Coronavirus and the CFL
Published: Thursday, Mar 12th 2020, 1:03pm
By: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
Over the last 18 hours, the sports landscape has changed dramatically. It started with the NBA suspending their season last night over the COVID-19 pandemic. The MLS, NHL, NLL and MLB all followed suit today, with all of them putting their 2020 seasons on pause for the time being.
The CFL, while in its offseason, is not immune to response due to the pandemic. The Ontario Regional combine went ahead today as planned, but the CFL announced the cancellation of other upcoming events including the regional combines in Montreal (March 13th) and Edmonton (March 20th). They also cancelled the CFL combine (March 26-28) and a content “car wash” featuring top CFL players (March 23-24) both scheduled for Toronto.
Given the shift in the sports world over the past 24 hours, this is not surprising news. The only shock was the CFL going ahead with their Ontario regional combine before announcing the cancellation of the events to follow.
While the number of cases across Canada is low (117 as of this writing), there is at least 1 presumptive or confirmed case in all provinces where the CFL plays.
The advantage for the CFL over other sports that cancelled today, is that there is still quite a bit of time before the CFL preseason kicks off. There are 72 days, as of Thursday, March 12th, before the preseason kicks off in Winnipeg. Beyond that, there are 90 days until the regular season kicks off in Edmonton.
Unlike the NHL and NBA, who were less than a month out from their respective playoffs, the CFL has plenty of time to wait things out. Rookie camps are scheduled to open on May 13th, 61 days from today. If the sports world is still as heavily locked down in May as it is today, there will be bigger worries on the horizon then “will we play watching CFL football in 2020”.
A bigger concern for the CFL might be competing with the NHL and NBA playoffs, especially if the Toronto Raptors make another deep run in the playoffs. The NHL has asked teams to look into arena availability into July, so we may see a lot more competition viewership in the early parts of the CFL season.
For now, the world will just have to do without sports for the foreseeable future. Except golf and XFL football, which have seemingly decided to continue playing at this point.