Mosaic Stadium posts surplus for 1st time since opening in 2017

·3 min read
The Saskatchewan Roughriders run onto the field in a September 2021 file photo. The return of the CFL in 2021, after a season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, helped to create a surplus for Mosaic Stadium, the City of Regina's latest annual report says. (Kayle Neis/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The Saskatchewan Roughriders run onto the field in a September 2021 file photo. The return of the CFL in 2021, after a season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, helped to create a surplus for Mosaic Stadium, the City of Regina's latest annual report says. (Kayle Neis/The Canadian Press - image credit)

For the first time since opening, Mosaic Stadium has posted a surplus, according to the City of Regina's latest annual report.

The city's $278 million crown jewel has lost money for the city each year since officially opening in July 2017.

A review of financial statements shows Mosaic Stadium has posted annual deficits ranging from $417,000 to more than $6 million.

However, last year bucked the trend. The city's 2021 annual report, set to be released to the executive committee on Wednesday, shows a $578,000 surplus for Mosaic Stadium operations.

Saskatchewan residents won't be surprised to learn that the return of Roughriders in 2021 helped to create the surplus.

Regina receives a $12 facility fee from every ticket sold for a Roughriders game.

When the 2020 CFL season was cancelled, no revenue in that line item was recorded.

When the league resumed play, the revenue grew to $2.3 million, according to the annual report — a figure that still isn't anywhere as high as the facility fees that were collected pre-COVID-19 pandemic.

Another factor in the surplus is the increasing property tax that has been applied to the stadium.

Matthew Howard/CBC
Matthew Howard/CBC

Starting in 2013, Regina city council committed to implementing a 0.45 per cent increase to the mill rate, dedicated to Mosaic Stadium, each year for 10 years.

Last year, the cumulative increase to the mill rate — which determines the tax per dollar of a property's assessed value, expressed in "mills"  — had hit 4.05 per cent, which helped boost tax revenue on the stadium to $9 million.

The mill rate increase dedicated to Mosaic is set to cap out at 4.5 per cent in 2022. After that point, that pool of property tax revenue will be dedicated to stadium operations. It will only be increased in response to growth on the tax assessment roll, the city's annual report says.

The news of a surplus is surprising, as the report notes that the stadium was expected to incur losses during the first 10 years of its operations.

That's mostly due to the city's loan obligations, which require the city to pay $11 million per year to the two organizations the city turned to to help finance the construction of the stadium.

The city secured $200.4 million in loans to build the stadium: $100 million from the province of Saskatchewan and $100.4 million from CIBC ($67.4 million for construction costs and $33 million set aside for cash-flow purposes).

The loan from the province has 31.5-year term and an annual interest rate of 3.99 per cent. As of the end of 2021, the outstanding balance on that loan was $84.9 million, the city's report says.

The CIBC loan has a term of 30 years, with an annual interest rate of 4.1 per cent. The outstanding balance is $84.5 million.

However, the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic remain a question mark for the stadium's financials, the report says.

"It is not possible at this time to reliably estimate the long-term impact on the future financial results of the stadium," it says.

"Active and diligent management of the stadium's operations will be required to ensure long-term financial sustainability."

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