The sporting world is static, eagerly awaiting positive news regarding the global pandemic which Covid-19 has brought upon us.
Canadian sports organizations may have more to worry about than just a swift restart to the CEBL, CPL and CFL; Could the crisis spark financial ruin for some of the top-tier Canadian sports teams, or even leagues?
What’s the Future of the CEBL look like?
The league is currently made up of 7 teams from the various provinces across Canada, with only one season completed so far. The Saskatchewan Rattlers won the league in 2019 and it looked like the CEBL was beginning to gain some momentum.
The CEO of the league Mike Morreale recently made his disappointment clear about the current situation. The loss of sport in Canada comes at a time when the government and investors are pumping more money into Canadian sport and grassroots development.
As well as the aforementioned Saskatchewan Rattlers, here are the rest of the teams competing in the league;
When the CEBL and CPL started, the commissioners were fully aware of the struggle they faced to make these leagues successful. When competing against the MLB and NBA, it’s hard to imagine a situation where Canadian professional athletes will want to remain in Canada and not move onto bigger things.
This is particularly relevant to the CPL, which has to draw players away from the major leagues, which have much more money and more pulling power. This was the case with the Canadian Alphonso Davies, who joined Bayern Munich and now looks to be one of the top young prospects at Left-Back.
Creating a successful league goes beyond putting on games. Improving the marketing and development of the league is first and foremost, new teams, improved stadiums, valuable community connections, improving social media interaction with fans, and the list goes on. But did anyone expect two find both leagues grounded?
As it stands, the CEBL has been postponed with the league due to start in June, instead of the May date that was set initially. Morreale has an uphill battle ahead of him, but he’s a man that knows what it takes to fight for success. The two-time Grey Cup champion and MVP winner in the 1999 Final for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Championship Weekend in Edmonton Postponed
Each team plays a total of 20 games during the regular season. The top four of the standings advance to the final stage, called Championship Weekend. Last year, Saskatoon, in the province of Saskatchewan held it.
This year, Edmonton, Alberta, is the expected host of the finals. The games were expected to be played between August 13 and 16. Since the start of the season has been postponed, we wait for a confirmation of the new dates of the Championship Weekend.
CEBL Already Plans 2021 Season
In a statement with CBC Sports, Morreale announced that the 2021 CEBL will go ahead, regardless of the outcome of the 2020 season, which is great news for Canadain basketball fans and Canadian sports fans in general.
There will be a CEBL in 2021 whether we play this year or not. That is going to happen. - Mike Morreale
It’s important to maintain a positive attitude towards the situation, as all news is bad news of late. CEBL strives to be more than just a stepping-stone for top-tier Canadian talent. They want to avoid being a breeding ground for talent, for the players to leave to the NBA or across the Atlantic to Europe.
Canada has a great grassroots program in place for sports development and Morreale has a very clear vision of where he wants to take things. But, first, we must sit waiting and hoping the 2020 league gets back underway.