An open letter to Canadian Football League fans | | Official Site of the Canadian Football League

Dear CFL Fans:

Thank you for your patience and understanding during our contract talks with our players.

Out of respect for our players and the negotiation process, we have had little to say in public. But now that the talks have reached a critical juncture, I want to provide you, the most important people in the CFL, with an update.

Today, we have directly communicated to CFL players the full details of our offer to them.

It is fair and reasonable. It would increase the average player salary by 12 per cent this season, to $92,917. It would increase the minimum player’s salary by 11 per cent this season, to $50,000. It would increase the salary cap by nine per cent this season from $4.4 million to $4.8 million per team. More increases would come over the life of an agreement.

Unfortunately, the union’s bargaining team has rejected this offer, and instead put forward an unrealistic proposal which, if adopted, would threaten the very existence of the CFL.

This is why we are now communicating directly to the players. The details of our offer, in a letter from me to the players, are posted on

You may hear a lot in the media about revenue sharing. Our offer would share increased revenue with our players. But we cannot agree to an approach that would focus solely on our teams’ revenues while ignoring their costs and the investments we must make to modernize, stabilize and maximize the CFL.

For example, our teams are directly investing $175 million in new stadiums and stadium improvements. Like your mortgage, these costs have to be financed over several years. We also need to invest in our digital properties, our social media, marketing and ticketing, and the fan experience in our stadiums. We need to serve you better to continue to earn your support and attract new fans.

Like you, we want football. We want training camp to open and our full pre-season and regular season schedule to be played. We don’t want a work stoppage.

Like you, we admire and appreciate what our players do on the field and in the community. They deserve to be paid fairly.

But also like you, we love this league. And that means we have a responsibility to you, and future generations of fans, to keep it strong.
Thanks to your support, the CFL is in a better place today than it has been in years. And we have made an offer that reflects this growth.

But we still have work to do to ensure all of our teams can make a profit, which is crucial to attracting the next generation of owners, at the same time we attract new fans.  We still have a long way to go to realize our vision of a strong, sustainable league that can succeed in today’s rapidly changing business climate, and in every market.

It was a long winter in Canada. And like you, we can’t wait for the season to start. But we owe it to everyone who loves the CFL to seek an agreement that’s fair to our players and right for our league and its future.

Thank you again for your patience and all you’ve done to help us grow.

Mark Cohon
Canadian Football League

Fan Comments
All concerned should of been getting to a new contract way before this. Why at the end of the off season ?? The fans really need to support the PLAYERS who make the CFL game great to any true football fan. A 50/50 split on any new money going to the teams is only fair to the players who have given up a lot over the years. Once this is settled the best support all parties can get from the fans is BUY TICKETS AND FILL THE HOUSE UP EACH GAME!! This will make EVERYBODY happy and the finances for the players and the owners will not be a issue.
May 25, 2014 - 8:57pm
The minimum wage is fair. In contrast, the minimum in MLS is a ridiculously low $33K, which you can't live on in cities like Vancouver; and the CFL does not have anywhere near the potential future revenue growth the CFL has. The average salary is certainly high enough that Americans will be interested in moving here, and Canadian university athletes will consider it in the short term over other job opportunities. The league is currently going through a phase of massive stadia building and redevelopment, which needs to be paid for. The league should also focus financial resources on a tenth team, either in Quebec or Halifax. With these competing needs the current league offer is reasonable, fair, and sustainable. That said, commissioner Cohon should leave out the antogonistic languge: fans can judge for themselves what is fair and unfair.
May 24, 2014 - 4:20pm
als rule
sorry NO!! wages aren't fair and MLS' finances have nothing to do with anything!! MLB, NBA, NHL players all have multi million dollar contracts while multi billionaire owners continue to pocket record profits BUT no let's attack the CFLPA for demanding a better share of the profits from the TSN TV deal!! as for new stadiums and improvements the funding comes from our 3 levels of government in loans, grants, write offs and whatever money owners invest in their teams is refunded over time thru their business income taxes and expenses of operating a CFL team!!
May 25, 2014 - 7:51pm
Glenn Suiters open letter on TSN was right on about this situation.
May 22, 2014 - 7:39am
I was ready to support the players but their offer really was ridiculous. The owners could move a little more but the payers have to be a little more reasonable.
May 22, 2014 - 12:55am
Players can not expect to achieve all their goals in one negotiation...Take the deal,but only sign for 2 or 3 years...Then you can see how things are going...
May 21, 2014 - 6:13pm
Please reach a deal. Please reach a deal. Please reach a deal.
May 21, 2014 - 5:01pm
als rule
sorry as of right now I side with the players over what I believe is an owner power grab!! scott flory and his CFLPA hold the line and hold out for your fair share of the pot of gold from TSN!!
May 21, 2014 - 4:23pm
Please, please, PLEASE don't let there be a work stoppage. :(
May 21, 2014 - 3:27pm