The Saskatchewan Roughriders ripped the band-aid from the COVID-19 crisis on Wednesday with the release of their fiscal 2020-21 financial statements at the team’s Annual General Meeting.
The team lost of $7.5 million in 2020 compared to a modest $200,000 loss the year prior. Total revenues dropped from $39.6 million down to $10.3 million as a result of cancelling the 2020 season.
For those wondering how the Roughriders managed to generate over $10 million in revenue during a season in which no games were played and no tickets were sold, they can look to the $3.9 million in government grants and subsidies received by the team.
The club managed to cobble together $3.5 million dollars in sponsorship revenues and another $2.2 million in merchandise sales.
The organization was able to cut expenses by $21 million — mainly through salary reductions and layoffs to the football operations staff — which accounted for roughly 43 percentage of total expense reductions.
The lower merchandise sales saved almost $3 million dollars in expenses, while an additional $6 million in expenses was saved through a combination of game-day
operating costs, administration fees and advertising expenses.
The heavy loss was not unexpected as some early reports suggested the Riders could be in the red more than $10 million dollars from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As CEO Craig Reynolds pointed out Wednesday, the organization will have to remain “lean” through a multi-year approach to truly dig itself out of the financial ruin caused by the coronavirus.
The long-term financial implications are still unclear and will take much longer to determine the total impact.