Whose team is it anyway?

Argos Owners

Well, for the time being the Toronto Argonauts belong to David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski, but that could change any day.

It’s no secret that the two men who have owned the boatmen since 2003 are looking to sell, and that David Braley is looking to buy. The problem in many people’s eyes is that Mr. Braley is also the owner of the B.C. Lions. The league has no rule against owning multiple teams, nor does it outlaw one team loaning money to another.

Braley helped Cynamon and Sokolowski pay half of their purchase price, half of their losses. In return, he was repaid with profits from a successful 2007 Grey Cup hosted in Toronto.

TSN’s Dave Naylor reports that the Argos are projected to lose close to $6 million this upcoming season. The reason for this comes from the mediocre product on the field. The team was a miserable 3-15 last season, and has no head coach in place after Bart Andrus was fired in December.

The team has a glorious opportunity to win back disgruntled fans this summer. The Blue Jays were marred by a brutal winter in terms of public relations. They dealt their best player (I know it was the sensible business/baseball decision to make, but the fact is it won’t get the average fan to the ballpark) and raised some season ticket prices by over 50%.

The CFL is the easiest league in which to rebound after a terrible season, what with 75% of its teams qualifying for the playoffs. My take on this is that although the $6 million mark is rather staggering — and I’m by no means a business major — it might be best to hold on for one more season. I don’t think that if Cynamon and Sokolowski wait for one more year Braley would lose interest, unless his goal is to buy low.

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In other CFL news, commissioner Mark Cohon announced that he will once again be taking suggestions from fans on rule changes. Whereas last year he kept the floor open to all changes (thank God the single remained untouched!!), his only question to fans this winter is whether the overtime format needs to be changed.

The current format sees teams alternate possessions from the opponents’ 35-yard line. The team that scores the most points in a round wins. If after two rounds there is still no winner, the game ends in a tie.

To change this would be ridiculous. NFL fans moan and groan about how their sudden-death format is often decided by the filp of a coin. The current “shootout” overtime the CFL has is one of the reasons why three-down football is the most exciting around. I love the fairness, and it often turns into a great chess match between the coaches. If you go first, do you put the points on the board and hope your defence can hold, or do you go for the gusto?

The CFL would be nuts to change this system. The 2005 Grey Cup between Edmonton and Montreal went to double overtime, and it’s one of the most exciting games I’ve ever seen. Please Commissioner Cohon, don’t mess with a good thing.

– Marc Tessier

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