The Wild reportedly lost $30 million this season...and that's okay

Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports in a section titled "Don't Print That."
A little birdie says the Wild lost $30 million during their abbreviated 2012-13 season, and a cash call was made to team investors in February. The Wild paid bonuses totaling $20 million to sign free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
That's it. A birdie (off-the-record source), two sentences and three facts. In a section where some news is new, some is old (i.e. Jack Ramsey signed with Penticton months ago) and this occurs in a field where no NHL owner is going to admit money was made.

So why has Minnesota's financial follies been big Phoenix Coyotes-esque news for the last 36 hours?

$30 million is a large amount any way you cut it outside of a Powerball jackpot. Losing that money is big. If Scrooge McDuck has a swimming pool filled with $30 million in gold coins that gets stolen by the Beagle Boys then yes, we would be up in arms alongside him until Launchpad McQuack came in to save the day.

That's not the case with Monday's news. Reading Minnesota reportedly lost $30 million in print - or in one of multiple sexy headlines - is just a statement that makes sense while taking any team numbers with a grain of salt. It can be moved past without further speculation.

What else happened? Craig Leipold wasn't crying poor while asking for a practice facility. He didn't decry the "State of Hockey" as a horrible NHL market that doesn't deserve to watch stars (or Stars) play. Maybe the numbers are a little exaggerated on one end or another because it's a privately-run company. This wouldn't be the first time Leipold has been so bold to say he lost money, but it's not like there is a next step to the red-ink process.

It isn't even like the Wild losing an exorbitant amount of money should be unexpected.

After signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter and then paying each an immediate $10 million bonus, Minnesota chose a bad year to double down financially. Spending that money (followed by paying 20-odd other hockey players another $55 million) accounts for the majority of the loss. It is a planned loss even in an 82 game season, and one where future returns make up for all the upfront costs down the line.

Future returns like a playoff berth or 4000 season ticket holders; both of which happened for Minnesota this season.

(Of course giving in and spending that money before the new CBA rules kicked in is an interesting gamble. That's an article for another day.)

To make matters worse, the NHL lost 4 months with a labor dispute. That messes with not just one team. All 30 teams lost 17 home games plus the preseason.

In a year that saw a lockout, there were positives when it comes to TV ratings. Those don't extend to the gate when teams lose 17 home games. Sure, Minnesota made back 2 of them in the playoffs, however, a pair of playoff games cannot make up for the estimated $1 million lost for every locked-out home game.

Do I think Minnesota lost money this season? Of course. I believe ownership likely would have lost some money in 2013. Even without fancy accounting teams sometimes use (i.e. pay rent or concessions to a parent organization), that's probably true.

At the same time, I believe the Wild are not alone and that all 30 teams went in the red during a Lockout-shortened season. Even Chicago, which is still coming out of its own dark ages, proclaimed a loss for its second Stanley Cup-winning season in four years. If the champs had trouble with money - again taking any team numbers with a grain of salt - despite 13 home playoff games, who did?

It would have to be a team that spent little and reached the postseason like the New York Islanders. Even that's no guarantee. Knowing the Islanders' issues with Nassau Coliseum and its cable deal, it probably isn't.

Everyone, not one team, losing money is a bigger issue.

So Minnesota reportedly lost $30 million and that's okay. Sure, $30M is an obscene amount of money 99% of us will never see, but not in the context of this year. Having 2/3 of it be upfront costs hoped to be made back with further playoff appearances and only losing $10 million out of $15 million for lost games is better than it seems.

If Craig Leipold and company continues to cry poor or starts Scrooging his money then the tune can start to look like Phoenix bleak. Until then, writing 800 words on the subject is 750 more than it deserves. Minnesota reportedly losing $30 million should be on the same scale as Josh Harding winning $40,000 for his Harding's Hope charity today. It should be on the same scale as Tyler Cuma re-signing.

And it should definitely be getting less attention than one sentence discussing the issue of Derek Boogaard's prescription records when he was on the team. The fact that happened is more than worthy of outrage.

Follow First Round Bust on Twitter @FRBHockey. You can also follow Nate @gopherstate where he reportedly tweets.

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