The Canadian Football League (CFL) is charting its own path back to economic success.
Ahead of the 2021 CFL training season kick-off last Saturday, the league announced on July 7 that talks surrounding a potential partnership with American-based XFL (X Football League) have come to an end.
Reports indicate Canada’s 63-year-old pro league had been hurting financially for years.
The harshest blow landed in 2020.
A cancelled season resulted in a reported loss of 60 – 80 million Canadian dollars for the league. The money crunch created a need for creative solutions.
“Our talks with the XFL, exploring the potential for collaboration and innovation, have been positive and constructive,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement.
“While we remain open to finding new ways to work together in the future, we and our XFL counterparts have jointly decided to not pursue any formal arrangements at this time.”
CFL hopes single-game sports betting pays off
Enter single-game sports betting.
On June 22, Bill C-218 cleared the Senate.
The historic decision legalizes single-event sports betting in Canada after multiple attempts to pass the bill in a decade-long struggle.
Prior to C-218’s passing, only parlay bets (two or more games) were legally allowed.
But now, with lucrative single-event wagers on the table, commissioner Randy Ambrosie is keen on cashing in for his hurting league.
“Our need to recover and rebuild from the pandemic is expected to extend beyond the current crisis and into the future years,” said Ambrosie in a formal letter addressed to the House of Commons.
“This has only heightened our desire to find new and innovative ways to engage the interest of our traditional fan base and, just as importantly, attract new fans. This is one of the major reasons we are advocates for Bill C-218.”
Ambrosie, the CFL commissioner since 2017, has – in fact – long been a supporter of single-game betting.
In 2020 the former CFLer banded together with the commissioners of the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS in a joint statement urging federal government action surrounding the bill.
The league veteran called it a “vital economic tool” for the CFL’s success.
Now, with his league resuming play, the CFL community anxiously awaits to see how Ambrosie harnesses this new potential.
It will be a shortened 14-game schedule.