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Volume 24 No. 176
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CFL Discusses Moving Schedule Up At GMs Meeting To Avoid Competition With NFL

CFL GMs this week discussed the "idea of moving the start of the season up to the beginning of June," according to Ted Wyman of the WINNIPEG SUN. Revamping the schedule could put Grey Cup games in October instead of November and allow the league to "compete less with the NFL for television eyes." Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM Kyle Walters said, “If the TSN people and the governors and the presidents think it’s going to increase the fan experience and more people are going to come out to games and more people are going to watch on TV, then the football operators will figure out a way to make it work" (WINNIPEG SUN, 1/11). In Edmonton, Terry Jones notes TSN would "need to be convinced" moving the schedule up would be good for them, as the net would effectively "have a veto." TSN VP Paul Graham said, “We’re not necessarily against the league starting earlier, but we would have to have a discussion with the league about how it would reflect the economics." Edmonton Eskimos President & CEO Len Rhodes: “It’s a question of timing, working with the rights holders and working with the players association but I’m really, really positive it’s going to happen.” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said, “The important question we wanted to have answered here was if there was anything we might be missing? ... There was no issue that came up that they didn’t see a solution to." He added, “Now we have to look at the pragmatic issues about how it would work in terms of growing our game. How do we have more people watching in the stands and how do we have more people watching on TV?” (EDMONTON SUN, 1/11).

SCHOONERS LANDING? The SUN's Jones notes a potential expansion franchise in Halifax became "part of proceedings" at the GM meetings even though it was not on the agenda. Ambrosie said, “It was like a constant buzz in the room.” Jones writes the enthusiasm for expansion among the league is "unmistakable." Rhodes said, “Forget about having a 10th team and all the benefits that would bring in scheduling. It’s just the idea of the league finally being a true national league going from coast to coast.” Ambrosie said that in December he "met with the three-man ownership group" vying for the expansion franchise, and "it’s still all systems go" (EDMONTON SUN, 1/11).