Edmonton Elks board chair Ian Murray clarifies ‘old, male and white’ fan base comments

Photo courtesy: Edmonton Elks

The chair of the Edmonton Elks board of directors Ian Murray has clarified his comments on the team’s fan base.

At Murray’s press conference earlier this week following the firing of president Chris Presson, general manager Brock Sunderland and head coach Jaime Elizondo, he said the “disengagement” is a decade old and it has been a “gradual issue.”

“We’re not in the schools like we were in the old days, we’re not engaging with the multicultural community. Our demographics are brutal, they’re disproportionately old, male and white, which isn’t representative of our community,” Murray said on Monday.

“We just did a bunch of stuff that antagonized our core fans. We have a short term problem to get our existing fans back. They are really upset with us and we have a longer term problem to grow the fan base, so that it is more representative of the community.”

“We know we have to get our existing fans re-energized and at the same time grow our fan base and improve our demographics. We’ll engage in more community outreach programs, including schools.”

Through a statement on Thursday night, Murray expanded on his characterization of Edmonton fans.

“It’s important for me to clarify comments I made earlier this week about our ability to broaden our fan base and be more representative of our community and its broad demographics.”

“A portion of my comments, which have been noted in letters to the editor in the Edmonton Journal and SUN and shared on traditional and social media platforms, were clipped mid-sentence and didn’t capture my broader comments that we have dual challenges, which are:

  • Addressing the concerns of our existing fan base; and
  • Growing our fan base to be more representative of our great city.

“While I may not have eloquently captured my sentiments on the spot, my comments were in no way intended to offend our long-time and loyal fans, who have stood with this organization through thick and thin and been the foundation to our success for more than 70 years.”