The XFL and CFL called off talks on Wednesday, both leagues releasing a statement to the fact. The announcement didn’t completely shut the door on all possibilities though, as it has been reported by CBC’s Dan Ralph that the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts could be on the way out of its current situation.
The franchise is owned by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, a conglomerate that owns Toronto sports teams, banks, and a management firm.
The Argonauts have reported annual losses of $12 million, and in the last few years have had some of the lowest attendance records in the CFL. That’s a tough one for a league that depends highly on fans being in the stands.
MLSE was a big player in the collaboration discussions between the two leagues. Undoubtedly, the ownership group believed that working with the XFL could help solve some of the CFL issues. The league had to cancel the 2020 season due to the pandemic, and 2021 has had to be adjusted to less games, and the possibility of fewer fans.
But their feelings on the potential merger weren’t shared by every team. The Edmonton Elks released this statement Wednesday:
The MLSE could sell the team, if it doesn’t decide to join the XFL. But finding a buyer for the 148-year-old franchise could be difficult.
Football is the only sport loved by Americans that doesn’t have a club in Canada. The other teams MLSE control are all part of the NHL, MLB, and NBA. If they decide to break ranks it poses a threat to the stability of the CFL.
Nothing will happen before 2022, and the XFL won’t hit the field again until a year after that. A lot can happen between now and then, so stick with us as this story continues to unfold.
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