Edmonton Elks record net operating loss of $3.3 million in 2022

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The Edmonton Elks lost $3.3 million in 2022, making it four consecutive years in which the club has operated at a deficit. The club indicated that reduced revenues were primarily to blame for the loss, coming in almost $4.0 million below the projected budget.

The team received $2.6 million in government assistance in 2021 but did not receive any funding this past year. Sponsorship revenue also fell by almost 13 percent, decreasing from $4.7 million in 2021 to $4.1 million in 2022. The club also took $4.1 million out from its stabilization fund, drawing it down to a balance of $11.6 million.

Some revenues increased year-over-year despite the team’s overall deficit. Gate revenue increased from $5.3 million to $6.6 million, CFL distributions increased from $4.0 million to $6.4 million, and concessions increased from $2.3 million to $3.3 million.

Edmonton’s attendance fell by 9.2 percent this past season as the club averaged 23,787 fans per regular season game. In 2021, the club averaged attendance of 26,210, which was already down 10.7 percent from pre-pandemic levels.

The reason the club’s gate receipts improved in 2022 despite average attendance dropping was the length of the schedule. In 2021, the CFL played a pandemic-shortened 14-game regular season with no preseason. In 2022, each team played two preseason games ahead of a traditional 18-game regular season.

“We made strong progress behind the scenes both in terms of our football and business operations, but we simply didn’t deliver the results needed to return the Double E to CFL prominence. Understandably, our fans are desperate for the on-field success that fuels the overall health of our club and creates the next generation of fans,” president and CEO Victor Cui wrote in his report.

“Despite these clear realities, we believe last season will end up being a bridge to brighter days. The work required behind the scenes to overhaul both our football and business operations is extensive, ongoing and is setting the tone for future seasons, as we work to deliver the winning football and community impact that jointly established our club as a pillar within Edmonton and Northern Alberta.”

The Elks reported cumulative losses of over $9 million from 2019 to 2021. The biggest loss came in 2020 when the team lost $7.1 million amid the league’s cancelled season. This figure was in line with the league’s two other community-owned teams, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, who lost $7.5 million and $7 million in 2020, respectively.

Edmonton hasn’t reached the playoffs in either of the past two seasons, posting a cumulative record of 7-25. All seven of these victories have come on the road as the club has not won a game at Commonwealth Stadium since Oct. 12, 2019 when they beat the B.C. Lions by a score of 19-6.

The Elks launched a new sales initiative for the 2023 season called “guaranteed win tickets,” which fans can purchase ahead of the home-opener on Sunday, June 11.

Purchase of these tickets entitles customers to the same seat for no additional charge each game until the Elks secure a home victory. If Edmonton loses its home-opener, fans who purchased these speciality tickets will get the same seat at the club’s next home game on June 25 free of charge.

Ian Murray has completed his term as the chair of the team’s board of directors. He will be replaced by Tom Richards, who most recently served as the board’s treasurer. Richards played five seasons with the team (1986-90) as a receiver and caught 172 passes for 3,033 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The Elks will open rookie camp on Wednesday, May 10 ahead of training camp on Sunday, May 14. The club’s two preseason games will take place in Calgary on May 22 and against Winnipeg on May 27.

Click here to view the team’s full report.