With television rights to be negotiated, CFL faces critical season
With only days to go until the start of an important CFL season in which the Grey Cup will be awarded for the 100th time and television rights scrutinized heavily ahead of a contract renewal, commissioner Mark Cohon couldn’t be calmer.
He could worry about television ratings (they slipped last year), broadcasting rights (the league’s deal with TSN expires in 2013), stadiums (several teams find themselves close to homelessness) and/or the struggle to win fans in Southern Ontario.
Instead, he reclassifies each of his problems into opportunities ahead of Friday’s season openers, which include a rematch of last year’s Grey Cup as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers travel to Vancouver to face the B.C. Lions.
“I think we have great momentum,” Cohon says. “No. 1 is the renaissance we’re having with new stadiums being built. Two, we have continued strong ratings. Then there is the power of the 100th Grey Cup. And No. 4 is the play on the field.”
No matter the spin, this is a crucial year for the league. Like a free agent in the last year of a contract, the league needs to put in the type of effort that will make it easier to secure a long-term television deal that will pad revenues and provide a foundation for the next five years.