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In my mind, I think there could be more collaboration on the back end of things - a centralized scouting system, a shared broadcast setup/contract that gives a network or two almost year round live programming, and perhaps some shared advertising packages for larger companies (McDonalds, beer, banks) that operate on a large scale in both countries. There could probably be some minimal crossover opportunities for players to play/practice with the other league throughout the year. I'm sure neither league is looking to reinvent their wheel, just to cut costs and increase revenue.

I'm not sure anybody is ready to see the St Louis Battlehawks take on the Ottawa RedBlacks in some mixed rules football game.

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6 hours ago, kmccarthy27 said:

Didn't they try that once before? Baltimore CFL Colts or whatever...

 

Ya. Pretty sure they were called the Baltimore Rough Riders

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6 hours ago, Skycast said:

 

Agreed, there is no world class talent there...those dudes play for the NFL because it is the top dog. However it is not a developmental league, it is its own brand of football with stars of its own. Their goal isn't to develop talent for another league, that's not why it exists.

The CFL is not prestigious enough or talented enough to have a brand like the xfl be it's developmental league. You think a city like Tampa or Houston is going to be a farm football city for Winnipeg or Regina? No way. Those cities would be Windsor or Thunder Bay. 

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The CFL is such a unique product and it is revered for being so unique... but at the same time it has backed itself into a corner. There are little opportunities for growth and expanded revenue options. Commissioner Ambrosie has stated multi times the need to adjust or change the CFL business model to establish sustainable growth and overall financial stability/security.

 

Yet "american football rules" are dominating the market place in north america and leaves the CFL with few options for partnerships and growth. 

 

Throw in a pandemic and the loss of the 2020 season and I think their hand is kind of forced or at least a plan to adapt has been accelerated. For a merger/partnership to be beneficial for the CFL, there would have to be some sort of revenue sharing (tv contracts, sponsorships, merchandising, etc.). The CFL gets the stability of new US marketplaces and the financial backing and infusion of cash from Redbird Capital (now owners of the XFL). While at the same time XFL opens international markets like Toronto and can capitalize of the history of the CFL and already established teams and football operations.

 

But if its that close of a partnership/merger, you still run into 2 questions... when do they play and by what rules? Similar to interleague play in MLB where you play by home team rules? could be interesting but that could be a lot of change from week to week. Or does the Grey cup champion meet and face the XFL champion?

 

So many questions... But it looks like the CFL is in dire need of cash and they cant survive having a competitor like the XFL so I guess a partnership is the only other option.

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17 hours ago, DNAsports said:

Wouldn’t surprise me if it ends up being an MLB-Atlantic League style partnership. Testing rules in one league in an effort to help out the other. Likely CFL gaining intel and development from the XFL.

 

16 hours ago, DNAsports said:

I wouldn’t really call it as CFL finding a minor league. More of a mutualistic symbiosis. There’s zero harm being done to one league by the other league (for now). Realistically speaking, it boils down to a pseudo-merging of the two leagues. Operating together, but separate while feeding off each other.

 

I can see this working as a kind of split season for the players, like Mexico does with their soccer leagues, since the CFL is probably not going to be able to pay as well as they have previously. I can also see collaboration in regards to referee training and player combines. 

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2 hours ago, Red-Knight said:

The CFL is such a unique product and it is revered for being so unique... but at the same time it has backed itself into a corner. There are little opportunities for growth and expanded revenue options. Commissioner Ambrosie has stated multi times the need to adjust or change the CFL business model to establish sustainable growth and overall financial stability/security.

 

Yet "american football rules" are dominating the market place in north america and leaves the CFL with few options for partnerships and growth. 

 

Throw in a pandemic and the loss of the 2020 season and I think their hand is kind of forced or at least a plan to adapt has been accelerated. For a merger/partnership to be beneficial for the CFL, there would have to be some sort of revenue sharing (tv contracts, sponsorships, merchandising, etc.). The CFL gets the stability of new US marketplaces and the financial backing and infusion of cash from Redbird Capital (now owners of the XFL). While at the same time XFL opens international markets like Toronto and can capitalize of the history of the CFL and already established teams and football operations.

 

But if its that close of a partnership/merger, you still run into 2 questions... when do they play and by what rules? Similar to interleague play in MLB where you play by home team rules? could be interesting but that could be a lot of change from week to week. Or does the Grey cup champion meet and face the XFL champion?

 

So many questions... But it looks like the CFL is in dire need of cash and they cant survive having a competitor like the XFL so I guess a partnership is the only other option.

 

You're thinking along the right lines, for sure.

 

I get that the CFL and its quirks are part of its appeal, but none of that matters if it can't survive on its own. Innovators adapt to survive, and the fact that the CFL is engaged in these discussions is a good sign. And in that sense, the XFL is an ideal partner. Though it was under a different ownership group then, the XFL has built its brand around the idea that it's willing to try shake up the game to make it more exciting. I could easily see them adapting Canadian rules to some of their own innovations. I can also see the CFL having to make concessions -- whether it be in the size of the field of the timing of the schedule —  in order to make a partnership work. There would have to be give and take.

 

I'm legitimately excited for this to emerge into a new concept. I'll be disappointed if this just ends up being some minor partnership or idea-sharing exercise or some player swap concept. The XFL wouldn't scrap its 2022 plans for something so insignificant.

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Reading online, many CFL fans say that if a merger happens, at least keep the 3 downs, 12 players on the field and size of fields.  

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2 hours ago, MJWalker45 said:

I can also see collaboration in regards to referee training and player combines. 

 

This is along the lines of what I'm thinking. 

