In a recent report written by beat writer Luke DeCock, the sometimes "absentee" owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, Mr. Peter Karmanos has promised to be more active in the running of his NHL franchise this coming year. Karmanos is reportedly taking a lesser role at Compuware, his number one business interest and will have more time to devote to managing the Canes.
"I plan to come in and actually help work on both those areas myself two or three days a week starting in July,'' Karmanos said this week in a telephone interview from his Detroit office. ( he was referring to sales and advertising).
Also from the report....
The Hurricanes could lose as much as $10 million this season because of the absence of playoff revenue, a larger-than-budgeted payroll, reduced NHL revenue-sharing payments and decreased attendance.
As the NHL's salary cap increases - from $50.3 million this season to an expected $56.3 million in 2008-09 - the Hurricanes need to bring in more money to keep pace.
Beset by injuries last season, they ended up spending about $49 million on salaries - 11th among the NHL's 30 teams and at least $5 million more than expected.
"We need to put more people in the building,'' Karmanos said. ''We need to do a better job of selling advertising. It's not so much a cap that we put on (general manager) Jimmy (Rutherford). Its the cap we put on ourselves. We're just not maximizing our revenue streams.''
Because of his Compuware commitments, Karmanos has been somewhat removed from the day-to-day operations of the Hurricanes during their decade in North Carolina. He has often voiced his preference to become more involved and now thinks he has that chance.
It comes at a critical time for the franchise. Because of the fall-off in revenue from the post-Stanley Cup honeymoon season in 2006-07 to last season, the Hurricanes lost a quarter of their NHL revenue-sharing money when they failed to meet the league's growth benchmarks.
''We quite frankly need to sell more tickets regardless of the CBA or not. I want our building full because I think it adds to the atmosphere and it's great entertainment. We're going to work really hard on trying to increase our revenue.''
I agree with Karmanos on all fronts. It must sting like the dickens to be the owner of a team who just barely missed the playoffs, and the millions that would have come with it. But not only does he take that hit, he loses out on 25% of the revenue sharing money because attendance dropped off? Either Jim Rutherford or someone else dropped the ball on this one.
Don't they realize that all they had to do was to offer some type of package deal like the old Harris Teeter 4 packs, and they probably would have met their goals? Even if they had to discount their tickets, they still would have made up for the loss by taking in the extra revenue sharing. That quite frankly, is not very smart business. No wonder the owner wants to get more involved.
If this blogger could offer some humble suggestions....
- Start your own blog Mr. Karmanos, and submit articles daily. Let your fans know what you are thinking about regarding the team, regarding advertising, and regarding the fanbase, or anything else that comes to mind. Ask for and respond to feedback. This would generate interest as well as let the fans know that you care about what they think.
- Enlist the aide of your blogging empire. There are already a couple of teams in the NHL who recognize the value of having well-informed, popular bloggers spreading the word about the team. You could be number 3, or you could even take it to another level.
- Bring back the old "family packs" and other popular ticket specials. So what if you give away a couple of free hotdogs, you will make that money back 100-fold because of the lost revenue sharing.
- Get the faces of the team out in the public more often. They are your best advertisement.
I'm sure that other folk have more ideas of their own, and probably better ones. What do you think, does anyone have anything to share?
Personally, I think it's great that the owner of the franchise cares enough to get more involved. I have wondered myself if the Hurricanes could ever get to the point when they would sell out every home game and what that might be like. Shouldn't that be the goal? With hard work and creativity, it could be done.