Hosting Grey Cup, full season help Roughriders make a profit
Ticket sales down from 2022, club trying to increase affordability for fans
Hosting a Grey Cup and playing a full season has the Saskatchewan Roughriders seeing green.
The club released its annual financial report on Wednesday night.
The team's operating income last year was $3.9 million, almost identical to its total in 2021-22.
Hosting the 109th Grey Cup was a big financial boon, bringing in an additional $3.3 million in net income. The team's total net income for last year was $7.2 million.
The net income is close to what the team lost in 2020-21. The COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the 2020 season, resulting in $7.5 million in losses.
"Here we are two years later and I'm pleased to announce strong financial results for the club," said Kent Paul, Roughriders chief financial officer, on Wednesday.
Paul said both the total expense and total revenue were up by $6 million in 2022-23 and that was primarily due to the return to a full CFL schedule of 18 games, down from 14 in the pandemic shortened 2021 season.
One area that saw decreases was revenue from club merchandise sales, which was offset by $1 million in merchandise sales during Grey Cup.
The team also saw a dip in revenue of $2.7 million due to not receiving government COVID-19 relief and not hosting a home playoff game.
Winning on the field can boost ticket sales and improve the bottom line. The Roughriders struggled on the field, starting 3-0 at home but then losing six in a row at Mosaic Stadium. The team also missed the playoffs. Paul said hosting a home playoff game can net at least $400,000 for the team.
Overall revenues and expenses returned to what Paul termed as "normal."
Roughriders aiming to make games more affordable
Paul said ticket sales for 2023 are down from 2022, but did not provide a number.
"Every year we hope we are going to get back to our stronger ticket sales. We are not far off, it's something that we are managing, but we are also reflective of the situation Rider Nation and our fanbase is facing."
He said one factor is not hosting the Grey Cup. He said a season ticket offering access to a Grey Cup ticket leads to higher season ticket sales.
Paul said the biggest issue according to fans is affordability, so this season the team took the following steps:
- $99 family packages.
- $5 menu items.
- Lower parking fees.
- Reduced prices on 9,000 seats.
Paul said the team is also trying to "create entertainment value" by booking halftime acts and doing giveaways to fans.
"Every game, every week, every month we are monitoring where our results are at and adjusting where we need to, and this year we're trying to make it as affordable as we can, recognizing we are not immune to the inflationary factors as well."