CFL eyes government loan to cover hub costs, salaries
TORONTO — If successful in securing a $30-million, interestfree loan from the federal government, the CFL would use the money to cover such operating costs as player salaries, COVID-19 testing and hub-city expenses during a shortened 2020 season.
A source with knowledge of the situation told the Canadian Press on Tuesday the league has provided Ottawa with some details regarding its loan request, saying where the CFL expects to use the money.
Neither the league nor federal government have divulged details of the loan request.
The league is making a lastditch effort to secure financial support from the federal government to stage an abbreviated ’20 season. But the assistance won’t assure the CFL of prosperity.
The source says the league has said it expects to lose more than $50 million this year.
The CFL says it needs government money for a shortened season as commissioner Randy Ambrosie has stated the nineteam circuit collectively lost upwards of $20 million in 2019. And with no football yet this year, franchises have had little opportunity to generate revenue.
The CFL is a gate-driven league, with ticket sales being the primary source of revenue for all of its teams.
The $30-million appeal is a reduction from the $44-million amended requisition the league presented Ottawa last month. In April, the CFL approached the federal government for up to $150 million in assistance due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Ambrosie has stated the earliest an abbreviated season could begin is early next month. But he’s also said a cancelled campaign remains a possibility.
This latest request comes after the CFL had exhausted specified loan discussions with the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada, both crown corporations.
But the federal government requires more than just cost certainty. On Monday, two sources said it would also need a specified repayment plan as well as details on health-and-safety protocols the CFL would implement to ensure wellness during a shortened season.
If there’s a 2020 season, it will be held in Winnipeg, which is the CFL’s tentative hub city. The Manitoba government provided $2.5 million with its bid.