USATSI_7320422_160885884_lowres

Convention Primer

I’ll admit it. I have no idea why people spend money to go to this Blackhawks Convention. I’ve always thought the Cubs Convention was creepy and weird, and I guess the Hawks version has less geriatric women from Iowa and Nebraska with really silly hats and jewelry and talking about just how much they love the “Hawkies.” Though I’m sure it comes with its own share of weirdo. Just a guess, but I bet he’s got a mustache. Though I suppose if you’ve ever dreamed about banging a Hawk, this is the best chance you’ll get. It’s in a hotel, after all.

To me it seems like a great way to be around a bunch of sweaty people wearing hockey jerseys in July (even I put mine away until at least after Labor Day). I’m sure if you have kids it’s great for them, as they can get somewhat close to their heroes. But this is yet another reason you shouldn’t have kids, then.

And it’s filled with these seminars where you can’t ask anything that matters and all anyone really cares about is when some kid asks some awkward question or whatever. (Sidenote: a truly interesting panel might be old media vs. new media, and we would be part of that, but I won’t sit on a hot stove until they actually let us into this thing. And I’d probably go play golf or soccer instead anyway).

But hey, someone is going to get a chance to ask some questions, and you can ask non-controversial ones that might not piss anyone off. Yeah, I could do this myself, either by going or via press pass (cuz that would happen), but I’m not gonna. But if any of you are going, and you just happen to get the mic, and someone who might know just happens to be onstage, and by the even infinitesimal chance they might answer it, here are some interesting yet not hard-hitting things we real fans might like to know. And if you actually ask this at the Convention, we’ll send you something (t-shirt, beer, beer-soaked t-shirt, something)

1. It’s not a big secret around town that the Cubs are going to start their own television station in the next few years. With McDonough’s past connections, or just a need to grow their TV and ad revenue, would the Hawks be going with them in a Bruins-NESN type arrangement? Good luck getting anyone to answer this, but it’s certainly not insulting to anyone. And it ties into…

2. Rocky still claims that the Hawks lose money (not that anyone here is buying that but I’m not starting that debate all over again). Where are some areas they fall short? What would they like to improve? We know it’s not tickets or merchandise. They own the building. Is it ad and sponsorship money? TV money? Where do the Hawks think they can grow? Again, this isn’t insulting anyone because Rocky hasn’t hidden his claims of operating at a loss, so it’s just seeking more information on what he said.

3. The ice. We talk about it all the time. For a team that wants to play at such a quick pace, having maybe the worst surface in the league isn’t conducive. We know this. But it’s not just what the ice is like in May. It’s awful in January. And we get it, the UC is a multiple use building with a lot of events and there’s only so much that can be done. But you know, the ACC in Toronto has the same amount of use, and I don’t hear near the complaints about its ice. And Toronto’s climate isn’t that different than Chicago’s. Boston has basketball and hockey games on the same day. Surely in this day and age, someone has come up with something to keep the ice at least acceptable.

Actually, all I want is for the brass to admit it sucks. Because they never have. I’d settle for that.

 

  • Aaron Rusnak

    FWIW, The Cubs are locked in with CSN until 2019. So don’t plan on them starting a network until then.

    • BanjoLegs

      The WGN deal ends pretty soon. They’d buy out the CSN deal and have a Cubs/CSN channel.

      • Hags

        Yes I think this is exactly what’s going to happen. If all goes according to plan (it seems like it is with the approval of the renovation plan today) the Cubs will be able to print money very very soon.

        • Black JEM

          And if they can then continue the stockpiling of the minors while offloading older overpaid players, they could maybe actually operate like a real franchise – not a bumbling loser. I have enjoyed watching the hawks become a real professional sports team – but the Cubs? Pretty sure the end of the world happens right after that.

          • Waylon

            The Trib has much to apologize for regarding the Cub’s continued ineptness during their ownership. They hired incompetent GM’s (Ed Lynch and then the doughnut – eating guy) who then hired incompetent managers, the crap always flows downhill.

          • Hags

            sorry for responding days later (I was on vacation in the middle of nowhere with no internet connection in northen wisconsin) and the last month has got me excited about the direction the Cubs are headed, similar to the feeling in 2007,2008, 2009 with the Hawks (maybe a little more so since the Cubs have always been my “1st” sports team if you will)

            There’s boatloads of talent coming to Wrigley via the the minors, and the young guys that are here now are playing pretty good ball. Big things on the Northside are coming very soon, and like you said, the end of the world may not be far behind.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I’m pretty positive each team owns a percentage of CSN, like 20% each. So if the Cubs started their own network and other teams joined them, it would be quite similar don’t you think?

  • Joe Banks

    …if you’ve ever dreamed about banging a Hawk, this is the best chance you’ll get.

    I’m still laughing my ass off!

  • 07GreyDigger

    Anyone who believes the Hawks lose money is an idiot.

    • birdhead

      don’t be silly, dozens of businessowners across America are propping up a billion-dollar business out of the goodness of their hearts and as a favour to their fans!

