I guess it was all too good to be true. I guess we should’ve known that the story book ending of the Chicago Blackhawks finally winning the Stanley Cup would eventually be diminished by something. The Chicago Tribune reports that that something is poorly managed finances. Or in layman’s terms, the Blackhawks lost money last season.
The Blackhawks ended their season with capacity attendance and record merchandise sales, television ratings and sponsorship revenues, and the Stanley Cup.
But financially the team was a loser.
Exactly how much money was lost is something team executives will not discuss.
And what happens when a team loses money? Let’s say it together:
Increased ticket prices!
One consequence: Season ticket prices will increase by an average of 20 percent this fall, which is projected to rocket them from the second-cheapest in the National Hockey League three seasons ago to among the 10 most expensive, according to the team. And fans should expect “more modest” increases in the future, team owner Rocky Wirtz said.
Wirtz first revealed that the team was not profitable in private. “It’s going to take four (or) five years before we can actually get back in the black,” Wirtz said at an April 19 forum at the Economic Club of Chicago, according to a transcript. “And right now we’re still supporting the Blackhawks with our other Wirtz organizations.”
In a follow-up interview this week, Wirtz said that the Blackhawks ran out of cash several times last season. Each time, he received a memo, known as an internal capital call, in which the team requested money from Wirtz Corp., the Blackhawks’ parent company, to cover operating expenses. And at the end of the season, Wirtz said he double-checked that the playoffs did not cover those losses; the franchise remained in the red, the team’s accountant told him.
So what’s the lesson in all of this boys and girls? Just because you win, you can still lose. Or in layman’s terms, the Chicago Blackhawks can’t win for losing.
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