FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TWO MORE YEARS
Canadian Finals Rodeo set to stay in Edmonton through 2018
EDMONTON, AB (October 19, 2016) – Northlands in partnership with the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association is proud to announce that the 43rd Annual Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) will not be the last in Edmonton. The cowboys will hang their hats and rest their boots in city hotels for two more years.
“Northlands has a rich history with rodeo,” said Tim Reid, President and CEO for Northlands. “To ensure we keep that history alive for Edmontonians and Northern Alberta it is key to our organization and we are immensely proud to see the CFR in Edmonton through to 2018. The economic impact when you combine CFR and Farmfair International is $50 million to our city. These two events put heads in beds; seats in restaurants and action in our streets. It is a great time to be in the Capital region and we look forward to showcasing the western lifestyle to all of our guests.”
“Northlands has been our partner in the CFR for 43 years and we are proud to continue the tradition,” said Jeff Robson with the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association. “This partnership allows us the opportunity to build a bigger, better CFR and surrounding events for the city.”
With more than 43,000 farms and 50 million acres dedicated to primary production, Alberta’s agriculture industry continues to garner international attention. New this year is BeefTech from November 7 – 9. This interactive learning event gives participants the opportunity to explore the latest technology, tools and innovative management practices that are changing the way we raise cattle. On the heels of BeefTech is the acclaimed Farmfair International from November 9 – 13. To learn more about Farmfair International visit farmfairinternational.com. For more details or to register for Beeftech, visit northlands.com/beeftech. Tickets for Canadian Finals Rodeo are available at
October 19, 2016
For Immediate Release
Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
and Edmonton Northlands Launch New Partnership
Excitement was the order of the day as Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and Edmonton Northlands negotiators made it official. The Canadian Finals Rodeo will remain at its traditional home - Northlands Coliseum.
“We’re happy to be back!” noted CPRA Canadian Finals spokesman Jeff Robson. “We’ve enjoyed 43 great years in Edmonton and we’re excited the partnership doesn’t have to end. We’re eagerly anticipating a future with Northlands as we extend our CFR contract for two more years.”
Robson went on to say, “The 2017-18 deal is similar to what we have at present in some respects, but the event will enjoy a new flavour. We’ll streamline a few things. And this is the first of a number of exciting initiatives with Northlands.”
As far as contract specifics, both organizations are still working to confirm details.
“The money for the contestants is relatively close to what it is now. We’re staying with six performances and we’ll tie in 100% with Farm Fair. As far as dates, these will be announced in due course.” indicated Robson.
A new component that both partners are excited about is an endeavour where a reasonable dollar figure will be set aside to give back to rodeo committees. “We value our member rodoes,” emphasized Robson. “We want them to know that. And we’d like to help them be viable on a long term basis.
“We’re positive, moving forward and looking ahead!”
With just 21 days until the 2016 edition of the Canadian Finals Rodeo kicks off, today’s announcement was welcome news for competitors, committees, partners and fans.
Tim Reid, CEO of Edmonton Northlands, echoed Robson’s optimism.
“This is an opportunity to get close to the agriculture industry and showcase its diversity through both Farm Fair International and the CFR,” Reid commented. “The economic impact of the two events is $50 million for the city. It is a great time to be in the Capital region and we look forward to celebrating and growing the western lifestyle.”
Canadian Champion tie-down roper and CPRA board member Alwin Bouchard sees the announcement of the new agreement as a positive for future competitors.
“For me, it gives the kids coming up in my sport a chance to have what I have. It opens the door for rodeo to be even better than it’s been for me.”
2016 ladies barrel racing season leader and three time CFR qualifier, Kirsty White added, “I’m proud of the CPRA, Northlands - everyone involved - for rallying together, overcoming obstacles and getting the relationship happening. And as a member, I’m ecstatic!”
About the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alta. is the sanctioning body for professional rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves over 50 events annually with a total payout exceeding $5.1 million. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @prorodeocanada, like Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook, or online at RodeoCanada.com.
For more information:
CPRA Media Department
403 625-2797 / 403 625-9225
It’s official: Canadian Finals Rodeo will stay in Edmonton through 2018
By Emily MertzWeb Producer Global News
The Canadian Finals Rodeo launch in Edmonton, Oct. 19, 2016.
Fletcher Kent, Global News
After several days of speculation, officials from Northlands and the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) confirmed Wednesday that Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) will stay in Edmonton for at least two more years.
“We’re staying here through 2018,” Jeff Robson with CPRA said.
The announcement was made as Northlands and the CPRA launched the 43rd annual CFR.
