Rob Vanstone recently interviewed Regina native and Saskatchewan Roughriders punter Jon Ryan. The former Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills punter has been a CFL fan his whole life. Including a season ticket holder of the Roughriders before playing for the team.
Ryan is also in the sports business space as a partner in two minor-league baseball teams. So he has an interesting take on the talks between the XFL/CFL.
“As a huge fan of the CFL, it’s a little bit frustrating that we didn’t get more information. As a guy who’s now on the business side of sports, I think it’s a genius move just to dangle that carrot in front of fans and not give them any information, because I’ve never heard so many people in Canada talking about the XFL. I’ve never heard so many people in America talking about the CFL before, even though they gave us no information. As a marketing strategy, I think it was very smart.”
When asked about where these talks might lead, he had a different take—a more alliance than a merger of the two leagues.
“I think there could be some kind of alliance without a merger,” Ryan muses. “I have some partners who have something to do with the Dallas team (in the XFL) and they kind of talked to me like the agreement would be that the CFL would kind of share that on-field experience with broadcasting with the XFL, and the XFL kind of would share some of the social media and some of the stuff they do on that side of it.
They would kind of collaborate on some of those things to make it more powerful. Whatever it’s going to be, I’m not too sure, but I’m excited and frustrated at the same time.”
XFL News Hub insider Mike Mitchell gave his two cents on Ryans’ take.
“Every indication to this point is that Jon Ryan is not that far off. However, The purpose of the NDA’s is for something bigger than this.
From day one, some people have been too focused and concerned about what each league could be losing rather than the potential benefits.”
Ryan has concerns about the current CFL game-changing, as do some CFL die-hard fans.
“Watching the CFL even over the last 15 years, I feel like they’ve forgotten a little bit sometimes what the ‘C’ stands for in ‘CFL,’
You’ll see them over and over again trying to take away jobs from Canadians by turning them into international jobs or increasing the ratio to have more Americans. There are things like that that I just find disappointing.”
Many fans, media types, and players have concluded that the CFL will be completely different in 2023. What if this is not the case at all? As Ryan stated, from what he is hearing, it is all related to the business model and share resources, not an utterly foundational change of the CFL.
As Mike Mitchell said, some people focus on the negative rather than the potential positive coming from these talks. Those who are truly in the know have said talks have been positive.
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