World News – CA – Naylor: David Braley symbolizes the last 30 years of the CFL – TSNCalifornia


Braley symbolized the last 30 years of the CFL

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By Dave Naylor

David Braley
, CFLca

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Braley, businessman and former Ontario-based senator, who died Monday at the age of 79, has repeatedly owned three teams in a nine-team league, including the Toronto Argonauts he owned a secret property position at the same time he owned the BC Lions

He served as chairman of the CFL board and assumed the role of commissioner in 2003 after leading the charge to oust Michael Lysko in 2002

And until recently, when poor health interfered with his ability to participate in CFL affairs, he was such a powerful presence among league governors, so much so that every commissioner had to be aware of the position. from Braley on the key issues and be prepared to deal with being on the opposite side

It became a common refrain among league members that there would be no Canadian Football League without Braley and yet he was both loved and hated by those in it. viewed him as the league’s greatest benefactor, while others viewed him as a ruthless profiteer

Braley grew up in Hamilton, Ont, rooting for the Tiger-Cats He had played football in high school and McMaster University, and was a Tiger-Cat membership holder before, during, and after his ownership of the team, which went from 1989 until he sold the team in 1992 due to his opposition to the CFL plan to expand into the US

He was officially reinstated in the CFL as the savior of the Lions at the end of 1996, one of three insolvent CFL franchises at the end of this season Braley claimed a federal minister had warned him that the CBC would bail as a TV partner if the league couldn’t field a franchise in Vancouver next season, so he’s stepped up his efforts

When the Toronto Argonauts went bankrupt in 2003 under the ownership of Sherwood Schwartz, Braley was at the forefront of finding new owners, trying to broker a deal with Toronto businessmen David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski

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The two hesitated over the losses they would inherit with the Argonauts Braley therefore offered to be their partner, an arrangement that was only known to the then commissioner, Tom Wright, and selected some ‘others before it was revealed in a 2009 Globe and Mail article

The league then passed regulations requiring internal disclosure of all financial arrangements between teams Braley eventually took over full ownership of the Argos in 2010, then sold the team to Bell and Larry Tanenbaum in 2016

In his darkest hours, the CFL could always count on Braley, at least it seemed like he was there when the Lions and Argos needed a new owner, but also at various times over the past three decades. , when the teams ran out of money

He’s believed to have loaned money to every CFL team at least once, with the exception of the Edmonton Eskimos.This includes the Tiger-Cats for years after selling them to a nonprofit group, as he continued to quietly write checks to help the team with the payroll Braley’s name may not have been on the franchise, but he remained its primary funder

This kind of financial influence in such a small league has given him enormous power, and Braley has never shied away from trying to exert his influence over the leadership of the league.

He also appeared to be rewarded with a disproportionate number of opportunities to host the Gray Cup, which in most cases is a surefire source of money. The Braley-owned Lions or Argos hosted the game five times over a 10-year period from 2005 to 2014

Braley had created his wealth out of thin air, taking a loan to buy an industrial distribution company from a former neighbor, and then focusing on becoming a global auto parts manufacturing giant.

He was well known for his frugality as well as his wealth, a pattern demonstrated when he bought the Tiger-Cats from a sick Harold Ballard for $ 500,000, funded by the proceeds of the five-year sponsorship deal from the ‘team with Player’s Tobacco

This frugality was legendary in the CFL Despite his wealth, Braley was known to be reluctant to spend on what he saw as unnecessary frills for his teams and the league

His take on CFL affairs was rooted in traditional approaches to marketing and ticket sales, and he privately denounced the league putting every game on TV, favoring the cuts because he believed that would mean better deals at the turnstiles

He had been talking about selling the Lions for at least a decade, engaging with different groups of potential owners, but still deciding when or the group itself and what he was willing to pay for Team n was not correct

It didn’t seem to be doing the franchise a favor as he continued to hang on as his own health and that of his franchise dwindled

While the belief in Vancouver is that any Lions business turnaround must begin with a new owner, Braley’s ownership has been seen as a safety net for the franchise during the pandemic, given his desire to financially stabilize the franchise

He was thought to be among the owners who were ready to play a shortened 2020 season, even without government backing

Braley symbolized the last 30 years of the CFL in many ways: rooted in tradition, dependent on philanthropy, and run by a powerful few

British Columbia Lions, David Braley, Canadian Football League, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Toronto Argonauts, Canadian Football

World News – CA – Naylor: David Braley symbolized the last 30 years of CFL – TSNCalifornia


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