“Northlands has been a proud partner of CFR for 43 years,” Northlands CEO Tim Reid said, describing rodeo as like “a second dynasty taking place in Northlands.”
“This history this event shares with this city is like no other,” operations manager Kyle Roth said. “I’d like to thank the community for its continued support.”
Robson explained the CPRA board asked him to lead negotiations and figure out where the event would go next. He said the board was split on which direction to take, adding it took courage to make the decision.
Robson described the relationship between Northlands and the CPRA as like one between friends.
The CFR rejected the final joint bid from the City of Edmonton and the Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) more than six months ago to keep the event in Alberta’s capital. Three months ago, CFR made a deal with the City of Saskatoon to relocate there after this year’s event, but the situation has changed.
The CFR was supposed to mark its farewell season in Edmonton in 2016, but the rodeo event will remain in Alberta’s capital for at least two more years after that.
After Edmonton lost the CFR, the OEG announced in August it was bringing in a 10-day western culture event with Professional Bull Riders (PBR) in the fall of 2017.
The 43rd annual CFR will include The Roadhouse concert series including acts like Brett Kissel and High Valley. Farm Fair International will be back in November, along with some new agricultural features.
Edmonton has hosted the Canadian Finals Rodeo since 1974, which draws thousands of visitors yearly.
The 2016 edition of Canadian Finals Rodeo, which offers one of the richest purses in Canada, will take place in Edmonton Nov. 9-13.
City councillor and Northlands board member Tony Caterina said the event injects “tens of millions of dollars” into the local economy.
“It’s pretty good news,” he said Monday night. “I’m extremely happy that CFR is once again … the possibly of hosting it here for a number of years.”
The mayor said he was encouraged that discussions about keeping the event here were re-ignited.
“It’s intriguing that talks have continued,” Don Iveson said Tuesday.
“They have not included the city because we’re not in a position to actively promote any event – because of the Master Agreement with OEG – we’re not in a position to actively promote any event going into the Coliseum.”
However, he was hoping Northlands Coliseum would be re-purposed quickly and had concerns about what more years hosting CFR would mean for the future of the old Rexall Place.
More to come…
Keeping rodeo in Edmonton right move for Northlands, president says
'I think it's a win for our city, and I think for Northlands it's a win'
CBC News Posted: Oct 19, 2016 1:21 PM MT Last Updated: Oct 19, 2016 1:21 PM MT
Edmonton will host the Canadian Finals Rodeo through 2018. (Dale MacMillan)
- City blindsided by Canadian Finals Rodeo return
- 'Terrific' return: Canadian Finals Rodeo ride back to Edmonton
Keeping the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton through 2018 was the right interim move for Edmonton Northlands as it plans its long-term future, says Northlands president Tim Reid.
Officials with Northlands and the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association confirmed Wednesday that the rodeo will be held at Northlands Coliseum through 2018, scuttling a previously announced deal to move the annual event to Saskatoon.
"I think as Albertans this is a real win for us, I think it's a win for our city, and I think for Northlands it's a win," Reid told reporters after a news conference for this year's CFR, Farm Fair International and Rodeo Week.
"Certainly I feel for Saskatoon, but I also believe that CPRA made the right decision, and it doesn't mean that this conversation can't happen in the future with Saskatoon," Reid said.
"I just think that right now we needed some stability, and what we do know is that CFR and Farm Fair partner well, and it's been successful for 43 years, and now is not the time to step away from those things."
Dinner meeting started discussion
Reid said he was approached in late summer by Jeff Robson, a former general manager of the rodeo association who was working as an adviser to the group.
They met for dinner and started a conversation about the possibility of keeping the event in Edmonton.
"We talked over the next four to six weeks, and it came together relatively quickly afterwards," Reid said. "We saw an opportunity to renew this partnership and program the Coliseum for a couple more years."
The deal is a good fit with Northlands' Vision 2020 plan for its future, Reid said. The organization is planning how it will adapt to losing the Oilers, Oil Kings, many concerts and other events to the new downtown arena, Rogers Place.
"By programming CFR back into the Northlands Coliseum it gives us some flexibility and revenue," Reid said
"But most importantly, it's a great economic driver for our city. It's a good fit as an interim [measure] until we see some clarity on what happens in the future."
$50 million economic impact
Northlands' annual revenue from the CFR is enough to cover annual operating costs for the Coliseum, he said. He added that the annual economic impact of CFR, Farm Fair International and Rodeo Week to Edmonton is about $50 million.
"We have an obligation under our master lease agreement with the City of Edmonton to program our facilities to celebrate agriculture, conferences, conventions, trade and events," Reid said.
