The conditions for success for the Winnipeg Jets and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers – on the ice and field and off – are better than they’ve been for 20 years, according to a new book from the Conference Board of Canada.
But the Manitoba capital is still the smallest sports market in Canada, meaning margins are much smaller than for other teams – hello, Toronto Maple Leafs – and the decisions made by management play a much bigger role in making or breaking a team.
The book, called "Power Play: The Business Economics of Pro Sports," notes Winnipeg's disposable income per capita is eighth in Canada among major pro sports markets, higher than Montreal. And 2012, Winnipeg was home to 26 of Canada's 800 largest corporations, more than Edmonton, Ottawa or Quebec City.
"Since the 1990s, Winnipeg has grown in population and wealth. The Canadian dollar is much stronger today, the operating environment in the two leagues have improved substantially and both the Blue Bombers and the Jets have impressive new playing facilities," said Glen Hodgson, senior vice-president and chief economist for the Conference Board. "However, Winnipeg remains a comparatively small pro sports market and the margin for success is going to be slimmer than in larger cities. That makes player evaluation and business management even more crucial to the franchises than they would be elsewhere."