Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–6–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Upcoming Grey Cup, Heritage Classic will make Bombers millions

  • Print
The Winnipeg Football Club will take in millions of dollars after hosting the Grey Cup in 2015 and the Heritage Classic during the 2015-16 NHL season.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

The Winnipeg Football Club will take in millions of dollars after hosting the Grey Cup in 2015 and the Heritage Classic during the 2015-16 NHL season. Photo Store

So what would a Grey Cup game and Heritage Classic outdoor hockey game at Investors Group Field during the winter of 2015-16 be worth in cold, hard cash to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers?

A couple million, minimum. Somewhere in the range of $5 million, probably. Something approaching $10 million -- only if all the stars align, including the Bombers actually playing in the big game.

Neither the Bombers nor the CFL were talking in detail on Monday after news leaked out CFL commissioner Mark Cohon will announce in Winnipeg Wednesday the Bombers have been awarded the rights to host the 2015 Grey Cup at Investors Group Field, which is also expected to be the site of an NHL Heritage Classic a couple of months later.

The best predictor of future performance is always past performance so there are some strong inferences that can be drawn from previous events about what hosting these major spectacles would mean to the Bombers' bottom line.

Let's begin with the last time the Bombers hosted the Grey Cup in 2006, when the club generated a $3.3-million profit from the big game, which was played Nov. 19, 2006 before 44,786 fans at a temporarily expanded Canad Inns Stadium.

That's a little bit bigger crowd than what would be expected to attend the Grey Cup at Investors Group Field, which initial reports have suggested would be expanded to about 40,000 seats in 2015 to accommodate that year's Banjo Bowl as well as the Grey Cup and Heritage Classic.

But while the crowd in 2015 might be smaller than 2006, it's also worth mentioning Grey Cups have become increasingly profitable in recent years.

While the Toronto Argonauts are privately owned by David Braley and never released the profit figures from their hosting of the 100th Grey Cup in 2012, the Toronto Star reported at the time with a home team playing in the big game, a capacity crowd and a windfall of government money pumped into the centennial game, Braley turned something in the vicinity of a $10-million profit on hosting that year's Grey Cup.

That was extraordinary, however -- and so too was the profit generated by the Saskatchewan Roughriders last year, when they hosted and won the Grey Cup.

More typically, host profits on Grey Cups over the last 10-15 years have fallen in the $3-$6-million range. The Edmonton Eskimos, for instance, reportedly turned a profit of $6 million hosting the Grey Cup in 2002 and $4 million when they hosted again in 2010.

The bigger unknown is what kind of money a Heritage Classic could turn for the Bombers. Sources have told the Free Press an announcement is expected from the NHL, either this summer or in the fall at the latest, that the Jets will be hosting a Heritage game at Investors Group Field in the winter of 2015-16.

Those sorts of outdoor mega-hockey games have been enormously profitable events. The 2014 NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on New Year's Day, for instance, turned a record profit of at least $20 million, thanks to a capacity crowd of 105,491.

The proceeds from such windfalls go primarily to the league and teams involved. In the case of the 2009 game played at Boston's Fenway Park, for instance, the NHL simply rented out Fenway for the event and then distributed the $8 million in ticket sales and $3 million in advertising revenue the game generated among the remaining parties.

That sounds like a similar model to what would be in place for a Heritage game at Investors Group Field.

"Bombers will not be partner in that. NHL is the partner. Stadium is the facility," True North spokesman Scott Brown explained Monday in response to a query.

It was unclear yesterday how much the Bombers could expect to receive as a rental fee in such an arrangement. But what is known is another recent special event -- the sold-out U2 concert at old Canad Inns Stadium in 2011 -- generated a profit of close to $500,000 for the club.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 25, 2014 D2

History

Updated on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 9:34 AM CDT: Corrects typo

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Museum will create a conversation: Stuart Murray

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Deer in Canola field near Elma, Manitoba. 060706.
  • BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  070527 The 21st Annual Teddy Bears' Picnic at Assiniboine Park. The Orlan Ukrainian Dancers perform on stage.

View More Gallery Photos

 

Poll

Which Jets prospect has the best chance of making NHL team this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google