"I think this encompasses all of it. In a lot of ways, we believe that Farm Fair International and CFR go together as well as anything that possibly could. And this was a consistent product for us, that the city had responded well to, and I think Albertans had.
"And so I think it buys us the time for the city to do their due diligence, which they've suggested they have, but it also leaves us some flexibility that if there is a better city-wide discussion to be had, we're certainly open to it at any time."
Robson drew applause at the news conference when he made it official that the rodeo will stay in Edmonton through 2018.
He said he was asked by the rodeo association directors in the summer to lead some new negotiations to help them determine where the CFR should be held. He consulted stakeholders and had "a really frank conversation" with Reid, he said.
"Today's announcement is about the future of our sport, the future of rodeo and the CFR. It's about re-establishing a partnership with the city of Edmonton, and this is an opportunity to build a bigger, better CFR and the surrounding events around the city.
"It affords us time as an organization to seek a long-term solution."
City blindsided by Canadian Finals Rodeo return
‘It does raise some questions because we’re actively considering repurposing that building,’ mayor says
By Roberta Bell, CBC News Posted: Oct 18, 2016 4:55 PM MT Last Updated: Oct 18, 2016 4:55 PM MT
Northlands Coliseum, formerly known as Rexall Place, hasn't seen its last rodeo. (Edmonton Northlands)
- 'Terrific' return: Canadian Finals Rodeo ride back to Edmonton
- Canadian rodeo finals no longer coming to Saskatoon next fall
The City of Edmonton wasn't part of the negotiations to keep the Canadian Finals Rodeo in town, says Mayor Don Iveson, who wonders how two more years of the event will impact the repurposing of Northlands Coliseum.
The city, Northlands and the Oilers Entertainment group had made a final offer in March to renew the rodeo contract, but it was rejected by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. At the time, Rogers Place was nearing completion and the future of Northlands Coliseum — then known as Rexall Place — was up in the air.
'It's intriguing that talks continued. They have not included the city.'- Mayor Don Iveson
Three months later, the rodeo association signed a memorandum of understanding with the City of Saskatoon to move the Canadian Finals Rodeo to the SaskTel Centre.
That deal has now fallen apart.
City can't promote events at Coliseum
"It looked like it was a done deal, that it was going somewhere else," Iveson said Tuesday.
The mayor was caught off-guard by Monday's announcement Edmonton would be keeping the rodeo even though he is a city appointee to the Northlands board of directors
"It's intriguing that talks continued," Iveson said. "They have not included the city because we're not in a position to actively promote any events going into the Coliseum."
The city's master agreement with the Oilers Entertainment Group, which operates Rogers Place, prevents the city from providing resources to support events or upgrade the older facility.
Coun. Michael Oshry, also a city appointee to the Northlands board, said he doesn't think the Oilers Entertainment Group is involved in this latest development.
"At the end of the day, Northlands and the rodeo association made a deal to keep it here," Oshry said.
But when asked if Northlands convinced the rodeo association to stay in the city, Oshry said, "I wasn't party to the actual negotiations so I don't know that for sure."
The Canadian Finals Rodeo is coming back to Edmonton. (Dale MacMillan)
Northlands getting a makeover
Even before the Oilers and many major concerts moved in the fall to Rogers Place, Northlands, the non-profit organization that runs the Coliseum, was trying to reimagine the venue.
The group has proposed multi-million dollar changes to the the horse-racing track, casino, Expo Centre, and the arena itself, which could be converted into a multiplex with several ice surfaces.
Iveson said the multiplex idea had the support of the Oilers Entertainment Group and Hockey Canada and this new development "does add some tension to that ongoing work."
While Northlands has a lease in good standing on the Coliseum, meaning it can continue to operate the space as it wishes, Iveson said he wanted to get started on renovations.
"I was hoping next year we'd figure out what it would look like, how much it was going to cost, how we would pay for it," he said.
"This could throw a bit of a wrench in that."
Coun. Tony Caterina, who also sits on the Northlands board, thinks the opposite.
'It actually doesn't fly in the face of it at all because the revitalization of Northlands Coliseum would be a number of years down the road.' - Coun. Tony Caterina
"It actually doesn't fly in the face of it at all because the revitalization of Northlands Coliseum would be a number of years down the road — I think it was 2019. This sort of fits into the scenario that for the next couple of years, certainly could be accommodated," Caterina said.
"I think that this gives everybody some breathing room — Northlands, in particular, the city, in particular — to have a chance now to really take a good look at this," he said.
