Stamps don't turnover on profit

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:13 PM ET

What's red and white and in the black all over?

The Calgary Stampeders, who look set to make some money on tomorrow's game even though it likely won't be a sell-out.

After rolling the dice by purchasing the $100,000 rights to the CFL's West Division semifinal game from the league, it appears the gamble will pay off for the team.

One day before the big game against archrival Edmonton Eskimos, the Stampeders have sold about 26,000 tickets -- 10,000 shy of capacity, but enough to guarantee a profit.

"We're slightly past our break-even point, so we're definitely not in the red," said co-owner and president Ted Hellard, whose club must foot the $500,000-plus bill for game expenses and player bonuses after securing the rights to the semifinal.

"We may not be much in the black, but we'll be in the black."

Based on ticket sales since the Stamps' win last Sunday, Hellard forecasts a fan count of about 29,000 to fill the 35,653-seat stadium.

While it's not a sellout, the prez feels it's a good start.

"Would we like to see 35,000 here? Of course," Hellard said.

"But historically, many of the playoff games -- even in the heydays of the '90s -- there was 13,000, 18,000, 21,000.

"So this might be one of the highest for a semifinal here."

Besides, added Hellard, the CFL club's first home playoff contest in four years is not about making money.

"What matters is the 29,000 fans are excited and enjoying themselves and making a lot of noise to intimidate Edmonton," he said.

But Hellard and fellow owners do feel there could be more fans on hand if the league adopted a more fan-friendly approach to playoff times and dates, since weather and a 4 p.m. kickoff may deter some.


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