Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bombers come up short off the field as well in 2012

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THE Winnipeg Blue Bombers will announce a loss of just under $800,000 for their 2012 fiscal year.

The club will release its annual report today and a board source says it will include a loss in the neighbourhood of $780,000.

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Construction delays at the club's new stadium, Investors Group Field, forced the Bombers to play an unexpected extra season in 2012 at Canad Inns Stadium. That forced the organization to spend money on operations at two facilities while only taking in revenue from one -- and the predictable result was the bottom line paid the price.

The product on the field in 2012 was also inferior. The club went 6-12 during the regular season and missed the playoffs for the third time in four years. That also hurt the bottom line.

The Bombers sold out Canad Inns Stadium four times in 2012 and in the end averaged 27,981 fans over nine regular-season home games, down an average of 1,576 per game from 2011.

Still, it was the team's problems off the field -- not on it -- that hurt the Bombers most in 2012.

While the club refused Monday to make anyone available to discuss the financial loss in 2012 -- a news conference is scheduled for this afternoon, followed by the club's annual Fan Forum this evening -- chief operating officer Jim Bell told the Free Press late last year that football actually turned a profit in 2012.

"I'm very confident in telling you we will be in the black in normal operations," Bell told the Free Press in late November.

The problem, alas, was everything else, Bell said at the time. "We have expenses related to stadium development that fall outside normal operations and I'm not sure where those will end up," Bell continued.

"But put it this way: If we do end up below the line, it's not going to be in the red to the extent some people might think it would be, given the year we had relative to the year before...

"It's going to bring down our bottom line. It's just still a question of whether it puts us in the red or not."

The Bombers recorded a record $3-million profit on normal operations in a 2011 season that saw the team make it all the way to the Grey Cup game before falling to the B.C. Lions.

While a loss of about $800,000 in 2012 is significant -- and significantly larger than the negligible loss Bell seemed to be predicting to the Free Press late last year -- it is almost imperceptible in the bigger picture of a team moving this season into a new stadium worth just less than $200 million.

The revenue-generating capabilities of the new stadium were again on display Monday as the club announced a Paul McCartney concert for Investors Group Field for Aug. 12, the second major concert for the new stadium this summer. The first concert, Taylor Swift appearing June 22, sold out in hours when tickets went on sale late last year.

It's still unclear how much revenue concerts at the new stadium will generate for the Bombers' coffers, but the team made between $400,000 and $500,000 from its involvement in the U2 concert at Canad Inns Stadium in 2011.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

big week for big blue D4

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 23, 2013 D1

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