Brownlee writes for oilersnation.com and Griffiths was the Public/Media Relations Manager for the Edmonton Oilers and has over 30+ years of experience in the sports world.
Griffiths talks about the demographic problem the CFL has and that any decision the CFL makes in regards to rules or partnership, it really comes down to what the younger audience wants.
“And now it’s the point where that’s the only demographic that’s going to save this thing. And right now, I think the 25 to 40-year-old group is the group that is going to have to make the hard decision to save this thing. I’m prepared to buy into a merger if it’s going to mean that there’s going to be quality football played in all of the nine centers across this country. And if it’s a four-down football, I can live with that.
I even have a bit of an issue now after talking to a 26-year-old who has lived in our house for quite some time. And the issue is that they want to see the best players play. They don’t care about quotas. They really don’t care about a Canadian player on a team… if they can find the best NCAA player that is not playing in the National Football League. And he will play kind of a hybrid of our rules and their rules playing on our field, they are prepared to go with that.
So my history goes way, way back. But for a lot of them in the demographic that matter the most now, this league has completely disappeared off their radar screen. And if they go another season without having football, it’s going to completely go away.
You need the demographic that’s going to plunk the money down. So I’m not dismissive of us, but we are not the demographic that matters now and we’re not the demographic that’s going to save this league.
Several weeks ago Griffiths broke a story that at least one CFL team did not want to play in the 2021 season and that the XFL might not want all 9 CFL teams. However, the tone has changed and he is not hearing much over the last several weeks and that could be a sign.
“sometimes I often feel when the information tap gets turned off a little bit, there’s usually more going on behind the scenes… I’d like to think that there’s some talk between the two. I’ve become more pro merger over the last few months than anything because I think it’s the only way the league is going to make it. I’d like to see the CFL get a few things, that matter to them in terms of rules and the ratio would be nice, I guess.
But as I said, not for the younger demographic. Don’t seem to care. At least that’s what I’m hearing.”
He did say that one CFL team is more interested in playing with the XFL than the CFL. The team he is referring to is the Toronto Argonauts owned by MLSE.
“I’m not surprised by who the team was that stepped up and said, you know, we might be more interested in that league(XFL) than this league(CFL). You know, the team in Toronto are trying to do anything they can to make themselves, I guess the talked about entity, whether or not, they are certainly not the flagship franchise in the Canadian Football League anymore, but they still wield a ton of power.”
He also said that not all CFL teams are on board with a potential merger and without all 9 teams a merger can’t happen.
“The one thing that I hear is a continual roadblock right now is that they have to make sure and guarantee in getting all of the cities in Canada to play as part of a merger. That’s the only thing I’ve been hearing in the last few weeks. Is that’s still not a true given.
And, you know, everybody’s got different sources. But for me, it’s got a little cold in the last few weeks. And I think that that might be a good thing.”
A lot in the Canadian sports media believe that the XFL/CFL talks will be a merger. But no one really knows for certain as allegedly NDA’s have been signed and people are hearing things second hand. Also, what is the definition of a merger vs a partnership?
What we have heard officially for the 2021 season is the CFL is working on ‘a made-in-Canada solution’ meaning no money from RedBird Capital. We also heard today that talks between the XFL/CFL focus on the business model of the CFL and nothing more.
Fans want answers to the future of both leagues but it seems right now the CFL is really focused on getting their 2021 season underway. We will just have to wait and see because this is a fluid situation.
You can watch the full interview here from the Rod Pederson show.
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