Most fans remember June Jones from his time leading the undefeated Houston Roughnecks during the XFL’s shortened 2020 season. What some may not know is that Jones also has a storied history with the Canadian Football League. With the XFL under a new ownership group there are a lot of unknowns, but Coach Jones has stated numerous times that he would be open to returning to the league.
Just earlier this week the CFL officially announced that they will explore opportunities for alignment with XFL ownership. When CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie was asked about the discussions he said that basically the two companies were announcing that they’re talking about talking. It’s hard to say where the discussions will lead, but we’re hearing that these talks may be completed within a couple months.
TSN Ottawa 1200am recently hosted former CFL and XFL head coach June Jones to get his thoughts on the situation between the two leagues.
I think it benefits the CFL and I think it benefits the American viewers down here. I think it’s TV related, I believe that’s why they’re considering it now,”
Of course, the CFL needs to generate some revenues because they were way more dependent on the tickets ticket sales and concessions and parking than any other league was. So I’m kind of thinking it has a real possibility of happening.”
That type of full-scale amalgamation between the two leagues would come with massive changes to the unique rules of the Canadian game. The larger Canadian field doesn’t fit in most American stadiums and fans south of the border are much more comfortable with the four down version.
Those are the things that have to be overcome, but since they’re obviously having serious negotiations, there’s got to be a push or the ability to address some of those things,” Jones said.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens on that. Will it be three down football or four down football? I think probably it’s going to be four down football with maybe the Canadian [motion] rules coming into play, which will be a totally offensive league.”
That would still be a much different game than Americans are used to, but the rise of legal sports gambling — including it’s imminent legalization in Canada — alleviates much of those concerns.
Being able to bet on the game while you are at the game, betting on plays, spending on runs and passes, I mean, the game will be learned because of the gambling app,” Jones explained. “I know the NFL’s real close to looking at that. The CFL I think realizes it’s a revenue generator.”
Ultimately though, TV is still king and the real money will come from the type of TV deal that a star of The Rock’s caliber can attract. While attendance wasn’t stellar in most XFL cities in 2020, the TV numbers remained promising.
We could see the TV ratings on Fox and ESPN and ABC were over and above the NBA and Major League Baseball for that slot. The advertisers know that, everybody knows that and the key is going to be a successful TV contract,” Jones said.
I know that The Rock is the number one NBC player right now. I’m sure they’re in negotiations already or already have it somewhat done with probably NBC and the NFL.”
TV wasn’t enough for the second-coming of the XFL to survive the rising pandemic however and Dwayne Johnson, ex-wife turned business partner Dany Garcia, and financial backer RedBird Capital purchased the bankrupt league for $15 million at auction.
The CFL appears to want to have a role to play in that vision and June Jones believes that if any one can bring the two entities together, it’s The Rock.
I think The Rock is a real innovator. He wants it to be different. He wants it to have a little different look to it just like Vince McMahon did,” Jones said.
I think all the players are involved that I think it can be pulled off.”
You can listen to the full interview with June Jones below, it’s worth a listen!