Even though this year’s Canadian Finals Rodeo will take place in Edmonton on the same weekend of the Professional Bull Riders Global Cup, Northlands didn’t want to change the date.
“For 43 years we’ve been on this weekend,” CEO Tim Reid said. “I don’t think it was fair to our fans to try and find an alternative day.”
Northlands will host the 44th annual CFR the same weekend Rogers Place will host the PBR: Nov. 8 to 12, 2017.
But Reid doesn’t see CFR directly competing with the other rodeo event.
“We think the two of them are a bit of a different product. CFR is traditional rodeo, and I think PBR is a more made-for-TV product with perhaps a more urban audience.”
Initially, the CFR rejected a joint bid from the City of Edmonton and the Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) to keep the event in Alberta’s capital. Later, CFR made a deal with the City of Saskatoon to relocate there after 2016.
However, plans to bring the CFR to Saskatoon fell through, and Northlands announced in October that the event would be back in Edmonton for at least two more years.
Last fall, Reid said a successful CFR essentially covers the carrying costs of Northlands Coliseum for one year. He said research shows the CFR is the single-largest annual event in Edmonton.
“The nice thing about our rodeo… is that it’s seven events,” Reid said Thursday. “It’s a bit of a celebration of western culture and it’s been here for a long time — we’ve got a large ticket base. I think what we went through when we were trying to make a decision was: what options did we have?
“The challenge that we find ourselves in is that CFR and PBR are so connected in western culture, but CFR and Farm Fair International are really linked and we didn’t have any opportunity to move Farm Fair International because it would cannibalize other exhibitions throughout the province.”
The Northlands CEO didn’t shoot down the idea that, in future years, the two events could coordinate better.
“My hope is that as we move toward 2018, we can find a better way. With PBR, CFR and Farm Fair, we have a great foundation to do something special in Edmonton… that impacts the globe,” Reid said.
The Canadian Finals Rodeo runs from Nov. 8 to 12 at Northlands Coliseum, while the PBR event will be held Nov. 9 to 11 at Rogers Place.
Tickets for the CFR will go on sale May 1 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.ca.
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