Mark Cohon (L) with Pinball Clemons and Pierre Vercheval in Parliament in 2010.
CFL commissioner Mark Cohon's contract is set to expire in March, but both Vancouver radio station News 1130 and TSN are reporting that he's agreed to terms on a new deal. If that's accurate, it's a great move for the CFL (as I argued last year). The league has been on a clear upward trend since Cohon took over in 2007, is on solid footing in most markets, continues to draw excellent television audiences and appears to have financial stability across the board. Cohon has shown talent for solving problems as they come up, a vital skill in this league, and he's also demonstrated a commitment to hearing the fans' voices, which will be crucial to the CFL's continued success. A new deal for Cohon would increase the league's stability, show that it's moved above some of the petty squabbles of the last decade and set it on track for what's looking like a positive future.
It's worth noting just how far the CFL has come in five years. When Cohon took over in 2007, the Ottawa Renegades had been suspended just the previous year, and there were significant financial issues facing several other markets (most notably Toronto, where the David Cynamon/Howard Sokolowski partnership was primarily staying afloat thanks to secret funding from B.C. Lions owner David Braley). The league wasn't drawing massive TV revenues, as its games were split amongst CBC, TSN and RDS, and it was only two years removed from the gong show of announcerless games on CBC (thanks to a union strike). Merchandising revenues weren't anywhere near as high as they are now, the prospect of a Toronto NFL franchise loomed on the horizon, and expansion was right out of the question: the bigger debate was if other teams were going to follow Ottawa into the ether.
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