Runners report large shortfall due to loss of revenue during pandemic

The Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club released its 2021-22 annual report on Tuesday and lays a $4.5 million loss due to the past two years of pandemic disruptions.

The team was in the nearly $8.4 million hole at the start of the year due to the lost season and the shortened 2021 season, but clawed back $3.8 million, leaving $4.5 million additional dollars to break even. The organization will rely on hosting the Gray Cup this year to help boost revenue in 2022.

“Obviously when we lost the 2020 season and couldn’t host the Gray Cup, we were disappointed. So that led to another two years of planning and allowed us to put together a really solid festival (this year) and when you do that it usually leads to profitability,” said President and CEO, Craig Reynolds.

The club’s biggest source of income has been gate receipts (tickets) accounting for 33% of its revenue. Reynolds highlighted the two sell-outs of the 2021 season, including hosting the Western semifinal.

“Our fans have been absolutely amazing and stuck with us through the pandemic and supported us through a shortened season and that helped us have a really good financial year last year,” Reynolds said.

“Which helped us recover from a very difficult financial year where we didn’t play football.”

Even though ticket sales are the number one source of revenue, they have dropped by around 9% this season. But Reynolds is hoping Labor Day and a late-season playoff push will see that number come down, and pointed to inflation and fuel costs as why he thinks sales are down.

The club have noted that this is a multi-year recovery plan, but expect this year to bring them back to “pre-Covid levels”. However, the club suffered losses in the years before the pandemic.

“The main reason is depreciation. What happened is that when the new stadium was built, the club did a number of things. We contributed directly to the construction, we also contributed to some of the construction costs, and those costs were quite significant and they stretch over several years,” Reynolds said.

During the pandemic, the Roughriders had to realign their business by making cuts.

“Overall, we made a number of changes, so unfortunately we had to cut wages and unfortunately cut our whole business,” Reynolds explained.

This is also a unique report for the club, as they combine two different years in what is meant by annual report.

“Really, the reason we wanted to highlight (both) was to bring back the multi-year recovery,” Reynolds added.

“We had a very significant financial loss (in 2020) and then we had a positive return (in 2021), but we didn’t want to lose sight of the fact that we are in a multi-year recovery.

Comments are closed.