Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New digs pay big for Big Blue

Revenue up almost 50% in 2013 at IGF

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers saw their operating revenue skyrocket almost 50 per cent in 2013 as the club's move to Investors Group Field generated exactly the kind of new and enhanced revenue streams the club was hoping it would.

The Bombers' annual financial report -- released Monday morning in advance of Monday night's annual Fan Forum -- shows total operating revenue in 2013 was $24,185,730, a dramatic rise from $16,727,212 one year earlier in Canad Inns Stadium.

Quick cash

Game revenue 2013: $10,277,118

Game revenue 2012: $7,783,372

'Other' revenue 2013: $13,908,612

'Other' revenue 2012: $8,945,400

Other highlights from the Bombers financial report:

The club's operating expenses also jumped significantly in 2013 to $21,273,798 from $16,001,882 in 2012.

The report shows the Bombers turned a profit on operations in 2013 of $2,911,932, vs. $726,930 in 2012. When you subtract one-time costs in 2013 (opening new concession stands at Investors Group Field cost $594,224, for example), the Bombers net profit in 2013 was $2,074,222, vs. a net loss of $758,307 in 2012.

Add that to previous cash reserves and the Bombers -- a team once drowning in a sea of debt -- now have a reserve fund of $7.9 million.

 

"We're pleased with the financial results in 2013 and believe we can continue to improve on them," Bombers CEO Wade Miller said in an interview Monday.

Miller noted the club had some significant one-time costs in 2013. For instance, they have now booked all the severance they had to pay to former GM Joe Mack and former head coaches Paul LaPolice and Tim Burke. And the club also had significantly higher expenses in providing transit services to fans in 2013 than they expect to pay moving forward under a proposed new deal.

Miller said the club also spent 13 per cent more in 2013 on football operations, most of that after he and GM Kyle Walters took over in August and began beefing up the club's coaching and scouting staffs.

Miller was asked how important an improvement to the club's performance on the field this season -- after last year's disastrous 3-15 record -- is to the club's financial bottom line moving forward.

"It's very important. We need to come out and win and start to turn that around," he said. "I think we've made really positive steps towards that. Our spending on football operations went up... So we're spending more money than we ever have on football and focusing on ensuring our football operation is strong and sustainable for the future. Our focus is to win championships and sell tickets."

On the plus-side moving forward, Miller said the club will begin this year receiving about $2 million more per year in TV revenue from the CFL under a new deal with TSN that kicks in for the 2014 season.

Miller also said the club is on track to begin paying down its stadium debt as planned, with a first scheduled payment of $4 million due at the end of 2014.

"I absolutely believe we can meet our financial obligations going forward as long as we're able to continue in what we're doing," said Miller.

"Right now, it's looking very positive."

YARDSTICKS: The Bombers announced Monday they have cut non-import safety Cauchy Muamba. Muamba was Mack's big free-agent signing last season but proved to be a bust and lost his job near the end of the season... The Bombers also announced they cut import linebacker Terrell Parker and import defensive lineman Mike McAdoo.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 13, 2014 D1

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