In an effort to boost revenues, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced that they’re launching the Canadian Football League’s first scratch lottery program.
The program features 750,000 tickets and offer purchasers the opportunity to win one of two $100,000 cash prizes, along with an opportunity to enter an online contest that offers a chance to win merchandise or 12 unique fan experiences.
“We’ve said right from the beginning, from when the stadium was being built, that we need to generate multiple revenue streams and this is just one of them,” said Blue Bombers president and CEO Garth Buchko. “We have a tremendous amount of debt going forward and we just need these type of things to help the business plan.
“I forget the number of people who buy $5 lottery tickets, but I think it’s in the millions who buy every week, so it’s not like we’re going out and creating a whole brand new revenue stream. And the odds are spectacular.”
Aside from the chance to win cash, the fan experiences — which include one 10-year Blue Bombers season ticket package, a VIP trip to Toronto for the 100th Grey Cup and a dinner with the offensive or defensive line at 529 Wellington — should only add to the appeal.
“Five dollars gives somebody a chance to win $100,00, which is great, but the chance to experience being in the Bomber locker room or being part of an offensive co-ordinators meeting is something that no one can buy,” said Buchko.
Buchko wasn’t prepared to put a monetary value on what the program could mean to the bottom line. Nor did he unveil how long the deal with Manitoba Lotteries was, but noted it would be ongoing for the foreseeable future.
“Right now, we’re not going to announce what that total is but it will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars if we sell out the lottery,” said Buchko. “(The profits) will go to general revenue and we’ll then disperse that money as we see fit. Our first $4 million, when it comes to operating, goes right to paying the loan back. That’s where this money will go right off the start.”
Buchko also made it clear this new initative had nothing to do with the extra cost of having to play additional games at Canad Inns Stadium this season before Investors Group Field is ready to open.
“We were planning this long before we knew where we were going to be playing football this year,” he said. “This is about long-term sustainability and long-term good business. This is one of our multiple ideas we’ll be rolling out to generate revenue for the football club.”
The orginal concept was developed by Blue Bombers board member Jeff Thompson when he was the chief transition offer and taken to Manitoba Lotteries.
“We have a longstanding cross-promotional relationship with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and we see this as a natural extension of that relationship,” said Karen Hiebert, director of strategic communications for Manitoba Lotteries.
The $5 tickets are available at more than 900 retail locations, including all Lottery Ticket Centres in Maniotoba.
Buchko was also asked if the Blue Bombers were considering selling more license plates through Manitoba Public Insurance?
“There’s a waiting list right now for people who want Blue Bomber license plates,” said Buchko. “The best way to answer that is stay tuned.”