Eskimos post $1.1 million loss in 2019 while sending $950,000 to Montreal Alouettes

The Edmonton Eskimos recorded a $1.1 million loss in 2019, but it was largely due to helping support another CFL franchise.

While the Alouettes were being run by the CFL, the Esks forked over $950,000 last season to operate and facilitate the sale of Montreal’s franchise, which was purchased by entrepreneurs Sid Spiegel and Gary Stern in January.

Operating revenue for the Eskimos checked in at $23.5 million, although it was a decline of 6.7 percent from 2018. According to the financial report, it was mainly due to lower gate-driven ticketing and game day revenue. Gate receipts were down 15.7 percent year-over-year.

“The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium saw an average attendance of 29,217 – a 1.5 percent decline from the year prior. Early in the season, it became clear that in our slowing economy affordability was a barrier to more people attending games. We introduced a new general admission ticket at the lowest price point in nearly a decade,” president Chris Presson said in a statement.

“At the same time, we partnered with the City of Edmonton to provide youth, aged 17 and under, free admission to games through the summer. Both were successful in increasing attendance and applauded by fans. We will continue to seek solutions to make games and fandom as accessible as possible.”

Total operating expenses were $24.1 million, an increase of $488,000 from the year prior, the team stated mainly due to contract obligations. The net operating result for the year end, December 31, 2019 was a loss of $627,000 before non-operating items.

Edmonton’s investment fund generated a net investment gain of $1.7 million in 2019, much different than the net investment loss of $503,000 in 2018. Capital expenditures totalled $679,000, the team purchased new sideline LED’s for game day and sponsor advertising. Other projects were minor and focused on maintenance needs. Depreciation of capital assets were $1.1 million.

The Eskimos posted a profit of $2.8 million from the 2018 season. Edmonton hosted the Grey Cup in 2018 which generated an economic impact of over $81 million for the city and the Eskimos benefitted from having the CFL title game. In 2017, the Eskimos made $431,638 and 2016 were $1.4 million in the black.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.