Chicago Blackhawks Chairman: Winning is good for your bottom line

Chicago Blackhawks Chairman W. Rockwell 'Rocky' Wirtz on the impact of the Stanley Cup win on the Blackhawks' value, the strategy for the team's future and the outlook for ticket prices.

How Chicago Blackhawks Owner Plans to Build an NHL Empire

By Business Leaders FOXBusiness

It pays to be a winner. That’s what Chicago Blackhawks Chairman W. Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz told FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.

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After the Chicago Blackhawks won its third Stanley Cup Championship in 6 years, the team is reaching new financial heights “on their own,”—from ticket sales to sponsorships, no longer relying on internal capital calls such as food and beverage sales, according to Wirtz.

“Winning is good for your bottom line … not only … as far as what you actually get -- but as the future years going forward,” he said.

Despite the NHL salary cap, Wirtz said he plans to keep his team in the larger markets.  

“In hockey they have [something] called a hard cap… So to keep going you have to have a system in place to develop young players and keep bringing those players in -- and then you have to be able to be relevant … If we can be consistently good … and make the playoffs … once you make the playoffs, anything can happen … And then you have to bring younger fans in,” he said.

Although the price of tickets are expected to skyrocket 80% next season from 2009 levels, Wirtz doesn’t expect it to slow sales.

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“You [have to be] very careful on prices … You can’t shock your customers. So what you [have to] do is edge them up — and then we give a discount to season reservation holders … In Chicago, as long as people know that you are trying your hardest and you are going to put a good product on the ice… they’ll accept [price] increases. The problem is [when] they don’t think you’re really trying hard and you’re just milking the product—then you have a real problem,” he said.

Wirtz is also betting on the beverage business to continue to grow the “Blackhawk Empire.”

“We have something called “Blackhawk Bars” where people can go in and watch the games. Back in ‘07 we couldn’t even have the bars put the games on -- more-or-less have the sound on … We have salesmen, which are essentially your ‘disciples’ in these different bars… working drink promotions…And now it’s a place especially for millennials… It certainly helps the beverage side. Our business is up 30% over the same time last year just in Illinois alone,” he said.  

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