CFL Appoints New Commissioner

The CFL announced in a press conference today that Mark Cohon has been appointed the twelfth commissioner of the league. A search for a new commissioner began last year when it was announced Tom Wright’s contract would not be renewed past December 31, 2006.

Background information on Mr. Cohon is limited, but it appears he brings support for Canadian football, if not a passion, a desire to build league support among young people and the knowledge to do so.

Cohon appears to be a good selection for the position, considering getting quality sports leaders to commit to the CFL is becoming more difficult. He also appears to be in a better position that his predecessors with a five-year contract and no long list of issues which are overdue to be addressed. In fact, Mr. Cohon could focus much of his initialization period on getting familiar with the league and starting the branding and growth process.

Compared to previous commissioners, this is what Marc Cohen does not have to worry about on his first day on the job (April 17):

  • No franchises in need of an owner.
  • No television deal to be negotiated, with owner demands for large increases in fees (new five-year deal starting in 2008 already signed).
  • No lack of salary cap (new SMS system implemented for 2007).
  • No bare cupboard for league sponsors.
  • No expansion to Halifax with the Commonwealth Games bid there withdrawn.

Some issues besides growing revenue by expanding the fan base that will be on the commissioners plate during his term are:

  • Continued partnership with the NFL and develop one with the AFL.
  • Drug testing policy negotiations with CFLPA.
  • The quality of the game and rule changes.
  • Expansion to Ottawa (though the current expansion committee may handle this exclusively).

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