Davidson: CPL Asks for 15 Million Dollars In Government Aid
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has halted sports around the globe, the Canadian Premier League has made big moves to keep fans engaged during what was supposed to be the early stages of its second-ever season: the burgeoning league is pushing out episodic content of a video documentary series and livestreaming eSports events while OneSoccer is producing no shortage of full-length interviews, too.
Still, with no games played this year, there’s been a marked drop in revenue for a league in its infancy. While Canadian Premier League commissioner David Clanachan has assured fans that Canada’s only domestic professional football league would still be on its feet when the pandemic ends, one week after that he deferred 25% of player salaries and cut staff wages in order to avoid layoffs.
It’s clear that the economic climate is tough for any sports league, much less one still establishing itself. One must look no further than the second failed attempt at launching the XFL for an all-too-present example.
The CPL isn’t the only domestic league experiencing fiscal hardship. The Canadian Football League became a significant talking point this week when it asked the federal government for 150 million dollars in financial assistance to help the 62-year-old league stay afloat while its players, fans, and staff are out of action for the foreseeable future. The CFL’s commissioner didn’t mince words regarding his request, stating that the potential loss of the 2020 season as a whole would be financially devastating:
Our best-case scenario is we’re almost certain to have to cancel games. But at worst if this crisis persists and large gatherings are prevented, we could lose the whole season and the types of losses we could incur would be devastating.CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie
Yesterday, veteran Canadian sports writer Neil Davidson reported that the Canadian Premier League had also asked the Canadian government for financial aid, requesting 15 million dollars in short-term financing to cover costs. According to Clanachan, the exact form of the fiscal aid is still “all part of the conversation”.
The federal government hasn’t issued an official comment regarding the CPL’s request, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens. The construction of stadiums like Forge FC’s Tim Hortons Field were partially funded by federal dollars, with the CPL alone employing 400 full-time staff and some 1,600 part-time staff members, too. With the CPL and CFL both being significantly-sized businesses, there’s a solid argument as to why they ought to get support – though what will ultimately happen is solely speculation at this point.
Decisions made in one league could impact the other, with two sides having ownership-level crossover: Canadian entrepreneur Bob Young owns both the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL and Forge FC of the CPL, while the Winnipeg Blue Bombers own Valour FC. Both groups’ CFL and CPL counterparts share stadium grounds.
What will happen for the 2020 Canadian Premier League season remains in the balance, too: with each province handling the pandemic differently, there’s no set formula on how a sports league could attempt to restart a postponed season, or how to conclude it if a restart isn’t possible. It’s uncharted territory for the global sporting world.
In the meantime, Clanachan stated that the league is currently running through a variety of different scenarios to see how the resumption of the 2020 Canadian Premier League season might take shape in that event that such a scenario is a possibility.
Canadian Premier League clubs have been doing what they can in the interim: all of the sides have held virtual events of one kind or another, while clubs like Atletico Ottawa, Forge FC, and York9 FC have continued to sign players, too. Clanachan has stated that even amidst all the fiscal turmoil, talks with investors regarding future expansion sides have continued to take place as the league looks toward brighter days.