May 20, 2020

Letter from Randy Ambrosie, CFL Commissioner

Dear Season Ticket Holder,

I am back with another note because we have some news to share – about the CFL in 2020, Grey Cup and Touchdown Atlantic.

But first, I want to say we hope you and yours are safe and sound. You’re more than our best customers and biggest fans. You’re family. We hope you are holding up.

Let’s get to the update.

Return to Play: Summer is Out, Fall Remains Possible

We remain hopeful the CFL can return to play as soon as this September for a shortened but meaningful season leading to the 108th Grey Cup.

A final decision, of course, depends on what governments and public health officials tell us is safe for your and our teams. We will always put safety first.

We have been forced to rule out a return to play this summer. The pandemic is affecting large assemblies, travel, and border crossings. Some provinces and cities have already told us they will not okay large gatherings until September 1, at the earliest.

To be clear, we hope to be back this Fall. We can’t promise that yet and we’re not announcing that today.

If we cannot start this Fall, we may have to cancel the 2020 season. Of course, we’ll keep you posted.

Changes to the 2020 Grey Cup

We looked at the effect the pandemic is having on travel, tourism, and the economy. And then we got on a call with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who were supposed to host the Grey Cup this year. Everyone agreed it makes more sense now to instead award the 2022 Grey Cup to Saskatchewan, and that’s what we’re doing.

If we play this year, we’ll determine the location for the 2020 Grey Cup Game with a “win and host” model. The team that qualifies for the Grey Cup and has a superior regular season record to its opponent will host the game. This means all nine teams have a shot at hosting the Grey Cup game.

We are also considering moving the Grey Cup into December, as we explore every option that will allow us to play as many games as possible in 2020.

The 2021 Grey Cup will be played, for the first time in 25 years, in Hamilton as planned.

Thank you to all the volunteers, staff and sponsors who have already been hard at work in Saskatchewan. And thanks to everyone who had purchased the tickets. The Riders are communicating today to those fans.

Touchdown Atlantic

Unfortunately, the pandemic is forcing us to cancel the Touchdown Atlantic game in Halifax, which had been scheduled for July 25.

This is disappointing. The game was sold out. And I know fans from across the country wanted to come to Atlantic Canada, especially to show our love for our fellow Canadians after the recent tragedy in Nova Scotia.

I promise everyone in Atlantic Canada – and especially the group backing the Atlantic Schooners, the TDA volunteers and the fans there — that we’ll be back. There will be direct communication to the affected ticket buyers.

Gratitude

I wish we could give you happier news – and clearer answers — today. Unfortunately, we’re all learning that in a pandemic, certainty is as hard to come by as an open bar or a family reunion (two of the other things I miss, by the way, along with watching CFL football with you).

Still, I’m awed by our essential workers. I’m grateful to live in a country with the resources, resolve and resilience to beat this thing. And I know I speak for your favourite team, and everyone at the CFL, when I say how grateful we are to you and your support.

It’s daunting to think about going for months, maybe a year, without games and the revenue they bring in. This is a financial crisis for the CFL. Some of you have been kind enough to ask how you can help. You already have by buying season tickets, and you especially have if you have left your season ticket deposit with your club, to use later as a credit.

We know not everyone can do this. This pandemic has been tough on jobs, on savings, on people. But if you can manage to help us in this way, it can make a world of difference. Thank you.

Like you and your family, we’re determined to make it through this. We’re continuing discussions with the federal government. We’re reworking, again and again, our business plans. And we’re working closely now with our players, who give us so much to cheer on the field and in the community.

We’ll be with you, in a CFL stadium, again. I used to think my favourite day was Christmas, or my birthday. All I want now is game day – when we know it’s safe.

Thank you again for your support and your patience. Stay strong. And thanks again for sticking with us.

Yours in football,

Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner

Canadian Football League