Jeffrey Orridge

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Jeffrey Orridge
Born Jeffrey Lyndon[1] Orridge
1960 (age 56–57)
New York City, New York
Nationality American-Canadian
Occupation Commissioner of the Canadian Football League (CFL)
Known for Commissioner of the Canadian Football League
Executive Director of CBC Sports

Jeffrey L. Orridge (born c. 1960)[1] is the 13th Commissioner of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Prior to becoming Commissioner of the Canadian Football League Orridge held positions at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Right to Play International, Mattel Inc., Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Reebok and USA Basketball.[2] Between 2011-2015, Orridge served as executive director of CBC Sports.[3]

Executive Director of CBC Sports

Orridge was appointed to his position at CBC Sports on April 4, 2011, after his appointment was announced the previous March. Orridge succeeded Scott Moore.[4] He was responsible for acquisition, management, and revenue optimization of sports properties. As the chief negotiator, he is credited for bringing the broadcasting rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games back to CBC/Radio-Canada, as well as the rights to the 2015 Pan American Games. Under his watch, CBC lost the rights to FIFA World Cup soccer which it was seeking to renew, and failed to win back the CFL rights it had lost following the broadcasting of its final Grey Cup in 2007.[5]

Orridge was also principally responsible for the management of the National Hockey League's relationship with CBC, a broadcasting contract that CBC lost in November 2013 under Orridge's watch after the 2013-14 NHL season.[6] CBC's hope had been that Orridge's long-time relationship with Gary Bettman would help CBC secure a renewal of the NHL broadcast rights due to the fact that Orridge and Bettman knew each other from their basketball management days in the early 1990s. CBC had held the rights to NHL broadcasts in Canada for 62 years prior to Orridge's handling of the file.

The Globe and Mail reported: "It didn’t have to happen, staff at both the CBC and Hockey Night say, because they believe NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his marketing chief John Collins were willing to offer the CBC a compromise that would have saved a scaled-down version of Hockey Night for the network that still would have been a significant source of revenue. Those staffers also believe the CBC executives missed this chance because of their failure to recognize the changed broadcast landscape and to see the threat posed by Rogers and BCE Inc., which owns the TSN and CTV networks. The CBC negotiators insisted throughout an exclusive negotiating period with the NHL that any new deal would see the network stick to a regional and national schedule by carrying all games played by Canadian-based NHL teams on Saturdays... Sources said the NHL bosses told Orridge and McEneaney to drop the regional broadcasts of Canadian teams and cut back to two games on Saturday night, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. (Eastern time), give up the all-star game as well as the digital rights and cut back on playoff coverage. Then the CBC was offered the top ratings draw, the Toronto Maple Leafs, or the Montreal Canadiens for the early games on Saturday nights and the Stanley Cup final for at least a few years. Do that, it was said, and we’ll work out a number. Then we’ll sell the other games and other platforms to other bidders."[5] Orridge's tenure with CBC Sports ended after April 9, 2015.


On April 29, 2015, Orridge began his tenure as commissioner of the Canadian Football League, becoming the first-ever non-white chief executive of a major North American sports league.[7]

Due to philosophical differences between Orridge and the Board of Governors of the CFL, Orridge announced he will step down as commissioner effective June 30, 2017.[8]

CTE Controversy

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head.[9] In November, 2016, CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said there was no conclusive link between playing in the CFL and developing CTE.[10] Currently, there is a $200 million class action lawsuit in Canada's courts on behalf of CFL players seeking monetary compensation for CTE.[11] Orridge has received some media criticism for this stance.[12]

On March 15, 2016, the National Football League (NFL) recognized the link between playing in the NFL and developing CTE.[13] The NFL received criticism for the timing of this recognition, since it came only after a court settlement with former NFL players that protected the NFL from having to pay damages for any future cases of CTE that their players may develop.[14]

Previous roles

Orridge also previously worked as:[15]

  • 1986–1989 Corporate Associate at Rogers & Wells
  • 1989–1991 Executive Director of Home Attendant Corp. at North General Hospital
  • 1991–1994 Head of Business & Legal Affairs for USA Basketball.[1]
  • 1994–1996 Director of Global Sports Marketing for Reebok International
  • 1996–1999 Director of Sports Licensing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products
  • 1999–2000 Senior Vice President & General Manager for Momentum Worldwide
  • 2000–2001 Chief Marketing Officer for OneNetNow
  • 2001–2006 Vice President for Mattel
  • 2007–2010 Chief Operating Officer/Head of Global Business Development for Right to Play

Personal life

Orridge played basketball, before tearing his ACL. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1986 after graduating with a BA from Amherst College in 1982.[15]


  1. ^ a b c "Jeffrey Orridge Wed to Avian Trammell". The New York Times. 1991-09-01. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  2. ^ "CFL". Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "CFL names Jeffrey Orridge new commissioner". Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  4. ^ "CBC Revenue Group". 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  5. ^ a b "Hockey Night in Canada: How CBC lost it all". Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "NHL, Rogers announce landmark 12-year deal". Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  7. ^ Rush, Curtis (17 March 2015). "CFL names Jeffrey Orridge as new commissioner". Toronto Star. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Canadian Football League issues statement regarding Jeffrey L. Orridge". 12 April 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  9. ^ "What is CTE? » CTE Center - Boston University". Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  10. ^ Graham, Bryan Armen (25 November 2016). "CFL commissioner refuses to admit link between football and brain disease CTE". Retrieved 23 May 2017 – via The Guardian. 
  11. ^ "Two former Rough Riders, ex-Alouette join concussion lawsuit against CFL". 30 January 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  12. ^ "CFL sends wrong message on head injuries: Arthur - Toronto Star". Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  13. ^ "Top NFL official acknowledges football-CTE link". Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  14. ^ "The NFL would rather look stupid than evil". Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  15. ^ a b
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