Redblacks’ president Mark Goudie regarding COVID-19 pandemic: ‘We’re completely in uncharted territory’

Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group president and chief operating officer Mark Goudie is working to navigate his teams in the nation’s capital through the coronavirus pandemic.

Goudie serves as the Ottawa Redblacks president.

“It really depends on what happens with social distancing and people taking it seriously. You’re hearing some good stories, but you’re hearing some scary ones too, about some people who don’t seem to be understanding it,” Goudie told Postmedia reporter Tim Baines.

“We’re completely in uncharted territory in terms of where this might go and the implications of it on sports teams and events down the road. The assumption we have made is we will start the Redblacks season on schedule.”

CFL training camps are scheduled to open May 17 with regular season kick-off June 11. Friday, June 12, the Redblacks are currently set to host the Toronto Argonauts for their home opener in Week 1. Goudie believes it’s going to be a balancing act over the next while.

“We need to be there to help with the healing process when that comes back around when people want to get back outside and start enjoying live sporting events again,” Goudie said.

“We’ve got to look after OSEG and make sure there’s a strong entity there at the other end of whatever this looks like. I also feel the weight of people’s personal situations — mortgages and bill payments — as do our owners.”

Led by Goudie OSEG will pay part-time staff who take care of the facilities. He made the decision and let ownership know about his plans to compensate the workers. Goudie oversees all facets of OSEG’s business operations including sports franchises, concerts, major events, TD Place and the Lansdowne Live retail district.

“Doing things quick is important right now. People are worried about their situations. But I know my parameters. I know what (the ownership group’s) values are. I’m pretty comfortable making decisions that reflect what they would want me to do,” Goudie said.

“We have hourly employees here on a daily basis. Even on days we don’t have events, we have part-time casual labour employees at TD Place. This just feels like the right decision right now.”

In 2013 Goudie was hired by OSEG as chief financial officer, took on the responsibility of chief operating officer and in April 2018 he was appointed president and CEO.

“Over our first six years, I think we’ve done enough right things that people think that OSEG cares about its employees, its fans and its guests,” Goudie said.

“Coming out of this unfortunate world epidemic, I want people to know that we do care.”

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