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Rocky Wirtz on the state of the Hawks

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01-18-2013, 08:23 AM
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cbcwpg
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Rocky Wirtz on the state of the Hawks

http://blogs.suntimes.com/blackhawks...ate_of_th.html

Sun-Times: It's been a rough few months for everybody involved in the lockout. How do you feel the Hawks are positioned now after everything that's transpired?

Rocky Wirtz: The Hawks are positioned well, because we never took any time off as an organization. Unfortunately, the fans did, but we as a company, as a sports team, didn't. So we chose not to lay anybody off. Any full-time employee kept their jobs, so there's plenty of things to do from the hockey ops to the front office to even the ticket folks. So when the e-mail came that a handshake deal had been done, John McDonough and Jay [Blunk] had a 9 o'clock meeting that Sunday morning. They were ready to go.


Sounds like an insult to the fans of the team to me. How did the fans take time off? The NHL locked them out from being able to support their team. Just a strange comment by Wirtz.

ST: Are the Hawks a money-making venture? It's a model franchise, a huge deal in a huge city. But is this a money-making venture?

RW: No, it's not. Not yet. We're getting there, but we're not there yet. That's why the collective bargaining agreement was important. The top 10 teams pay in to the pool - we're not there yet -- then you have 12 percent off the top goes to city and amusement taxes, which is one of the highest amusement taxes in the country. So when you net down what you get, you're getting 88-cent dollars. And then by the time you get parking taxes and everything else, it's not profitable. Even though we've had 190-plus sellouts in a row, which we've been very fortunate to have, we're not profitable yet. But we're shrinking the gap as we go along.

ST: So to go back to the original question about the state of the league -- if the Blackhawks can't make money, how are the New York Islanders going to make money? How are the Nasvhille Predators going to make money? The Florida Panthers?

RW: Well, that's the problem. Six years ago we had the second-lowest ticket price in the league. We've been inching those up, but you've got to be very careful about how much you can raise your ticket prices. Hopefully with corporate sponsors and other revenue sources, you don't have to depend so much on your ticket prices. It's a combination of everything.

ST: Those $7 hot dogs and $12 beers help.

RW: Every hot dog and occasional beer -- it doesn't hurt.

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Old
01-18-2013, 08:30 AM
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The fans took time off because of the lockout, not because they wanted to they just didn't have a choice. That's all he was saying, it's not an insult to the fans.

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01-18-2013, 08:31 AM
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I think he means in the sense ''unfortunately the fans had to take time off because there was lockout''. Worded poorly though.

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01-18-2013, 08:36 AM
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I think he means in the sense ''unfortunately the fans had to take time off because there was lockout''. Worded poorly though.
Agreed. I'm sure he means nothing by it, it just sounds strange the way he said it.

More on the business aspect though, I am surprised that the Hawks are not profitable.

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01-18-2013, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by cbcwpg View Post
Agreed. I'm sure he means nothing by it, it just sounds strange the way he said it.

More on the business aspect though, I am surprised that the Hawks are not profitable.
Probably some creative accounting.

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01-18-2013, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by cbcwpg View Post

More on the business aspect though, I am surprised that the Hawks are not profitable.
It's a bunch of baloney, that's why. They use what we call 'creative accounting' fudge the numbers so a lot of things don't count towards the Blackhawks and only count towards Wirtz Corp profits. Like he brings up parking, that money probably doesn't go into the Hawk's coffers but he uses Hawk's revenue to pay the taxes on it. Also, any of the other the events the United Center hosts don't go to the Hawks and Bulls, they just go to Wirtz and Reinsdorf. At one point I had even heard that concessions bought from vendors at the seats were part of HRR and went to the Hawks but anything bought on the coucourse was not and just went to Wirtz Corp.

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01-18-2013, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by htpwn View Post
Probably some creative accounting.
Not really. He is trying to recoup all the money they had to dump into the team during the 2000s to keep the team afloat.



http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/sp...y/02wirtz.html

Rocky Wirtz, who is 57, said it was useless to try to persuade his father to change his mind about anything.

“I’d say, ‘Dad, we’re losing generations of fans by not televising home games,’ ” he said. “He said it wouldn’t be fair to our fans with season tickets. But we’d gotten down to 3,400 season tickets, which meant maybe 1,500 to 1,700 fans. So we weren’t televising home games for 1,700 people? Why bang your head against the wall?”

Wirtz became team chairman soon after his father died and learned firsthand how bad the franchise’s finances were.

He had to use $40 million in family business money to finance players’ salaries through the 2006-7 season. Fans had been abandoning the team for years; attendance was lingering close to the bottom of the league.

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01-18-2013, 11:47 AM
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Interesting news. Do you think that Chicago could be one of the teams getting some access to newly loosened revenue sharing ?

I doubt but at the same time, I think this proves that the increased revenue sharing pot is not going to help the most struggling franchises.

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01-18-2013, 11:52 AM
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Interesting news. Do you think that Chicago could be one of the teams getting some access to newly loosened revenue sharing ?
No chance in hell. It doesn't go by profit, it goes by revenue. Hawks are no where near the bottom 15 in revenue.

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01-18-2013, 11:57 AM
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No. What Wirtz is doing is having the Hawks pay back all that money. That is causing them not to show a profit.

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01-18-2013, 12:29 PM
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If the Hawks aren't in the revenue contribution pool given their revenue--- who is?

According to Forbes (I know...)... Chicago was 6th in team valuation in 2011 and 4th in 2012.

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01-18-2013, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IU Hawks fan View Post
It's a bunch of baloney, that's why. They use what we call 'creative accounting' fudge the numbers so a lot of things don't count towards the Blackhawks and only count towards Wirtz Corp profits. Like he brings up parking, that money probably doesn't go into the Hawk's coffers but he uses Hawk's revenue to pay the taxes on it. Also, any of the other the events the United Center hosts don't go to the Hawks and Bulls, they just go to Wirtz and Reinsdorf. At one point I had even heard that concessions bought from vendors at the seats were part of HRR and went to the Hawks but anything bought on the coucourse was not and just went to Wirtz Corp.
I call it "Chicago Accounting," cutting all the payrolls, screaming about budget shortfalls, and then watching hundreds of city contractors drive their yachts around the lake on sunny afternoons.

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Old
01-18-2013, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topher42 View Post
Not really. He is trying to recoup all the money they had to dump into the team during the 2000s to keep the team afloat.



http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/sp...y/02wirtz.html

Rocky Wirtz, who is 57, said it was useless to try to persuade his father to change his mind about anything.

“I’d say, ‘Dad, we’re losing generations of fans by not televising home games,’ ” he said. “He said it wouldn’t be fair to our fans with season tickets. But we’d gotten down to 3,400 season tickets, which meant maybe 1,500 to 1,700 fans. So we weren’t televising home games for 1,700 people? Why bang your head against the wall?”

Wirtz became team chairman soon after his father died and learned firsthand how bad the franchise’s finances were.

He had to use $40 million in family business money to finance players’ salaries through the 2006-7 season. Fans had been abandoning the team for years; attendance was lingering close to the bottom of the league.
The Hawks have been making money hand of fist essentially since Bill Wirtz died. The only reason they're in the red is because they're not considering game day concessions and parking as part of their revenue and paying back loans to the parent company made over the previous years. In any other universe, they're safely in the black.

Wirtz is paying back himself, for all intents and purposes. I'd hardly say that they're losing money as a result.

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