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Edmonton Elks to Pursue Private Ownership Appears to be a Reality

When looking at the history of the Edmonton Elks since its inception in 1949, it is a football team that has always been community-owned.

When the news first broke out on November 23rd, 2023, the Edmonton Elks Board of Directors made it known publicly that the pursuit of private ownership was something that they would have to take a firm look at for the team to be financially stable going into the future. 

It was a day that was also a reality check for the Edmonton Elks financial crisis in which many of the pre-existing profits were soon to be evaporated due to the multiple past seasons of recording huge monetary losses.  

Here is a quick look at the recent financial losses, along with a limited financial gain: 

2018: 2.8-million-dollar profit (hosted the Grey Cup)

2019: 1.1-million-dollar loss.      

2020: 7.1-million-dollar loss. (Cancelled season due to COVID-19) 

2021: 1.1-million-dollar loss.

2022: 3.3-million-dollar loss.  

2023: To be determined.

There is no denying the fact that the Edmonton Elks have been in a financial tailspin. With an estimated 12.6-million-dollar loss since 2019, it will only be inflated once the 2023 Annual Report is released. Factoring in the multiple losing seasons in 2021, 2022, and 2023 with no postseason appearances, it has simply been a recipe for disaster for all the wrong reasons on and off the field. With that said, the Elks are financially in distress, and private ownership will have to be merged for a financial injection needed to operate a professional football team. On a positive note, they do enter the 2024 CFL Season with an estimated 7 million dollars in reserve funds.   

Fast forward to March 14th, 2024, and the Edmonton Elks appear to be more transparent in the long-term plans of their respected ownership structure. 

The Edmonton Elks as reported by TSN’s Dave Naylor has been collaborating with California-based, Park Lane, which is a sports investment bank that has also managed the sale of the Montreal Alouettes to current owner Pierre Karl Peladeau shortly over a year ago.    

When it comes to the right owner and or owners willing to invest in the Edmonton Elks, it is still in its infancy stage on who will be the right suitors for the Edmonton Elks future. There will be no shortage of owner(s) as there are quite a few that will be economically viable. The main question will be whether will they be here for the long haul.

Possible Ownership Candidates

Daryl Katz:  The Edmonton Oilers billionaire has no shortage with his business portfolio which also includes Rexall Pharmacy. With an estimated net worth of 4.2 billion in 2022, he would be a local fixture in the sporting ownership landscape.  

However, there would still be the most important element in this equation. Would Daryl Katz be interested in investing in the Edmonton Elks? 

It’s busy operating one professional franchise along with other assets, there is also the aftermath of his health scare back in 2019. 

In 2019, Daryl Katz suffered a life-threatening antibiotic-resistant bacterial sinus infection. He underwent three surgeries in a span of ten months with his progress being positive since. 

Enbridge Inc:  The Calgary, Alberta-based, founded originally by Imperial Oil, has an estimated value of 76.82 billion as of early 2024. 

Canadian Pacific Kansas City:  Since the railway merge between Canadian Pacific along Kansas City Southern on April 14th, 2023, the rail operation by Canadian Pacific Kansas City operates in Canada, the United States of America, and Mexico. Canadian Pacific Kansas City has an estimated value of 83.58 billion as of early 2024.

Will the ownership be local or abroad?

When it was originally announced on November 23rd, 2023 of the possibility of incorporating private ownership with the Edmonton Elks, it was very much an area that they had no choice but to explore. Moreover, there were mentions that they want the ownership to stay local in Edmonton, and or in Alberta as a whole.

In a perfect world, Edmonton fans would love nothing more for the ownership to be local. However, when that day comes to fruition who will be part of the ownership structure for the Edmonton Elks in 2024, would that also include a minority stake among the season ticket holders as a community ownership? Only time will tell.     

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Dino Sepe Reporter
Dino Sepe has been an avid sports fan since he was nine years old. He has read multiple books regarding sports history from various eras, the origins of the game, great dynasties, great coaches, and great players. Dino's experience in writing was obtained at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario through the Theater Performance program. As an avid football fan following the NFL, CFL, NCAA, and USports Football, Dino has been writing about the Canadian Football League in various capacities since 2019. In December 2021, Dino joined the CFL News Hub team. Dino is proud to be part of the CFL News Hub contributing team and looks forward to covering the Edmonton Elks going into the future.
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