By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were big winners on and off the field last season.
Winnipeg capped the CFL’s return in 2021 with a second straight Grey Cup title. On Wednesday, the community-owned club reported an overall operating profit of $2.1 million for last season.
The CFL didn’t play in 2020 due to the global pandemic. It returned to action last season with a shortened 14-game regular season, culminating with Winnipeg’s 33-25 overtime Grey Cup win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Tim Hortons Field.
The Bombers’ revenue totalled $32.8 million in 2021. The franchise recorded $2.4 million in revenue from hosting the West Division final.
The Blue Bombers posted an overall operating profit of $3.5 million and total revenue of $36.3 million in 2019, before COVID-19 affected operations the following season.
“Our revenue for the year is at 90 per cent of total revenue in 2019,” club president and chief executive officer Wade Miller said in a statement. “That is astonishing to be so close to pre-pandemic revenues, even with the reduction to the CFL schedule.”
The club’s total operation expenses were $30.7 million as Winnipeg incurred $886,000 in COVID-related expenses. The franchise also entered into a new agreement with the Manitoba government and Triple B Stadium Inc. where a capital fund has been established with a $10.2 million contribution from the province.
The Bombers will also make allocations into the fund, putting forth $576,000 last year. The franchise was also entitled to a recovery of the ’19 annual excess cash payment of $2.2 million from Triple B. That money was to be used for stadium-operations expenses incurred during the pandemic.
The Blue Bombers also accessed government programs to assist with the impact of COVID-19 on their operations. They received $3.2 million in government assistance via programs available to organizations that experienced significant revenue declines.
Winnipeg also recorded an impairment loss on the loan receivable from soccer club Valour FC of $1.3 million. That’s because the Canadian Premier League team’s estimated future cash flows are uncertain.