Following the Canadian Football League’s decision to cancel the 2020 season, teams are bracing for one of their worst financial hits in league history.
This includes the Saskatchewan Roughriders, considered to be one of the most financially stable teams in the league.
Riders president and CEO Craig Reynolds said he expects the team to lose about $10 million.
“It’s certainly the biggest financial crisis we’ve ever faced in our history,” Reynolds said.
“There’ll be significant losses here. We essentially have zero revenue, and that’s been the case a while now.”
Reynolds said the organization has done its best to manage costs and has made use of government programs, but is still left struggling.
“We’re going to take a look at our business model, but it’s too early to say what exactly that means,” Reynolds said. “We’re committed to get through this and see 2021.”
When it comes to players and their contracts, Reynolds said it’s something the organization is still figuring out.
“There’s a lot of questions that still need to be answered, and again, I think that’s the work that starts tomorrow,” Reynolds said.
“Obviously, we’re working with the (CFL Players’ Association) around how can we support our players. I know we’ve been actively investigating the wage subsidy for players. We’ll continue to work with the CFL and with the players’ association to do that.”
In terms of players not being able to play this year, Reynolds said there is plenty of disappointment to go around.
“I have no doubt our players are disappointed. I am very disappointed for our players,” Reynolds said.
“(I) haven’t been able to obviously connect with all of them, but have connected with some and I know they want to play.
“I think anybody understood the type of team we had when you think about it from a football perspective.”
The Roughriders went 13-5 in 2019 finishing first place in the West Division.
“There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into a season on behalf of the players and staff and the coaches here,” said Jeremy O’Day, Roughriders general manager.
“You kind of feel for everyone involved. It’s disappointing. I think, you know, it’s especially tough on the players that have worked all off season and sacrificed financially.”
Reports surfaced on Sunday that the federal government denied the CFL’s request for a $30 million, interest-free loan, leaving the 2020 season in jeopardy.
On Monday, the league’s board of governors met and announced the decision to cancel its season.
“This outcome after months of discussions with government officials is disappointing,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said on Monday.
“But we’re focused now on the long-term future and we will continue to work with the federal and provincial governments in that context.”
The Roughriders were supposed to host Grey Cup 2020, but will now host in 2022.