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Why The Blackhawks Continue To Lose Money

from Danny Ecker of Crain's Chicago,

Even with higher ticket and sponsorship revenues this season, Crain's estimates the Blackhawks annually spend between $10 million and $20 million more than they take in. The balance is made up from other companies under the Wirtz Corp. umbrella, including United Center Joint Venture.

This season's surge to the Stanley Cup Final hasn't made up for missed revenue from a lockout-shortened regular season, when the team continued to pay more than 100 non-player employees, but it has mitigated the pain.

Ticket sales from a dozen home playoff games—especially from the Western Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final, which are far more lucrative than regular-season contests—has poured roughly $15 million into the team's coffers.

Dating back to his father's ownership days, Mr. Wirtz says, the Blackhawks have turned to money from other businesses in the family empire to cover 13 player payroll installments each season. Five years ago, the team could make it through only one pay cycle on its own dime. As recently as last season, they got to late February. Next season, Mr. Wirtz says, they'll aim to reach late March or April.

Weep not for the Hawks owner. The team's losses are covered easily by his other highly successful interests, including Wirtz Beverage Co., which last year had nearly $2 billion in sales and distributes to the United Center, where his Blackhawks are a tenant.

“We're lucky enough to have a strong balance sheet, so we have the ability to bring money in from other businesses,” he says. “But you don't want (the team) to be dependent on some other business to siphon off profits.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Savage Henry's avatar

” The balance is made up from other companies under the Wirtz Corp. umbrella, including United Center Joint Venture.”

“Weep not for the Hawks owner. The team’s losses are covered easily by his other highly successful interests, including Wirtz Beverage Co., which last year had nearly $2 billion in sales and distributes to the United Center, where his Blackhawks are a tenant.

“The team generates $20 million to $25 million annually from sponsorships, television rights fees, including those from Comcast SportsNet Chicago (of which Mr. Wirtz is a part owner)”

So basically, the team pays rent to Wirtz, Wirtz sells beer to the company that the Blackhawks pay rent to (owned by Wirtz), and Wirtz is an owner of the company that pays Wirtz for broadcast rights.  Looks to me like the team makes plenty of money for Wirtz, it’s just moved through Wirtz’s other businesses so that the team doesn’t look too profitable when collective bargaining time rolls around.

Posted by Savage Henry on 06/15/13 at 04:43 PM ET

Avatar

It’s 2013 and people write and believe shit written like this..

Posted by cberth on 06/15/13 at 05:16 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

From what I understand, Chicagoans have little to no sympathy for the Wirtz family. Between the fact that their beer business generates billions, that their trucking firm’s hugely profitable, that the family owns a gigantic chunk of Chicago real estate and that it has many other diverse interests (no surprise that it owns part of Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, or that it’s its own rink’s alcoholic beverage supplier)...

The line that the team loses money or that its other businesses are “revenue-neutral” infuriate those who’ve spent their entire lives dealing with various Wirtz monopolies.

Hell, the Blackhawks and Bulls co-own the United Center and take significant chunks of the proceeds from all the other events that occur there…

So to suggest that the Blackhawks are losing money based on a strict tickets-versus-revenues basis given that many of the building’s most lucrative “revenue streams” go right back into the pockets of Wirtz family businesses is incredibly, incredibly disingenuous.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/15/13 at 05:55 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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