What percentage of league-wide revenues could CFL players get in 2014 under the proposed CBA?

For most of the months of labour-negotiation battles, it looked like the primary divide between the CFL and the CFLPA would be on the fundamental and philosophical issue of revenue-sharing. While regaining revenue sharing (which was in CBAs prior to the 2010 one) was a clear focus for the union here, the CFL insisted that wasn't going to happen, and the players finally cracked on May 29. The eventual tentative deal the sides agreed to Saturday (which still faces a ratification battle) involves a flat cap of $5 million in 2014 with $50,000 increases in each subsequent year, and it's not tied to league revenues (other than a revenue-protection clause that allows this CBA to be renegotiated early if league-wide pre-Grey Cup revenues rise by $27 million in the next three years). However, the numbers here are still a part of league revenues, even if they're not calculated based on those. What were percentage of revenues were players making under the old deal, and what percentage would they receive if they ratify the new deal? Analysis of the old deal is here; read on for a breakdown of likely percentages under the new deal.

The CFLPA didn't wind up getting the revenue sharing they wanted, but they will be getting substantially more money if they do ratify the proposed CBA. That tentative deal would increase the cap ceiling to $5 million in 2014, a potential boost of $600,000 per team. How does that stack up in terms of increased league-wide revenues, though? Hamilton should do substantially better thanks to their new stadium (and not playing on the road), and Ottawa wasn't playing last year, so they'll definitely add some money to the revenue pot. We can't easily predict just how well either will do, though. What we do know is that there's a new TV deal in place, and that it's been estimated to provide an increase of $2.7 million per team. (That number is debated, and there have been reports of higher and lower per-team numbers, but $2.7 million has been the most widely reported and seems to be the most accurate.) If we go through the 2013 estimated revenues, add $2.7 million to each team's revenues, put Ottawa in line with estimates for B.C. and Calgary (its fellow middle teams) and boost the salary cap to $5 million per team, here's how that looks as a percentage for each team:

So, while the league-wide percentage of revenues paid to players would climb slightly under this new tentative deal, it would do so by 1 per cent or less. (Meanwhile, league revenues themselves would increase by 21.5 per cent under these assumptions.) Players will get more money in total, both per team and overall (keep in mind that there's a new team in the league providing more jobs), but only Saskatchewan and Winnipeg would give a higher percentage of revenues to their players; every other team would be lowering the percentage it gave players in 2013. Keep in mind as well that there's a new team coming in in 2014, and thus at least 48 new players (42 active, six practice squad under the new deal, plus injured reserves) this total compensation will be shared amongst. While the percentage to players overall will rise by 1 per cent or less, each individual player will see little to no benefit on a percentage basis.

It's also interesting to see how far this is from what the players asked for; the 35 per cent they wanted in capped compensation back when revenue-sharing was still on the table would have been $85 million if league revenues were $243 million, almost double the $45 million in capped compensation players will actually receive, and $9.45 million per team. That's much higher than the $6.24 million the players asked for in a flat cap for 2014, but that was based off league revenues before the TV increase. (That was still a really low ask, though; $6.24 million across nine teams is $56.16 million, which is 35 per cent of $160.46 million; almost everyone agrees CFL revenues topped that in 2013.)

There are plenty of assumptions in this chart, of course. All revenues except Saskatchewan, Winnipeg and Edmonton in 2013 are estimates using publicly-available information, not hard numbers. Moreover, there will likely be revenue changes for all teams in 2013 beyond the TV deal (some positive, some negative); we just don't have a good way to estimate those. Similarly, we don't know if the Grey Cup will make more or less in 2014, or if the league office will increase the amount they're taking. There are also uncapped compensation elements to consider, as well as stadium costs and so on for teams. Still, this gives us a rough idea of how the numbers will shake out. (For comparison, NHL players get 50 per cent of hockey-related revenues, NBA players get 49 to 51 per cent of basketball-related revenues, and NFL players get 47 per cent of total revenues.) The tentative new deal looks anything but arduous for the vast majority of the CFL's teams on a percentage basis, and while players may have made notable flat gains, they won't make much more of the league's revenues under this proposed new CBA.

See our piece on percentages under the old CBA here.

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