CFL Team Ownership in Spotlight as Alouettes Saga Continues

When it comes to discussing the most significant business issues to emerge in the Canadian Football League (CFL) in recent months, it is hard to ignore the continued speculation around the future of the Montreal Alouettes. The team has been without an owner since the end of May when Robert Wetenhall transferred ownership to the CFL and in recent weeks there has been a range of discussion around what could be next for the side.

Bringing Hollywood style to the CFL

One of the more intriguing prospects put forward regarding the Alouettes’ ownership situation is the idea of brothers Peter and Jeffrey Lenkov taking over the reins. While it appears that negotiations have broken down with the pair, for the time being, Peter – who is a successful producer and writer behind hits like 24 and the Hawaii Five-O reboot – did offer a glimpse into what their time as owners could look like.

He talked to the Montreal Gazette particularly about how the team would be a “passion project” for him and his brother, who is a lawyer, while one big aim would be to turn home matches into an “event” which offered a lot more to fans than just the game itself.

It is certainly a fascinating proposition and one which puts a spotlight on ownership in the CFL and the many different areas that people have emerged from to get involved in this fantastic sport.

Different backgrounds

It is undoubtedly a dream of any sports fan to be able to own the club or team that they love, but quite often it is only a realistic dream for the rich and famous. However, while a Mega Millions jackpot winner could afford to buy a franchise on their own, a few CFL sides do operate under a model which at least gives people an opportunity to own a small part of their beloved team. Sides like the Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers are all publicly owned, with shareholders having a say about how they are run.

Elsewhere, teams are privately owned but it is fascinating to note how people from a host of different industries have found their way into the CFL. For example, Bob Young may have made his name as the founder of software firm Red Hat, but he purchased the Hamilton Tiger-Cats back in 2003. Furthermore, N Murray Edwards is chairman of the organization which runs the Calgary Stampeders, but he made his wealth in the Canadian oil and mining industry. Perhaps most intriguingly, Ottawa Redblacks are owned by the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group which is chaired by Jeff Hunt. How did he make his fortune? With a carpet cleaning business.

Intriguing times ahead

The CFL consists of just nine teams but it is interesting to note how people from across the business world have been attracted to getting involved in the sport. It will be intriguing to see how matters play out with the Alouettes and whether Hollywood glamour is ultimately going to be injected into our much-loved game.


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