I'm thinking something like league staff (head office and refs, ect as you said) work for both leagues and then the 2 leagues run their seasons in their respective countries as they currently do.

Might give the 2 leagues some bargaining power with sponsors and offer a TV package for both leagues. 

It also would prevent the leagues from fighting over talent therefore avoiding (in theory at least) player costs from raising. 

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22 minutes ago, Jer15 said:

 

This is along the lines of what I'm thinking. 

I'm thinking something like league staff (head office and refs, ect as you said) work for both leagues and then the 2 leagues run their seasons in their respective countries as they currently do.

Might give the 2 leagues some bargaining power with sponsors and offer a TV package for both leagues. 

It also would prevent the leagues from fighting over talent therefore avoiding (in theory at least) player costs from raising. 

I could see them basically being the football version of NWSL/WNBA players that jump between countries, but that'll probably be the lower end players. 

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There's some really good analysis here that underscores why this is likely to be much more significant than a talent development or resource sharing partnership. 
https://www.tsn.ca/cfl-fans-should-brace-themselves-for-a-wave-of-change-1.1605580

 

Here's a few key lines:

Quote

Around this time a year ago, the CFL came out with projections of enormous losses for 2020 if the pandemic prevented the league from playing. Again, this season, although most believe a partial season will be possible, the losses are expected to be heavy.
Playing a money-losing partial season in 2021 doesn’t do much for the league’s prospects beyond this year, which remain dim economically, as the pandemic’s hangover is likely to be present for years to come.
Which brings us to the XFL and its investors, who picked up that league out of bankruptcy last summer, for a planned re-launch in 2022.Those plans have officially been put on pause, pending the result of formal talks with the CFL, which tells you how serious the two sides are. 

 

 

And also here:

Quote

There’s going to be a gigantic hue and cry from some fans and members of the media about the league selling its soul. But the truth is that if the CFL in its current form was more successful, especially in the key markets of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, this wouldn’t be necessary.

We’ve also been hearing murmurs since last summer that not all nine CFL teams are committed to playing in a negatively altered economic environment, and there are real concerns about how many are committed to a 2022 season under the status quo.

The pandemic didn’t create the league’s challenges. It just accelerated them and the CFL needs an answer.

 

 

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There are going to be people who are going to ask the Canadian government to interfere as to protect Canadian Football (3 downs, 12 man, the longer field, the rouge).

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11 hours ago, GDAWG said:

Reading online, many CFL fans say that if a merger happens, at least keep the 3 downs, 12 players on the field and size of fields.  

 

I would keep the rouge and the goalposts at the front of the endzones before anything else

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7 minutes ago, ManillaToad said:

 

I would keep the rouge and the goalposts at the front of the endzones before anything else

 

Most want to keep the 3 downs because they don't want to be NFL Canada.

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If the leagues were to merge, maybe they should compromise on the most notable/essential rules from each league. That said, I think the size of the field will HAVE to be the American standard.

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The leagues aren't going to merge, and not only because of the difference in rules, but also because they play at different times of year.

 

My guess is that the two leagues will agree on some kind of player-sharing deal, whereby players will be able to sign multiple-year deals with a team in each league. (Though it would actually be a case of signing with a CFL team and with the single-entity XFL. Grr. Blast you, MLS! And blast you double, American jurisprudence!)

 

This way, the leagues will not be competing for the same player. And players will have a chance to earn a lot more money by playing yearly in both leagues.

 

Though I would love to see an annual inter-league exhibition game during the CFL preseason, perhaps between the newly crowned XFL champions and the previous season's Grey Cup champions.

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3 minutes ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

not only because of the difference in rules, but also because they play at different times of year.

Both of these things could change. We can't think about this situation as if either league is in "business as usual" mode when the pandemic put both on life support. If a merger is what they feel is needed to make sure both leagues are financially viable, a merger will happen. I'm not saying that is the case, but it can't be dismissed as a possibility. Regardless, even if it's not a merger, I doubt it'll be something as trivial as player sharing. That's not going to bring new in fans, which is one of the top priorities (if not THE top priority).

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Most CFL fans want the CFL to remain 3 downs because they don't want to be NFL Canada.

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The NLL and the MLL/PLL have some form of an agreement like this already. Players can play the box season during the winter, and the field season during the summer. Perhaps that's what we're looking at? I can't possibly see either league being willing to share its star players, though, because the risk of injury is astronomical.

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12 hours ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

The leagues aren't going to merge, and not only because of the difference in rules, but also because they play at different times of year.

 

My guess is that the two leagues will agree on some kind of player-sharing deal, whereby players will be able to sign multiple-year deals with a team in each league. (Though it would actually be a case of signing with a CFL team and with the single-entity XFL. Grr. Blast you, MLS! And blast you double, American jurisprudence!)

 

This way, the leagues will not be competing for the same player. And players will have a chance to earn a lot more money by playing yearly in both leagues.

 

Though I would love to see an annual inter-league exhibition game during the CFL preseason, perhaps between the newly crowned XFL champions and the previous season's Grey Cup champions.

I’ll say it again: how does this save the CFL any money or make it more sustainable? 
 

All this would do is solve a bidding war for players that doesn’t exist and likely won’t. The XFL wouldn’t delay its restart for a player-sharing scheme.

 

If anything happens, and it’s entirely plausible that these talks yield nothing, it will be a foundational shift for the CFL. One of the leagues will agree to move their season to a different time of year to make it work. 
 

Of course, with anything, I’ll be happy to admit I’m wrong if it’s something lighter. But the mix of the CFL’s financial circumstances and the XFL’s ambition leads me to think  a bigger deal is in the works.

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