Photo Courtesy of Edmonton Elks
On Tuesday, May 9th, 2023, the Edmonton Elks held their 2022 General Meeting of shareholders at Commonwealth Stadium at 11:00 am Mountain Time. The meeting was to unveil and discuss their 2022 Annual Report. Although there was a loss in revenue as a whole for another season, there were still some positives that had come about for the 2022 Edmonton Elks season. But in the end, the Edmonton Elks did suffer a huge loss in operating revenue accumulating to an estimated 3.3 million dollars.
I said “I do need to stress that this turnaround is not a one-year initiative. This will take a few years. Improvement will be evident this year, but let’s fully understand that this is a multi-year initiative to get to where we want to be.”
Chair, Edmonton Elks Football Club
There are a lot of factors that have contributed to the huge financial loss that the Edmonton Elks have recently reported for the 2022 CFL season.
The Treasurer’s Report
In the Trasurer’s Report, the Elks did achieve a financial target goal to finish the 2022 year with 22.1 million dollars. It was a slight financial gain previously in 2021 where that achievement was that of 20.8 million dollars. However, there are a few factors that helped out the Edmonton Elks for the 2022 season. For one, CFL Distributions were at 6.4 million in 2022 whereas in 2021, it was at 3.9 million dollars. This was a financial help across the CFL where the strategic partnership with Genius Sports Limited came to fruition. With that said, there was a drop in sponsorship income, along with no government assistance for the 2022 Edmonton Elks season.
With the Canadian Football League being predominately gate-driven, there was a drop of 9.2% in attendance in 2022 for the Edmonton Elks with an average attendance of 23,787 per game. Whereas in 2021, the Edmonton Elks had a game attendance average of 26,210 per game. Although on record for dropping an average of 2,423 per game attendance, the Elks did have an increase in their gate receipts.
Light at the End of the Tunnell
Unfortunately for the Edmonton Elks, the last three years have been a perfect storm for a recipe for disaster. It’s one thing about the COVID-19 pandemic that put a halt to all 9 CFL teams for the 2020 season; where the Edmonton Elks suffered with an estimated financial loss of 7.2 million dollars for the cancelled 2020 CFL season. Mix in back-to-back subpar performances by the Edmonton Elks with only 7 wins combined to show for it, and you can see why fans have given up on the Edmonton Elks.
At least for the time being.
And why not. This is completely understandable.
Edmonton fans want to win. And they want to win regularly. Just like the long-storied proud franchise of wearing the Green and Gold, the EE logo on the helmet, and the great players and coaches of the past, Edmonton fans want to see that next generation of talent that one day they can say “Wow. That Edmonton Elks team was a great team” no matter what season it was from here on forward.
Sometimes when you hit rock bottom, it is the best thing for your football team. Because after all, there is no other way but up.
The Edmonton Elks planted the seeds from the top brass down. Although it had only been a team that’s been together entering a 3rd season together, the worse days have passed. With being aggressive in free agency, along with a successful draft in the past two seasons, this Edmonton Elks team will be turning a corner in 2023. When that turnaround begins, fan support will increase. Because after all, winning on the field, cures a lot of financial issues.
Come on Edmonton fans.
Come out to Commonwealth Stadium in droves.
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May 11, 2023 at 2:37 am
Not to be discounted is how the fans of the club typically swing right/Conservative — and the name change still doesn’t resonate in a positive manner with them. The Board was happy to placate the vociferous online community and now have to deal with the hard reality that their fanbase was primarily not among those expressing issue with the perceived insult.
May 15, 2023 at 11:23 am
Thank you for reading my article.
I agree with you that in Western Canada, Alberta in particular, has very much been a Conservative following with voters.
I still feel that if they had consistency with winning on the field, especially in the last two seasons, this would not be an issue. The EE logo on the helmets is what they were known for. And I’m glad they brought that back rather than the Elks stencil logo for that one season. This worked in two ways. Keep the alliteration with the team name, along with not changing the EE logo.
Whenever I reference the Eskimos / Elks names, I generally associate it with the years prior and post-years of the name change.
In the end, when the Edmonton Elks win a Grey Cup (whenever that may be), fans will come out. Because the one thing Edmonton fans would want is to have another Grey Cup to add to their resume. The older generation fans will still come out, and the name will no longer be an issue.
May 11, 2023 at 11:45 am
There are lots of Elks fans who are ready to jump on the CFL bandwagon but wont because Edmonton has not signed any big name players. Remember when they signed a Rose Bowl Champion, Warren Moon; Commonwealth regularly sold 50,000 plus tickets. It is the salary cap to blame for the current policies regarding player personnel. The Elks need to invest in a big name or two before they can cash in like the good old days
May 13, 2023 at 8:58 am
Remember when they signed a Rose Bowl champion because he wanted to play quarterback and no NFL team would give him that opportunity but instead wanted to convert him to another position and it had nothing to do with how much money the Eskimos offered him? Remember when the NFL was still becoming the mega power it is now and CFL games were available on CBC and CTV (all blacked out locally) and CFL attendance was higher league-wide? Remember when the Eskimos were getting 50K-plus because, with Moon and Tom Wilkinson splitting the QB duties, they were in the midst of a run of five consecutive championships and the Oilers had just joined the NHL and were just establishing themselves? Remember how there’s this thing in the CFL called the salary cap (which is, admittedly, too low right now but will go up if the league can increase revenues), and that it limits how much teams can pay the roster or they get fined by the league?
Do you ever talk about anything but the salary cap and how teams should just ignore it and go on a federal-government style spending spree of money they don’t have? Only TWO teams made money last season: Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, and even Saskatchewan’s attendance was down. ALL FOUR Eastern teams LOST money last year. BC’s situation is looking up and ownership across the league is more stable than it has been in a long time. The CFL has also moved to a league-wide revenue-sharing model, but seven teams losing money more than offsets the two making money. Until all teams reduce losses and at least break even, the economics don’t allow for just ignoring the salary cap no matter how much you keep pining for it in almost every single article.
May 16, 2023 at 3:13 pm
At least, Michael, you agree the salary cap is too low. Sometimes you need to invest in quality player personel before you get a return on your investment.