Esks control costs, make a profit

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:13 PM ET

Under the category of financial miracles you’ll find the Edmonton Eskimos’ bottom line for the 2009 season.

Somehow, a team that finished the year with 70 players under contract (two more than they went into training camp with), made more money from its football operations than it did last year.

And, they managed to be under the CFL competitive cap by $30,000 even though player expenses hit the bottom line by $267,000.

Eskimos president Rick LeLacheur credited several factors that helped the team stay in the black.

A whopping increase of $901,000 in game-day revenue was helped out with a standing-room-only crowd for the Saskatchewan game in September.

And, a couple of road trips to Calgary combined with lower-priced flights helped hold the line on away games.

But, LeLacheur was particularly impressed with the way GM Danny Maciocia was able hold the line on player expenses.

“Our football operations guys, led by Danny, did a great job controlling the costs,” said LeLacheur. “While the nine-game (injured) doesn’t go to the cap, it still goes to your financial bottom line.

“It was a little more expensive year that way, but our business guys did a great job, particularly on season seats and casual sales.”

The good news is that there’s even better days ahead as the Esks will harvest some huge cash from the Grey Cup for the 2010 statement .

“We certainly expect to make a good dollar on the Grey Cup, but we also commit a fair amount of that money to community activities,” LeLacheur said.

That will help the Esks increase their original commitment on the North Central Community Recreation Centre from $5 million to $7.5 million.

“We’ve actually committed some of the Grey Cup money to that project,” LeLacheur said.

The Eskimos have received $20 million from the province and City of Edmonton for the facility they’ll move their offices into in December and the team will be responsible for the facility’s operation.

After taking a huge hit due to the 2008 stock market crash, the team’s overall bottom line improved by $920,000.

“That’s mostly because of the investment return,” said LeLacheur. “On the football operations side, we did pretty well. We’re pretty happy financially.”

The team’s stabilization fund now stands at a whopping $8,246,112.

EXTRA ENDS: In a lightning-round decision, the Eskimos retained its board of directors leadership. Doug Goss stays on as chairman, Bruce Bentley as secretary and Allan Sawin as treasurer.


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