Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Fixing the CFL Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of my look at how to fix the CFL. We have a few more ideas to go through. One of the them good and then we get into the stupid ideas.

Admin Costs

Remember that I said there are only 2 ways to improve your business model and one is reduce expenses. Well this is one area teams need to look at… particularly the Riders. There is a cap on player wages, there is a cap on coaches but back office staff? Well that’s a free for all. Last year Football Operations accounted for 35% of Rider expenses. Now a large part of the remaining 65% was pretty legit but still that is a concerning ratio. Take a look at the list of Rider Admin staff… the only list I’ve seen compare to its size in the list of players Chris Jones employed during 2016. For sure investing in things like marketing and retailing are important (you can’t take the opposite approach and spend zero in those areas without negative consequences aka the David Braley approach). But when the vast majority of your revenue is tied to games you need to be able to scale back on admin costs when attendance drops or stops all together. Were we able to afford a massively bloated back office? Sure. Do each of those people add value to the team exceeding their wage (aka a cost/benefit analysis)? Not so sure about that, particularly now.

Okay, let’s get to the stupid ideas

More Canadians

Let me state that this is the Canadian Football league and Canadian content will always be a must. I will defend the ratio and the importance of Canadian players to the day I die. But… as long as you have that base core Canadian content, there is no correlation that more Canadians makes your league anymore successful. People tune in for exciting football not Canadian players. So any thought of expanding the Canadian ratio, while very patriotic, is based in zero business sense. Ask yourself who the top 10 CFL players ever are. Now ask yourself how many of them were Canadian. 2? Maybe 3? Did people care that guys like Flutie and Moon weren't Canadian? Hell no. We just wanted to see them tear up a football field. I don’t want to see Canadian content reduced but if you think increasing it will do anything to help the league at this time then you are sorely mistaken.

QB Salary Cap

I have stated that controlling expenses is important so the general sentiment behind this one is not awful. But player costs are already fixed by the salary cap. So capping QB salaries will not reduce costs, it will just shift them around. Look, I think it’s stupid to pay one player $700K+ but if teams want to be stupid then let them. From a financial standpoint it s not hurting them. I get that huge QB salaries put upward pressure on all other salaries but as long as the cap doesn’t move then overall labour costs will not increase. I don’t understand the logic of this one.

Social Media

Social media will not save you. Social media reach is only useful to the extent that you can translate it into additional viewers and merchandise sales. 10 million people watching your stupid tik tok video actually does you no good if none of them spend their money on your product after watching. Don’t get me wrong a strong social media presence is key to engaging fans (particularly young ones) but if you think social media will magically cure all your business problems then you are stupid. Let me also take this opportunity to address people who get butt hurt when CFL team Twitter accounts don’t follow them back. Its not like they are going to read your stupid tweets anyway. Will them following you make you suddenly want to spend money on merchandise? Or will it just feed your fragile ego? Teams do not have a responsibility to follow you on social media. End rant.


I actually don’t think this is a stupid idea, its just not particularly feasible. Based on the ridiculous success of the Oilers 50/50 and the millions of dollars people are falling over themselves to throw at it, people have suggested 50/50s as a way to financially prop up the CFL. The theory is sound. People love 50/50s and it would definitely garner huge money. The problem is this little things called gaming laws. And gaming laws dictate that 50/50’s can only be run for charities… not for profit companies. Do you really think the Riders would let the Rams take the 50/50 revenue if there was a way to funnel it into operations? So decent ideally... provided the rule of law wasn’t a thing.

What other idea (be they smart or stupid) have you heard? Add them to the comments section and let’s prove once again that anonymous smartasses on the internet can solve any issue better than so called experts.


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