The Winnipeg Blue Bombers released their annual report Thursday morning and say the club is "as healthy as the franchise has ever been."

The Winnipeg Football Club had an operating profit of $5.7 million in 2023, up from $4.9 million in 2022.

“It’s just a great day after another positive year,” said Blue Bombers President & CEO Wade Miller. “We couldn’t really ask for much more from our fans, our corporate partners, and the entire community.

“With every game in every season, you keep saying, ‘It can’t get much better’ and it just keeps getting better every year. We’re seeing the evidence of it in our financial results.”

Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers writes that the profit comes from record numbers in gate revenue, corporate sponsorship, and merchandise sales. The Blue Bombers have led the CFL in attendance in each of the last two seasons, with last year’s average at 30,449 and featuring five consecutive sellouts to end the campaign and two more crowds above 30,000.

Dating back to the fall of 2018 and including playoffs, the Blue Bombers are 37-3 at home.

fans line up outside a stadium. Many are wearing Winnipeg Blue Bombers jerseysThe Bombers had five sellouts in 2023, and two games with over 30,000 in attendance, helping post a record high of $15.1 million in gate revenue.

The report says that the Blue and Gold's revenue totalled $50.5 million in 2023, an increase of $5.1 million, or 11.2 per cent. Gate receipts reached a record high of $15.1 million, up 9.6 per cent from 2022, while game day, merchandise and concessions are also at an all-time high of $11.5 million – a $1.1 million jump and 10.5 per cent increase from 2022.

“There’s a momentum behind this now and it’s what we all worked for over those years to get it to where it’s rolling,” said Miller. “It takes time to do that and to do it the right way.

“We’re going to keep it rolling. We dreamed about it, but more importantly, we put goals and steps in place to achieve it. It’s the hard work being done every day by everyone in our organization, from our coaches to our scouts and everybody in football operations to everybody in business and stadium operations and the over 1,000 game-day employees and fan ambassadors that help make the fan experience special.

“Winning is something that pushes you over the top and that’s something we’ve seen over the last few years. But we’ve always said it’s more than a football game, it’s an event. You don’t have to be a football fan to come to Princess Auto Stadium and enjoy what goes on here on game days. And if you come to a few games, it’s easy to become a football fan. It’s Manitoba’s largest event, 10 times a year.”

The report says that the Bombers will be putting aside $5 million to the capital fund to help maintain and upgrade Princess Auto Stadium, including a seven-figure investment in new turf for the 2024 season, new suite level ring-board advertising along with a new permanent stage and barbecue section in the tailgate area.

An additional $1 million has been allocated to the club’s operating reserve. The capital fund balance was at $9.6 million at the close of the year, with the operating reserve at $6.6 million at year-end.

Soccer club struggling, WFC remains committed but needs fans in seats

The Winnipeg Football Club says there was "one downside the financial report with Valour FC, the Canadian Premier League team operated by the Winnipeg Football Club, having recorded a loss of $1.25 million. There have also been rumours since last fall of the team being for sale."

“It’s the same thing I said a year ago,” said Miller of Valour’s situation. “We’re going to do everything we can to make this team successful and profitable in our city. You can see already some of the changes we’ve made for this year.

“We’re making changes to find ways to get better results on the field with new hirings in soccer operations and coaching and have dedicated two sales reps specifically to Valour. We must get the attendance back up to an average of over 5,000 and find a way to make this successful going forward.”