandemic.
A CFL bailout would have opened up a huge can of worms for the Feds with other sports organizations.
The owners of the WHL’s Regina Pats and Saskatoon Blades are losing a pile of cash.
One reliable source told me the Blades are anticipating a loss of $300,000 for this season, a season which the WHL hopes to begin in December.
That’s only a hope.
You feel sorry for everyone effected by the global pandemic, millions upon millions, including families who have lost loved ones.
Who hasn’t been?
I have been and so have you, in one way or the other.
It’s only a matter of degree.
Many citizens in this country are currently worried about just keeping food on the table.
Look at the food bank numbers.
So, what will the CFL look like in 2021?
No one can answer that question unless you can find that time travel machine from the movie Back to the Future.
How many football fans will be allowed in stadiums by 2021?
Will the CFL private owners hang in there after losing a pile of money in 2020?
The Roughriders will lose a comfortable nest egg and take on debt.
For the first time since 1919 the Grey Cup will not be awarded.
Randy Ambrosie has a pile of problems, and, unlike other major sports commissioners, does not operate from a position of strength.
This is obviously the darkest of times for the CFL.
My prediction, for what it’s worth, which may not be much?
We all long for normalcy and it will come.
At the end of the day the CFL will find a way to survive, initially perhaps with lower salaries and revenue streams.
There will come a day when we will all be back at beautiful Mosaic, cheering on the Roughriders, enjoying each other’s company, basking in the warm prairie sun.
Weirdly, and for no factual reason, I am one hundred per cent certain of this.
There is another side to human nature. We don't give up.
Don Hewitt first started covering the Saskatchewan Roughriders for CKCK-TV in 1979.