The Roughriders business is the envy of the CFL
Last year was a good year for the Saskatchewan Roughriders off the field.
While the team struggled to a 5-13 record on the field, the business side of the team recorded its second highest profit ever at $3.8 million. Total revenue also grew, topping out at over $38 million.
"Very positive, quite remarkable when you think about it," said president and CEO Jim Hopson. "Given that we were five and 13 and everything else."
Roughly one third of that revenue came from tickets. For the second straight year the team set a record for ticket revenue at $11.8 million.
Despite last year's poor season, ticket sales continue to be brisk this year, with roughly 85 per cent of tickets already sold, and season ticket sales are also on the rise.
"All the changes, coming with our players, our coaches, this speaks to our Rider nation," said chairman Roger Brandvold. "People are excited about what's going on."
Brandvold couldn't peg down an exact number of season tickets, but he did say that over 25-thousand season tickets have been sold.
Once again the team led the league in merchandise sales, topping $7 million. This also accounted for 70 per cent of all league merchandise sales.
"When you think about our challenges at the CFL table, one of them is trying to reproduce the Rider nation," said Brandvold of the stat. "We're getting there, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are having a lot more success selling merchandise, you're seeing more in Calgary."
The CFL is trying to build up those numbers across the league by having more communication between teams on their different strategies.
"Montreal is a good example, Montreal has done many of the same things we've done over the years," said Hopson. "They've reached out to the community, been very involved in the province."
He does admit that winning is helping the Alouettes too.
Not surprisingly, the question period at the end of Saturday's annual general meeting was dominated with the thought of a new stadium. However, neither Hopson nor Brandvold had anything new to say. Every answer had pretty much the same theme: that the team, the province and the city are talking about different options.
The shareholders also selected a new Board of Governors at the meeting.
Returning to the board this year will be Directors Doug Emsley, Paul Hill, Robert Leurer, Twyla Meredith, Wayne Morsky, Dennis Mulvihill, Laurie Powers and Jeff Stusek. Also voted in three returning board members Roger Brandvold (Chair), Rory Picklyk (Vice-Chair) and Joel Teal (Director).
Edited by CJME's Lisa Schick.