Canadian Finals Rodeo may be moving from Edmonton

After 42 years of rodeo finals action, 2016 could be the last year the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) will be hosted in Edmonton.

After 42 years of rodeo finals action, 2016 could be the last year the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) will be hosted in Edmonton.

Directors with the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association (CPRA) voted unanimously against a proposal presented by the City of Edmonton and Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) to keep the event in the provincial capital, explained CPRA general manager Dan Eddy. Since the announcement was made March 1, Eddy says he has fielded multiple interviews with questions as to the future of the CFR’s new home.

Negotiations were led by OEG, said Eddy.

Initially, the groups went into discussions in early October, 2015, he explained but the first proposal submitted was not enough.

“That was declined, but it gave us a starting point,” said Eddy.

From there, he said two 60-day extensions were agreed for the sides to come to an agreement, but eventually the talks collapsed. The decision by the CFRA to seek a new venue has created a stir in the Edmonton community.

“We’re just continuing to move forward with a request for proposal process,” said Eddy of their plans.

He declined to provide the names of potential cities as future hosts but says there are five cities “within reach” that have at least a 13,000 attendance capacity needed to host the CFR. Eddy said the average number of daily attendance at the CFR is 16,000.

What the exact deal is and why it was declined remains unknown as Eddy claims the information cannot be provided due to a non-disclosure agreement.

However, OEG chairman Bob Nicholson was interviewed by Edmonton Sun in the March 2 edition, providing some of what was being offered including a bigger purse of $2 million from $1.589 million, a stock contract offered at $750,000 from $540,000 and hosting fee rights proposed at $300,000 from $68,000.

Eddy claims those numbers are “inaccurate” although wouldn’t say how and did not provide further details.

He added that Edmonton is still being considered in the CPRA’s new request for proposals but Nicholson has said publicly that time may have passed.

Both Nicholson and Eddy claim they have received calls from interested parties; for the former it is for new attractions and for the latter it is from other cities.

Eddy said the CPRA’s focus remains to find the best deal for athletes, stock contractors and to ensure the fans have an event they can enjoy. He suggests there is an estimated $78 million economic spin off from the CFR.