The CFL and the LFA: The Deal That's Not a Deal
Published: Thursday, Oct 11th 2018, 10:10pm
by: Greg McCulloch (@GregOnSports)
So….. remember last week when Twitter was abuzz about the CFL and LFA from Mexico having a press conference in the middle of the night announcing a player exchange program?
Well, it appears the CFL wants you to forget as they didn’t even announce it or cover it themselves. If it wasn’t for Commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s Twitter feed it was like it never happened. He’s like the one guy at the bachelor party who just can’t help himself and posts pictures on social media anyway.
In fact, Drew Edwards from 3Down Nation reached out to the CFL the following day and they were quick to say there was no agreement in place and that Ambrosie was in Mexico on a “fact-finding mission”.
If that’s the case the LFA really jumped the gun with the press conference and press release that spelt out the whole agreement that they have with the CFL.
So why hasn’t the league said anything?
Quite simply because anything that is going to affect the rosters like “global” players or sending players to Mexico to play in an exchange will have to be collectively bargained with the CFLPA. There will be many things that need to be negotiated like who will pay for the players time down in Mexico, who will cover them if they are injured, etc.
If I am on the CFLPA I am giddy that this leaked out the way it did.
If the league does indeed have an agreement in place with the LFA, with the new CBA negotiations forthcoming that gives the CFLPA a small piece of leverage over the league. With the prospect of the AAFL and the XFL around the corner, the league is going to be put into a position where it will need to keep the players happier as other options have come open.
Is this deal actually good for the CFL?
Honestly… maybe. It will take a few years to know for sure.
The player exchange is going to be minimal initially with 9 players coming from Mexico. So, it is safe to assume every team will be designated a “Global” player. If I had to guess I would assume a lot of the initial group of players will be linemen and special teamers, as the skilled positions probably aren’t as solid as the talent leaving the CIS and NCAA schools.
The players going south in exchange during the Mexican season will most likely be young Canadian draft picks or second-year players. Get those National players more reps and playing time so they can get a head start on the new season.
The CFL is going to have to bolster their Canadian talent especially if they are expecting to see a dip on the talent coming up from the US with the new starter leagues forming.
Honestly, the best part of this possible deal for the CFL will be the ability to market their game more in a new area. Yes, Maritime expansion is basically a sure thing at this point but showcasing the game and talent internationally can only help the bottom line.
The CFL is going to take the 9 best players of the LFA and put them on CFL rosters, you can bet that there will be local coverage of the players on how they are doing in the CFL. One would thing the CFL will be working on some sort of TV deal to package with this in Mexico, so they can follow these players.
Or maybe a Canadian talent becomes a fan favourite well then fans can follow his CFL journey as well. If you think it can’t happen, just check out Twitter during CFL games. There are American fans catching the games on ESPN and discovering college or pro players that they haven’t seen in awhile are in the CFL and start following their careers again.
This could be an amazing opportunity for the league to branch out in other markets, Ambrosie himself has stated that they are looking all over the planet for talent including Japan and Europe. So that “Global” tag isn’t just for Mexican athletes the CFL wants to be an international brand.
That said I really don’t know why Ambrosie went through with the press conference, if this was before the internet this wouldn’t have come out, but I literally watched the press conference live. Especially, in a CBA year that already appears will be a contentious negotiation.
Here’s hoping everyone does what is best for the league, the players, and the fans.