Ottawa’s professional sports teams will need to be successful on the field and the ice in order to be successful financially, according to the Conference Board of Canada.
© Courtesy Freestyle Photography/OSHC
An artist's rendering of the re-branded Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata.
While the think tank says the market for pro sports in the city is better than it has been at any time in the past 20 years, fans must buy tickets to drive revenue.
"The Ottawa sports market is smaller than in many other Canadian cities" Glen Hodgson, the Conference Board's senior vice-president and chief economist, said in a release. Hodgson, who recently co-authored the book “Power Play: The Business Economics of Pro Sports,” added, "It has a smaller corporate sector and many fewer head offices than a city of comparable size like Calgary. This puts added pressure on team ownership and management to put a quality product on the rink or field."
Still, the Board says the city’s population and average income, the third-highest in Canada, are enough to support both the Senators and the CFL’s RedBlacks.
Those teams are particularly well-suited to the city due to the salary caps which keep costs below some other professional leagues, according to the Board.
The pressure to perform on the field will be bigger for the RedBlacks, especially after “many years of ineffective ownership and poor management decision-making” led to the collapse of the city’s two previous CFL franchises. “To maintain enthusiasm, the RedBlacks will have to manage their player talent and business operations well to make on-field competitive success more likely,” the Board said.
The Conference Board also praised the public-private partnership development model used for Lansdowne Park, saying it struck the right balance between public support and private investment, lowering the costs and risks for taxpayers.