SBD/August 21, 2012/Franchises

Sharks Owners Say They Are Committed To Winning Despite Financial Losses

Sharks lost $15M last year despite selling out every game
It has "taken a decade, but the ownership group now known as Sharks Sports & Entertainment is starting to show a personality that can be as unconventional as its Silicon Valley surroundings," according to David Pollak of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. SSE said that it "lost $15 million last season despite selling out every game." Sharks co-Owner Kevin Compton said of the team's player salaries nearing the NHL cap, "We're OK with that because that's a decision we've made to stay competitive." Pollak noted the Sharks franchise "operates with no CEO or president." Sharks co-Owner Stratton Sclavos said, "We've taken out a few layers (of management) in the organization, and that makes it faster to get decisions made." The owners said that the Sharks "are debt-free." Compton: "We're a completely liquid organization and so far have continued to fund operations by choice. This isn't Phoenix." Pollak noted eleven names "are listed as the owners" of SSE, but Compton and Sclavos "matter the most." The Sharks "do not disclose what percentage of the team each partner has, but Compton and Sclavos -- along with German software magnate Hasso Plattner -- are the most heavily invested." Since the departure of former CEO Greg Jamison nearly two years ago, Compton and Sclavos "guide the franchise, presiding over monthly meetings with the team's six executive vice presidents and reporting back to the full ownership group quarterly." All of the owners "have authorized a player payroll close to the maximum allowed for each of the past four seasons." Sclavos in June said, "It all comes back to mission No. 1 -- win the Stanley Cup. We have to give the hockey side the resources to put the best team on ice every season that we can" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/20).

READY FOR NEW NEIGHBORS? Sclavos said of the A's potentially relocating to San Jose, "You can always look at these things as a problem or an opportunity. In our discussions we're led to believe there's probably opportunity there for us. We do a lot of things really well in sports marketing and ticket sales and sponsorship sales. We think those assets could be leveraged other places." But Compton added, "Our big concern would be to see that the fan experience doesn't change as far as parking and traffic and things like that. We're not going to compromise on that." Sclavos said of a potential new arena in S.F., "Another venue coming into the area is not what you always wish for. On the other hand, a lot of these acts are playing multiple venues in this geographic area 50 miles apart. I don't think we're too concerned about it and it's a long way away" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 8/19).
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