      • Black JEM

        I have zero doubt the Hawks are losing money. But the UC isn’t and neither is Wirtz Distributing.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      The only way the Hawks are ‘losing money’ is if Rocky is looking at the last twenty years, as in: Five great seasons and I still haven’t dug this team out of the hole my father put it in.

  • Bullitt315

    “2. Rocky still claims that the Hawks lose money (not that anyone here is buying that but I’m not starting that debate all over again). Where are some areas they fall short? What would they like to improve? We know it’s not tickets or merchandise. They own the building. Is it ad and sponsorship money? TV money? Where do the Hawks think they can grow? Again, this isn’t insulting anyone because Rocky hasn’t hidden his claims of operating at a loss, so it’s just seeking more information on what he said.”

    It’s almost like this article wasn’t written

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130615/ISSUE01/306159983/why-the-blackhawks-are-losing-money

    • SamFels

      We’ve been over and over this. That article is based on books provided by Rocky, who can make them look however he wants due to his multiple business holdings.

      • shinkicker

        it’s almost as if the Hawks are a tax shelter!

        • Joe Banks

          shhhhh!

        • Bullitt315

          If I lose 20 million dollars I get to write it off of my taxes against gains and save myself 7 million in taxes (at 35%) but I STILL LOST 13 MILLION DOLLARS.

        • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

          Ding Ding Ding!

      • Bullitt315

        You can’t make books look however you want. There is wiggle room but you can’t really hide revenue which is what revenue sharing is based off of (so no point in inflating expenses), they’re audited, and Rocky wants an accurate assessment of his businesses. The big way to move expenses between shared companies is how overhead is allocated but cash flow doesn’t lie. What is the benefit for him setting up the books to make the Hawks look worse? There aren’t really any tax benefits because they all roll up to Wirtzcorp and any loss for the hawks is gain somewhere else in the empire. He’s going to have fuzzy accounting just so he can tell a bunch of fans, who don’t believe him anyways, that the Hawks lose money?

        • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

          It’s all about expense allocation. It’s the same reason some people take out a big mortgage at a stupid rate, just so they get the tax deduction.

      • Black JEM

        I would be more worried if they weren’t spending to win. But he ate Huet’s contract – and we are pretty much right up against the cap. Yes, I am sure the favorable deals the UC and liquer business get allows them to show better.
        If he was crying poor to say why he wouldn’t sign players, that is one thing. My guess he could raise ticket prices another 15% higher than planned and they would still sell out right now.

    • cliffkoroll

      It’s almost like you didn’t read the article. The numerate among you can sort through this- I ain’t doing it again. The Hawks made north of $10 million this year- they had to win the Cup to do it, but…

    • chidiver

      And what are the benefits to the family’s alcohol distribution business of never having to bid competitively for the UC contract? I won’t call it creative accounting, but there are ways to shift profits around and across interrelated businesses.

  • Z-man19

    Hawks sign Brad Winchester to a 1 yr deal

    • Joe Banks

      What’s a Winchester? Besides a cathedral and or rifle?

      • neo1978

        Crash Davis for the kids in Rockford.

      • shinkicker

        a bar to hang out in during a zombie apocalypse

    • putmeinthemadhouse

      Isn’t he another hometown boy?

      Edit: Nevermind.

    • Stockroom Snail

      This better not matter.

  • arlingtonrob

    And if the NHL can pull off a game outdoors…in Los Angeles?!?…how can the Hawks not have perfect ice at the UC?

    …and I am really curious as to how they’re gonna pull off that game in LA. I thought air temps needed to be fairly low…something below 50 F.

    • neo1978

      It’s not the temp it’s the humidity. 40% or lower humidity equals good ice, 60% type humidity in a typical Chicago building with 20,000 people means poor ice.

  • lizmcneill

    I think it was Fro who said, when asked about the fog and bad ice in the Garden on the day of Game 6, said, “we’re used to it”. Maybe it’s a strategy: if you can run-and-gun on UC ice, you can do it anywhere. although we could do without scares like that time Kane lost an edge, smacked into the net and spun round 3 times.

  • unknown operator

    Looking fit, Rockwell.

  • DesertHawk

    Well… I’d like to go to the convention one day…

  • Kissmyanthia

    Lets talk about this losing money nonsense for a second.

    This year, a lot of people projected that if this were a full season, the league would have hit 4.4 Billion in TOTAL revenue (also, remember, this is the NHL, so there totally is money that the owners are hiding).

    That number would mean a few things:

    1. The salary cap for a season like that would be (4,400,000,000 * .5[players get 50% of revenue] and then divide by 30 {number of teams in the league})

    73.3 Million dollars.

    2. That money goes through the owners to the players, so the leftover 2.2 Billion would be divided amongst the teams in the league. If they split it evenly (which they surely do not, Jeremy Jacobs is in charge), that would be the same 73.3 million payout to each team. So even if the team sold zero tickets for the year (lol Coyotes) they would STILL break even with a team at the maxed cap.

    3. So Rocky has some splainin’ to do if hes claiming to lose money. Also, since the Blackhawks right now are one of the most popular teams in a huge market, they most likely get MORE than that 73.3 milion payout.

  • corbant

    I wish I could lose money like the Blackhawks do: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting