After a strong 2018 the Edmonton Eskimos financial picture in 2019 took a downturn as the club released their financial statement.
Ian Murray who is the treasurer of the organization’s Board of Directors announced a loss of $1.1 million citing lower game-day revenue, Grey Cup fatigue from the ticket buying public, and helping to support operational costs of the Montreal Alouettes during their ownership transfer.
The Eskimos posted a profit of $2.8 million for 2018 in large part due to hosting the Grey Cup Game and Festival. In 2019 game-day receipt revenue was down 15.7 per cent. Game-day revenue fell 5.6 per cent while merchandise sales dropped by 7.8 per cent. The team also sent $950,000 to the Montreal Alouettes to help with their operating cost and to help facilitate the sale of the team.
LISTEN: Board of Directors Treasurer Ian Murray speaks about the 2019 fiances of the Eskimos from the AGM
Eskimos board chair Janice Agrios released results of research conducted with the Inuit community from 2018 and 2019 in regards to their team name. Agrios says among the western Arctic community, 78 per cent opposed a name change. In Nunavut, 55 per cent opposed a name change. In the eastern Arctic where results identified “little connection to the team,” 31 per cent oppose a name change. Agrios says of those who see the name as positive, the “dominant theme” is pride.
“The concept that a sports team with national recognition chooses to use the name of a relatively small group of people is seen as a nod of respect and admiration.”
LISTEN: Eskimos Board Chair Janice Agrios at Annual General Meeting on team discussions about changing their name
Agrios went on to say because of the recent debate surrounding the name further input is being sought, an update is expected at the end of this month. Last week insurance company Belair Direct who sponsors the Eskimos 50-50 program said they want the name changed or they will end their partnership with the club. Boston Pizza announced last week they ended sponsorship with the Eskimos in May.
The CFL is hoping to play a shortened season starting sometime in September. The league and the CFL Players Association are currently in discussion about a return to play plan and an amended CBA for the next two season.