SBD/October 17, 2013/Franchises

Senators Owner Says Financial Losses Greater Than Reported, But Turnaround In Place

Melnyk said Canadian Tire Centre is in need of upgrades
Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk said of an Ottawa Citizen report that said he has lost about $94M (All figures C) since purchasing the team, "They were wrong. It's $110 (million)." Melnyk, appearing on Ottawa-based  CFGO-AM, said it was "kind of an anomaly, that kind of loss," partly because the "financial crisis that took place in '08 actually affected us over the past couple of years, believe it or not." Melnyk noted the franchise "pushed past 12,000 season tickets and there's still walk-ups that are coming up so we're going to be sold-out by gametime." He said in terms of the in-game experience for fans, "We did a lot of research and (have) very interesting results coming out of that research, one of them is how much the community takes ownership of its team." Melnyk: "We have to do something more than just show a hockey game. We're not in the hockey business -- that was my philosophy -- (but) we are in the entertainment business."

BUILDING A WINNER: He said of increasing payroll as the team is in the bottom third of the league, "We're not really 26th (in payroll and) … that doesn't really show the whole picture because the difference between being in the third quartile or first or second quartile is so miniscule." Melnyk noted the team has "spent the cap three straight years.” Melnyk: “We spent money for nothing … and that's not the way to win." He added, “I'm looking ten years out and saying, 'I know the cap's going up.' We just know the revenues are increasing throughout the whole league … and you do have to spend. But you don’t have to spend toe-to-toe with the guys that have money to throw around … and a lot of times they spend money for no reason. What they're doing is spending money to cover-up for mistakes." Melnyk said the team is in a "great, great spot where cap space is now a massive commodity. … It's like having three first-round draft picks."

IMPROVEMENTS COMING: He said upgrading the Canadian Tire Centre "is on the to-do list along with about 500 things before it." Melnyk: "We've got way too many boxes … and we're going to have to put some money into this building. But we spend millions of dollars a year in keeping it maintained so we’ve done a good job in maintaining it. It's just going to need some upgrades and I recognize that" (TSN Radio 1200, 10/16).
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