Manitoba

CFL's Blue and Gold back in the red

Despite a winning record in 2007, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have a red balance sheet.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have a red balance sheet to show for a winning 2007 season.

The club revealed its 2007 financial picture Thursday and blamed much of its $264,000 net loss on the team's aging stadium.

"Competitive success, success on the field in the CFL, doesn't always translate into success financially," Bombers board chairman Ken Hildahl told a news conference.

Hildahl agreed the team had a great year on the field, with five straight sold-out games at home, star slotback Milt Stegall breaking the all-time touchdown record, and a spot in the Grey Cup final.

But, at the bank, it's a different story.

"You know we had a tremendous year. The fan excitement was great; we had five sell-outs; all of the stars aligned, if you will. And, at the end of the day, it was essentially, on operations, a break-even point, but that's life in the CFL," Hildahl said.

Increased operating costs contributed to the net loss, he said.

"What the old [CanadInns] stadium has done is really limited our ability to expand our revenue streams," he said, noting the team spent $262,000 on planning for a new stadium.

Bombers president and CEO Lyle Bauer called it money well spent.

"A new facility with additional revenue streams and opportunities — it's absolutely imperative and critical to the future of this organization," Bauer told reporters.

Asper has pledged $40M for new stadium

The club has entered an agreement with Winnipeg businessman David Asper, who has promised to build a new stadium in exchange for ownership of the team.

Asper has pledged to contribute $65 million, including $40 million toward a $120-million stadium and $25 million for a retail development near the facility. He wants the provincial and federal governments to fund the balance, but politicians have not yet made a commitment to provide any cash.

The present stadium was built in the 1950s.

But there are some positives on the balance sheet. The Bombers have a $4.3 million surplus, game revenue climbed to $5.3 million from $4.5 million last year, and corporate revenue hit the $7.7 million mark — up from $7.1 million in 2006.

Revenue from the league dropped to $1.9 million from $2.3 million in 2006, and football operations cost $8.1 million, up from $7.9 million.

Bauer said the club lost close to $300,000 in Grey Cup costs this year.

In 2006, largely due to hosting the Grey Cup, the club made $2.9 million.

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