The Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club knew there would be financial hurdles as the team went over its 2019 financial statement during its annual general meeting on Wednesday.
While the Riders had a net loss last year of $210,064, that’s nowhere near what the club is projecting for 2020.
“This is the biggest financial crisis that the Saskatchewan Roughriders have faced in 110 years,” said Craig Reynolds, Roughriders president and CEO.
“I say that with a deep appreciation of our history. I grew up during the telethon years and was a big fan of the Saskatchewan Roughriders when we had lots of financial challenges. But never in our history have we had a complete loss – essentially a complete loss – of revenue.”
After going 13-5 in the regular season, the Roughriders finished the 2019 season in first place in the West Division for just the second time since 1976.
The club hosted the West Final, which generated around half a million dollars in revenue.
Overall, the team earned $17.1 million through gate receipts, which made up 43 per cent of its annual income.
The club also saw an increase in sponsorship’s in 2019, totaling $7.3 million, compared to $6.8 million the year prior.
Taking away the investment of $222,017 towards hosting the 2020 Grey Cup, and another $682,113 towards supporting the Montreal Alouettes organization, the Roughriders would have come away with a profit of $670,160 instead of the recognized loss of more than $200,000.
“It was a positive year last year,” said Reynolds. “It feels like forever ago, to be honest with you, but when you look back, both on the field and off the field, it really was a positive year.”
Saying that, when Reynolds reviewed the 2019 financial statement, it’s hard not to think ahead to what 2020 will look like with this year’s season in jeopardy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“It’s very challenging to be in the mass gathering events business right now and that’s really what the Roughriders are, along with lots of others across the country,” Reynolds said.
One year from now, the 2020 financial statement will be a different story because no games means no income.
The team will almost certainly use up its entire $7.6 million stabilization fund, leaving the club needing help to see a return to the field in 2021.
“We’d expect to see revenues decrease by 30 million and expenses decrease by 20 million, so the net impact would be a 10 million dollar loss,” said Kent Paul, Roughriders chief financial officer.
The Riders have already reached out to a number of sources for support for when the reserve runs dry, whether it be the league, the province, or the city.
Reynolds said the club is trying to be as transparent as possible so that all involved know the trouble the team is facing.
“We’re going to need additional sources of funding and there are sources available,” said Reynolds.
“We’re certainly looking at all options.”
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