Leadership

5 lessons from the CFL

Written by Ian Portsmouth
  • The Canadian Football League understands its biggest advantage over other major sports leagues, so it displays the Maple Leaf in its logo and holds its championship game outdoors in bone-chilling temperatures. Lesson: exploit your Canadian identity.
  • Among the unique features of CFL football are multiple offensive players in motion before the snap, a 20-second play clock and the ability to run back a missed field goal, all of which arguably make CFL games more exciting than National Football League contests. And, as a CFL advertising slogan once proclaimed, “We have biggerballs.” Lesson: differentiate your product.
  • NFL revenues have dwarfed those of the CFL since the dawn of multibillion-dollar U.S. television contracts. That’s why the CFL imposes a salary cap of $4.2 million per team — just 3.6% of the NFL’s limit. Lesson: Keep costs in line with revenue.
  • The CFL’s only attempt to expand beyond its original nine teams saw it grow into the U.S. in 1995 but retreat one season later due to intense competition from college football. The CFL has since resisted offers to launch more teams, except for reviving afranchise in Ottawa. Lesson: Don’t grow beyond your means.
  • For years, the CFL has forged alliances with its greatest enemy, such as the 1997 pact that gave the NFL certain rights to CFL players in exchange for US$3 million, and the recent allocation to Argonauts season-ticket holders of tickets for Buffalo Bills games in Toronto. Lesson: Exploit the advantages of “co-opetition.”
Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com