Last week, I ran across a report saying that a group of people wanted to add a franchise to the Canadian Football League and locate the franchise in Halifax, Nova Scotia. According to the report, the team backers had gotten to the point that they were starting a “name-the-team contest”; and in order to get a vote in the contest, one had to sign up for season tickets. That seems to be a good way to measure fan interest in the region and to generate publicity around the potential franchise to engender more interest. The CFL honchos would like to see just how much interest exists there.
Regarding a place to play, the report said that the folks proposing the franchise have located some vacant land in Halifax and want to build a 24,000-seat stadium there – – but it will require some public money. Estimated costs run to about $190M; the plan is for the team to begin play in 2021. The Halifax city-fathers are studying the business aspects of the stadium proposal.
My long-suffering wife and I have been to Nova Scotia twice and we loved it both times that we were there. However, my recollection was that Nova Scotia as a province was sparsely populated and I wondered if it could support a CFL team. According to Google, the Halifax Regional Municipality has a population just over 400,000 people and the province itself hosts 940,000 folks. That is more that I would have guessed but it still seems as if it might be a tad thin to support a team.
I sent an email to Gregg Drinnan who was the sports editor of the Kamloops Daily News until that newspaper ceased to exist and who now authors an excellent blog, Taking Note. I referenced this report and asked him if he thought Halifax was a big enough market for a CFL franchise. I also asked about Quebec City as an alternative site in Eastern Canada if indeed the league wanted another team in that part of the country to balance out the CFL. Here are the cogent sections of his response:
“My heart says yes, but my head says no. . . . Twenty or 30 years ago, maybe. But not now. I don’t think the population is there [in Nova Scotia] and expenses never seem to go down. So I don’t know that a team there will generate the revenue needed to run a franchise, even in the CFL.
“I don’t know what the aversion is to Quebec City. The university teams in Quebec have pretty good followings, as do the ones in the Maritimes. But QC obviously has more population. I do think there is more political will to provide a place to play in Halifax than there is in Quebec City.”
Adding a team to the CFL would be a good idea just so the league can field an even number of teams. Currently there are 5 Western Teams and 4 Eastern Teams. In the CFL playoffs that just began, the British Columbia Lions – whose home is in Vancouver – were playing in the Eastern bracket. Say what?
Switching gears … According to reports, Carmelo Anthony’s “honeymoon in Houston” may be ending soon after his arrival there. In a game against the Spurs, Anthony did not play due to an unspecified illness. In the game before that – against the Thunder, Anthony shot 1 for 11 from the floor and 0 for 6 from 3-point range. Coach Mike D’Antoni had no comment regarding Anthony’s absence from the lineup which would not be an outrageous circumstance except for the fact that D’Antoni and Anthony lived through some scratchy times with one another when both were with the Knicks. It did not end well in NYC in the days before Anthony’s skills began to erode. I suspect it will not end well in Houston…
Remember a few years ago when Baylor football was in the spotlight based on allegations that members of the football team routinely engaged in sexual assaults and that the football team – under Art Briles – covered up those activities. After an investigation, the university fired Art Briles and its university president, Kenneth Starr. Well, the Big 12 Conference seemingly is not done with Baylor yet. Since all of this came to light and an investigation showed that the school was less than diligent in handling these matters, the Conference has been withholding a portion of Baylor’s Big-12 Conference generated revenue. A recent report says that the withholding amounts to just under $15M. Evidently, the folks who run the Big-12 have figured out how to close the books on this sordid mess:
- The “$15M” in withheld revenue will be invested in an escrow account and that account will run for the next 4 years. In that time, Baylor will continue to implement recommendations that arose from the investigation into how the schools screwed up the “football/sexual assault situation” so badly.
- After 4 years, the conference will assess Baylor’s progress and if they determine then that the proper controls exist and that the proper checks and balances exist for the football team and the Athletic department, then the escrow account will be liquidated in the following way.
- First, Baylor will reimburse the Big-12 Conference several million dollars for the legal costs that the conference incurred due to Baylor’s improprieties. [Aside: That seems like an awful lot of billable hours for an entity “twice-removed” from the football team that was the epicenter of the situation. Whatever…]
- Then, the Big-12 will take $2M out of the principal invested in the escrow account as a fine on Baylor University.
- Baylor will then receive the remaining principal from the account – which is money they would have gotten earlier on as part of their conference membership.
- All the interest/capital gains earned on the principal will be distributed equally to the conference member schools and the schools are supposed to use those funds to combat sexual assaults on their campuses.
Perhaps, that is the final chapter in the dystopian novel on Baylor football…?
Finally, here is a comment from Mike Bianchi in the Orlando Sentinel:
“I’m not saying NBA coaches are totally unimportant, but Tyronn Lue won a championship and made it to four consecutive NBA Finals when LeBron James was on the roster. Without LeBron, Lue didn’t even make it through the first month of this season without getting fired.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………