No layoffs for Roughriders' staff yet amid COVID-19
REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Roughriders have yet to issue layoffs to any staff following the postponement of the Canadian Football League season, according to team president and CEO Craig Reynolds.
Reynolds told reporters in a virtual press conference Wednesday the COVID-19 pandemic is having an economic impact on the team, like any business, but up to this point, no layoffs are happening within the organization.
“We’re a gate-driven league and we’re certainly a gate-driven team,” Reynolds said. “About 50 per cent of our revenue comes directly from the gate, and the vast majority of our other revenue is all associated and dependent on us playing games.”
Examples of what Reynolds calls game-dependent revenues include concessions, sponsor income and merchandise.
“The reality is our board of directors and management, we want to be good stewards of the organization and we’ve taken a lot of steps right now just on general expense management, so we haven’t had any layoffs as of yet.”
When asked if the team could bring in pay cuts or similar cost-saving actions in the future like other CFL teams have already done, Reynolds said it is still too difficult to predict.
“It just really depends on how this crisis plays out,” Reynolds said. “We’re optimists by nature, we hope we can get through this and get as many games in as possible and as it’s safe to do but it’s really hard to say definitively one way or the other right now.”
The CFL announced the start of the 2020 regular season would be postponed on Tuesday.
The Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL), the organization that oversees Mosaic Stadium, says the move by the league shows the effects of the pandemic are likely to last for some time.
“It certainly gives us a sense that this challenge, this battle we’re all facing against COVID-19 is not going to end soon,” REAL President and CEO Tim Reid told CTV News Tuesday. “When we talk about event cancellations into the month of July, that really affects our business.”
“The league is doing the right thing,” said Regina Mayor Michael Fougere. “We hope that we’ll be able to get through this and actually have a league and playoffs and a Grey Cup here in the fall.”
As for the 2020 Grey Cup, scheduled for Nov. 22 in Regina, Reynolds says planning is ongoing and adjustments will be made as needed.
“It’s hard to speculate what a post-COVID world looks like in terms of Grey Cup,” Reynolds said. “But your mind has to go there and so I know our Grey Cup team is sort of thinking about how that could potentially impact our plans.”
When it comes to season tickets, the Riders say they’re working on presenting a number of options to fans which would include refunds.
But ultimately, like many in Saskatchewan, the Riders remain hopeful the green and white will be able to safely take the field with fans in the stadium sometime this year.