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SBD/1/Leagues Governing Bodies
CFL LOOKS TO NAME CHANGE, DIFFERENT RULES TO MARKET GAME
Published November 1, 1994
The CFL is discussing ways to make the league a more "viable product in the U.S." Among the possibilities: changing the name of the league, "Americanizing" the rules, and having Canadian and American divisions with more geographic rivalries. Jim Speros, managing partner of Baltimore's CFL team said the CFL "as we know it is over. It's got to be an international league between two countries." Speros wants the league to rival the NFL, but admitted, "we don't have any identity. We're not maximizing our potential." The league is struggling in the U.S., where two of four expansion teams must relocate before next season, and the "crisis is equally evident north of the border," where teams in Hamilton and Ottawa face financial trouble. Commissioner Larry Smith said the league must do "some pruning." Smith: "There may be a small consolidation process. Consolidation could mean less Canadian, more American cities." The CFL's marketing committee will explore options on a name change, as Speros believes the league's name must "reflect the American partner." The changes are an attempt to make the CFL a more attractive product for U.S. television, as "the success of American expansion ultimately rests with a U.S. television contract," even if it means extending the season into December. Speros: "If we blow this opportunity, somebody else will take advantage of it" (Ken Murray, Baltimore SUN, 11/1).