Brock pro says CFL will struggle to manage potential strike – The Brock News

As the Canadian Football League (CFL) grapples with ongoing unrest among its players, a Brock University professor says all sides could lose in a potential strike.

In response to action by CFL players to reject a working agreement between the league and the Canadian Football League Players Association (CFLPA) that could jeopardize the start of the season, assistant professor of sports management Michael Naraine is addressing the various concerns the league has about these brought point remains a tough fight.

“There seems to be some disagreement internally on the player side,” he says. “That could be because the owners and the league have had their eye on them in negotiations for years and now want a bigger slice of the financial pie.”

While the league’s traditional revenue streams remain the same, Naraine says the current player action is likely in response to new revenue streams that haven’t yet emerged.

“The CFL’s financial position depends primarily on Bell’s broadcasting rights, advertising from corporate partners and gate revenue,” he says. “But there is greater potential in sports betting and data analytics, particularly the new relationships with Genius Sports as well as the potential to collaborate with the XFL. Players see these moves and think there is more revenue out there that should be shared. But a lot of that revenue is yet to materialise.”

Should a strike drag on, says Naraine, each team’s financial stability will depend on how dependent they are on goal receipts. It would also have a trickle down effect on team personnel.

“The Winnipeg Blue Bombers laid off several employees and cut the salaries of retained employees, including the president, general manager and head coach, during seasons affected by COVID-19,” he says. “A lockout could see something similar, where staff, not just players, also get a prorated salary for the next few months.”

With the strike looming and much still to be resolved, all sides will try to get public approval for their case, which could actually benefit the league, says Naraine.

“Bringing the negotiations public is a given, but the challenge for the CFL is that in the big Canadian media markets like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, the league isn’t the biggest draw in the city,” he says. “Getting big cities to care is a problem for the CFL, so public hearings would actually help draw more attention to the issues and spread the story.”

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