There is a notion that the Canadian Football League would be better off with a middle of May to October schedule with the Grey Cup championship game taking place in late October. Weather is a factor as winter comes early in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina and Winnipeg but there are other reasons.
There would be less overlap with the National Football League although the NFL likes having the CFL around for antitrust purposes as in theory the CFL is NFL competition. It’s not, except on legal ground it is. The CFL would like to export the product and may have an eye on an American TV deal. In competition for the sports loonie, an earlier start to the season would put the league up against the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs earlier rounds but the league already competes with the Stanley Cup finals. Only Toronto would have to deal with Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. The Toronto Argonauts franchise is owned by Maple Leaf Sports Enterprises whose properties include the NBA Raptors.
There would be some logistical problems as training camp now starts in mid-May and would have to be pushed back. That might play havoc with finding housing for training camps as college dorms would not be available. The CFL does have TV deals and would have to discuss how pushing up the schedule would impact TV partners. There is another aspect which seems to be overlooked at the moment. The Labor Day Canadian airlift which sees CFL teams going after American players who failed to make an NFL squad.
The Labor Day weekend is the start of the second half of the CFL season and teams look to improve by signing players who were just not good enough for the NFL. A change would end the Canadian Airlift. The 2018 schedule is done but CFL changes are coming.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.