A schedule is out and free agency is looming, but what exactly is the 2021 season going to look like?
2020 was the first time in over 100 years that the Grey Cup was not awarded, and even though a 2021 schedule has been released, questions remain about what this season could look like.
June 10, 2021. That is a great day for two reasons. First, it’s my birthday and second, but possibly even more importantly, it is the tentative start date for the 2021 CFL season. Dubbed the “comeback” schedule, it features a full slate of games, concluding with the 108th Grey Cup in Hamilton on November 21.
I say tentative because I am a realist and understand those dates could very well change, depending on the state of the pandemic by the summer.
With cases rising in many parts of the country and restrictions tightening, it is still unclear when it will be safe to have CFL fans back in stadiums, especially since gate sales drive most of the league’s revenue.
Many players have been restructuring their contracts in recent weeks and re-signing with their respective teams before free agency begins, which would indicate, at least on the surface, that it’s business as usual for everyone unless otherwise stated.
But we all know that it is not business as usual, as these players are restructuring their contracts because of the uncertainty around the pandemic and how their teams and the league are going to be able to pay out these contracts with no butts in the seats.
I have contacted the league to try and get some form of an update on the 2021 season, but did not hear back in time before publishing.
I can’t imagine the league’s options to operate with no fans to be much different than they were in August. Either the owners fund the season themselves, or they go through the regular government business loan channels. Maybe they ask TSN for more money from TV revenues?
I hope that the relative silence (aside from the schedule) from the league means that they are working on a solution and keeping those plans close to the chest so as not to get hopes too high.
But expectations are high one way or the other, and we all just wanna know if we get football this year. However that happens, we’re game.