Less than 4 months ago the XFL and CFL talks we announced. Our own Mike Mitchell believed talks started as early as October of 2020. Many fans on both sides have questions as to what happened. TSN’s Dave Naylor and Farhan Lalji have some insight as does XFL Insider Mike Mitchell.
Mitchell believes that both sides could not come to an agreement on the business side of things.
A source told Mitchell that a deal between the two sides was too complex.
We have reported that talks never got past the business side of things and never got to rules or the on-field product despite chatter from Canadian reporters that said otherwise.
Lalji said on TSN.
“they just couldn’t get to a formal business model that was going to make sense to both sides. And from an XFL perspective, I think they really wanted to get this moving along, given the specter of the USFL beginning play with a television deal in 2022.”
He goes on to say the XFL had some issues with what they were bringing to the table.
“The XFL had a number of holes in what they were necessarily offering, and all the CFL went through this process. They realized just how much they were bringing to the table. And if they were going to give up some of its game and its traditions, they needed to make sure that financially and logistically they were where they needed to be and that they were going to benefit from this. They ultimately couldn’t get there.”
Naylor says the CFL governors feel better where they are now than they did when talks began based partly on the new gambling revenue coming to the CFL. The was passed last month.
“I think teams are very bullish on what this might ultimately mean to their bottom line. Revenue sharing and other belt tightening across the CFL, they think makes the business model a little more practical going into the future, that they didn’t feel as desperate, that they needed to do a deal with the XFL and put some things at risk.”
The change in position with the XFL and new gambling revenue doesn’t mean the CFL is out of the water. According to Naylor, the league’s business model and MLSE view on things have not gone away.
“The CFL, though, still has real questions about its business model in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. And we know the Argonauts under the ownership of Maple Leaf Sports and entertainment. These were the most bullish teams when it came to pursuing the XFL partnership. Now that is not going to happen. What is their long-term future as owner of the Argonauts? And of course, they helped usher in the new owners of the Montreal Alouettes. So there are certainly still some questions hanging over this league beyond this season.”
Lalji says that he believes both sides’ conversations are over and this chapter is done.
Lalji went on the Markcast to talk more about the XFL/CFL talks ending.
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