Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group terminates 40 percent of business operations staff

Photo courtesy: TD Place

The President and Chief Executive Officer of Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) Mark Goudie has delivered unfortunate news to his staff.

Postmedia’s Tim Baines reports that 40 percent of the business operations side was let go after expected revenues were reduced by more than 50 percent from over $50 million to $25 million due to COVID-19. Baines obtained the memo sent by Goudie to OSEG and TD Place employees on Wednesday outlining why the cuts were made.

“This is a day that I hoped we would never see. We have been desperately trying to navigate from the day that we closed TD Place in March, through our many COVID-19 related challenges, to get to a happier time when we are back to making memories. Unfortunately, that day had not yet arrived and we need to reduce our staffing levels.”

“Our assumption at that time was that we would not see another ticketed event at TD Place in 2020. We forecasted that in early 2021, we would start getting back to some sort of normal with hockey games and concerts at the arena. In addition, it was assumed that we would be making plans to have our Redblacks and 67’s joined by our three new sports tenants in the spring, summer and fall of 2021. With that, and aided by our salary reductions, the federal government wage subsidy program and increased financial contributions by our OSEG owners, we would be able to weather the pandemic and keep everyone in place.

“Current trends with increasing COVID-19 cases and the lack of progress toward the levels of gatherings that our business requires leaves me with very low confidence in those assumptions. I believe, despite significant cost containment measures which we have implemented to-date, that our revised financial plan is not achievable and this will result in a longer recovery period that will require even more money to be contributed by our OSEG owners.

“As an organization, we can’t just survive this pandemic. Daunting as it may appear in this moment, we need to come out of it ready to thrive because Ottawa, our region and our four-million plus visitors are relying on us to give them the best Redblacks, 67’s and other sports, music and entertainment experiences that we are able to when it is safe to do so.”

The three-down league officially cancelled its 2020 season on August 17 as teams deal with the financial ramifications of the coronavirus crisis. Commissioner Randy Ambrosie expects that revenues will be “soft” in 2021 given that the COVID-19 pandemic could still be ongoing.