Backstage

WITH FOOTBALL

It’s a rich man’s game — here’s what they’re spending

June 8 1957
Backstage

WITH FOOTBALL

It’s a rich man’s game — here’s what they’re spending

June 8 1957

WITH FOOTBALL

Backstage

It’s a rich man’s game — here’s what they’re spending

THE MOST UNINHIBITED spending spree in Canadian football history has now' begun, and the question is whether it will drive some teams out of business. Between them, nine professional clubs will spend close to $5 million this year on assorted players from the U. S., plus Canadian helpers.

Businessmen who warned five years ago that football budgets of $200.000 would lead to ruin are now budgeting $500.000. At least three clubs, Calgary, Hamilton. Ottawa (and likely Regina), will need larger stadiums to survive. Can football stand this spending? Such men as Sydney Halter, commissioner of Western Interprovincial Union, and Leo Dandurand, president of Montreal Alouettes, say “Yes.”

Such men as James McCaffrey (Ottawa), Don MacDonald (Regina). Mervyn “Red" Dutton (Calgary) and Jake Gaudaur (Hamilton) say “No."

Here is the detailed picture: Vancouver Lions will spend $515.000 this year but they still expect to make a $30.000 profit (last year’s was $53.000). Lions’ manager Herb Capozzi says: “There is no need for concern. All the clubs losing money need is to win." Edmonton Eskimos, Grey Cup champions. made $50,000 on an income of $500,000 last year, but it was all thanks to their playoff wins, worth $90.000. “Football costs are not yet prohibitive.” says president Cecil Ross, “but they’re working that way.” Coach Frank Ivy’s footballers are highest paid in Canada.

Argos’ Hayman: hopes to break even.

Calgary Stampeders have shown deficits of varying size for three years. “The battle to exist is tremendous because of competition with other WIFU clubs with larger stadiums,” says president Dutton. “But we don’t intend to quit.” Saskatchewan Roughriders escape bankruptcy by running raffles and making friends with every cash customer. They spent $420,000 last year: gate receipts w'ere $250,000. Playoffs and fund drives raised the difference. “We’ll have to think of quitting if we don’t get more help from the league,” says president MacDonald. (The western clubs have a small pool to help have-nots.) Winnipeg Blue Bombers had a profit of $5.000 on total receipts of almost S49Q.000. “Providing we have no serious injuries, we expect to do better,” says president James Russell. Winnipeg favors profit-sharing for western clubs, “but we won’t bonus inefficiency.” Toronto Argonauts lost $60,000 last

year, their third bad year in a row. But with a new manager. Lew Hayman. they'll increase spending. “We’ll need $550,000 to break even,” says Hayman. Hamilton Tiger-Cats showed a small profit, thanks to $130,000 from TV. radio and concessions. “Our only chance of surviving is a stadium to seat 25,000,” says president Gaudaur.

Ottawa Rough Riders had their best year (a profit of $20,000 on receipts of $390,000). but it took TV and radio rights worth $100.000 to save them. “Since we started to import players salaries have gone beyond the reach of everybody,” says president McCaffrey, “and the situation is getting worse.” Montreal Alouettes, a privately owned club, have never let the public look at their finances, but don’t try to conceal the fact they’re making money—perhaps more than any team in Canada. “Despite rising costs the future looks healthy,” says president Dandurand.