An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
SHOULD WE GIVE the Canadian Football League a $150-million handout?
In the words of Al Borland, “I don’t think so, Tim.”
The CFL, which seems to go through a crisis every few years, is going through another one with the shutdown of sports events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Training camps including the Lions camp at TRU have been cancelled, the season is delayed and there’s no money coming in. So, the league is asking taxpayers to front an immediate $30 million to replace season-ticket purchases and corporate sponsorships that would normally be fattening its coffers.
The rest would depend on when the season starts or doesn’t start. It would all be paid back “over time.” Amazingly, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t closed the door on the idea.
We certainly miss professional sports and grow weary of watching re-runs from games and tournaments that are several years old.
Big-league sports give us pleasure but they aren’t an essential service and they are, mostly at least, a business. Let the CFL get in line with other applicants for the support programs already being made available by the federal government.
Undoubtedly, soccer, tennis, baseball, hockey and many other professional sports would benefit from our money.
But I for one am not enamored at the prospect of bailing out a league whose rosters are filled mostly with American athletes who can’t make the grade in the National Football League.
It isn’t even a Canadian game. Soccer fans would say it isn’t even true football.
CFL teams always seem to be on the verge of financial disaster and needing handouts from somebody. Let them go on fundraising campaigns and let them play in empty stadiums for TV revenue.
I hope they succeed. But putting $150 million of taxpayers’ money on the line? I don’t think so, Tim.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.