CFL asking for millions in assistance, flirting with canceling 2020 season

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The Canadian Football League has asked for government assistance during the coronavirus pandemic and is flirting with canceling the 2020 season because of the outbreak, the commissioner said.

Randy Ambrosie told the Canadian Press on Tuesday the league is asking for $30 million from Ottawa and could need another $120 million should the league decide to cancel the rest of the season.

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“We’re like so many other businesses across Canada,” Ambrosie said. “We’re facing financial pressures, unlike anything we’ve seen before. Our best-case scenario is we’re almost certain to have to cancel games. But at worst if this crisis persists and large gatherings are prevented, we could lose the whole season and the types of losses we could incur would be devastating.”

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The CFL is estimated to bring in $200 million per year, according to ESPN. The league makes most of its money from ticket sales than it does on TV deals.

Quarterback Mike Reilly was making $500,000 in 2018 and was considered to be the league’s highest-paid player. He signed a four-year, $2.9 million deal with the B.C. Lions the following season.

The CFL had planned to start the season on June 11 but already announced it would be delayed until at least September.

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According to the World Health Organization, Canada had more than 51,000 confirmed cases of COVID19 and at least 2,900 deaths.

The Grey Cup has been canceled in the past. Canada's entry in World War I put the game on ice from 1916 to 1918 and in 1919 due to lack of interest.