SBD/April 18, 2011/Franchises

Wild Focused On Raising Revenue After Losses Forced Layoffs This Season

Wild missed playoffs this year after ending season on a 2-10-1 slide
Wild Owner Craig Leipold is "focused on raising revenue, with the goal of regaining a recent decrease in ticket sales and making up for losing money this year without a postseason appearance," according to Dave Campbell of the AP. Leipold during an extensive interview last week said that the Wild "had to make five layoffs." He said, "Just like all the other businesses, we've had to adjust our workload. We didn't make the playoffs. That's why we're losing money. It's not a critical situation. It's not crisis by any means, but we have to run it like a business. If it means that we have to use fewer people to work harder to run the business then that's what we have to do during this period of time." Leipold said that he "believes the Wild's 'brand' and support remains strong, but he acknowledged the crowded market for other entertainment, sports and hockey spending and the importance of continuing to work at keeping their customers happy." After his team ended the season on a 2-10-1 slide, Leipold said that he is "borderline 'embarrassed' for the fans and he's pushing the entire organization to work harder this summer at communicating progress and a plan for building a legitimate Stanley Cup contender." He added, "We let our fans down, and we have to now reach back out and find a way to re-engage them" (AP, 4/15). Asked if he still plans to own the Wild long-term, Leipold said, "Absolutely, nothing's changed" (STARTRIBUNE.com, 4/14).

CHECK THIS OUT: The firm leading Dave Checketts' effort to sell the Blues "believes that an improving economy and the continued increase in NHL revenue could lead to the franchise changing hands by the start" of the '11-12 season. Game Plan LLC Founder Robert Caporale said his firm is "just in the beginning stages of the process." He added, "At this point in time, I personally think we will be able to accomplish that." Checketts publicly put the Blues on the market last month, and Caporale said, "The most important thing is that there has been improvement in the economy. Over the last couple of years, there seems to have been fewer people who were willing to make the capital commitment that's required to purchase a major-league franchise. Not necessarily because they didn't have the capital, but because of the economic conditions, they were not willing to invest the capital, or part with it, during difficult economic times" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/17).
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