He added that the security the event brings will provide some temporary reassurance to the staff who have been faced with downsizing over the past few months.
But Caterina said he doesn't have any information, either, about the deal to keep the rodeo in Edmonton, including about the length or terms of the contract, which at the outset to be for 2017 and 2018, or how the city might get involved.
Iveson wonders whether there will be a willingness from the CPRA to keep the event in Edmonton, but at a different location.
OEG has a deal with Professional Bull Riders to hold an event at Rogers Place in November that coincides with Edmonton's Farm Fair exhibition.
"If we're going to keep rodeo, we'd have to figure out long term, medium term, even short term, how to move it downtown," Iveson said.
"There's a lot of moving pieces."
Details on the future of the Canadian Finals Rodeo will be announced Wednesday morning at Northlands.
It's official: Canadian Finals Rodeo returns to Edmonton
'This is great for the city of Edmonton,' says Coun. Tony Caterina
CBC News Posted: Oct 18, 2016 8:47 AM MT Last Updated: Oct 18, 2016 9:27 AM MT
The Canadian Finals Rodeo will be back in Edmonton this season. (Canadian Press)
Despite plans to steer the Canadian Finals Rodeo away from Alberta, the city of Edmonton won't be relinquishing the reins after all.
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association has rescinded a memorandum of understanding it had with the City of Saskatoon which would have seen the huge event move from Edmonton's Northlands Coliseum to Saskatoon's SaskTel Centre.
Coun. Tony Caterina confirms Edmonton — which has laid claim to the event for the last 43 years — is back in the saddle.
The rodeo will be riding into the city for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons.
"Absolutely, the event is going to be staying here," Caterina said Tuesday in an interview with CBC Edmonton.
"I feel terrific. I'm glad to see that they've come to their senses. And I say that laughingly.
"Edmonton has provided a home to them for so many years and, certainly Northlands Coliseum is the place they should be."
The CPRA and the city of Saskatoon had signed a memorandum in July after Edmonton, Northlands and the Oilers Entertainment Group made a final offer in March to renew the contract.
That offer was rejected by the rodeo association, which said it wanted to entertain bids from other municipalities that had shown interest in hosting the event, including Saskatoon.
But then, on Monday, Tourism Saskatoon confirmed that after a series of "high level meetings," negotiations fell apart, the deal had been dissolved, and the rodeo would be reclaimed by Edmonton.
"This is great for the city of Edmonton," Caterina said.
"The CFR attracts tens of millions of dollars in economic activity and the way the economy is now, we need all the help we can get, so I'm extremely happy that they've come to this decision."
For Coun. Michael Oshry, the news was a welcome a surprise.
He says the contract will provide the struggling Northlands Coliseum some stability, and financial relief.
"It's going to be a couple years before we know for sure what's happening with that building … but in the meantime it lets Northlands have another event that can be hosted at the Coliseum," Oshry said.
"That's a good thing for Northlands and a good thing for the city."
Edmonton Northlands, the non-profit organization which runs the arena formerly known as Rexall Place, is trying to reinvent itself in the wake of losing the Oilers, Oil Kings and many concert events to Rogers Place downtown.
Northlands has proposed a number of changes to the arena, the Expo Centre, the horse racing track and the casino, including a plan to convert the arena space into a series of ice surfaces
But as negotiations over the plan continue, Northlands is projecting a negative annual cash flow of $7.7 million because of Oilers games and major concerts moving to Rogers Place.
"Now Northlands is going to keep the arena open for another couple years for the rodeo, which gives Northlands and the city some time to, once and for all, make a decision on the building," Oshry said.
But the sentiment was not so optimistic among would-be organizers in Saskatoon.
"This was a really important event for us," Tourism Saskatoon executive director Todd Brandt said in an interview with CBC Radio's' Edmonton AM.
"We thought it was a really great opportunity to bring all the fans from Alberta into Saskatoon ... we thought we could build on the brand that Edmonton did such a great job of building up over the years."
Brandt added that shortly after the memorandum was signed, board members who were part of the agreement resigned. The CPRA asked for some time to restructure its executive, but he never expected the agreement to fall apart.
"The senior staff from CPRA were all on board with us and we were ready to roll," said Brandt.
"And I'm just disenfranchised by the fact that we were never given an opportunity to meet with the new board and to bring them up to speed.
"To find out that they simply went back to negotiating with the Northlands facility was disappointing to say the least."
More details on the renewed rodeo contract with Edmonton are expected to be announced at a Wednesday morning media launch.
With files from CBC's Lydia Neufeld