If there was such a thing as a sports owners playbook the bread and butter play would be “cry poor.” It’s actually a trick play, asklook variations of which include “blame players’ salaries” and “damn taxes!” Some old timers just call it “the hidden profits trick.”\n\nFor team owners, pilule the objective is not two-points or a touchdown of course, no rx but to score more profits. Ticket price increases and hundreds of millions in public subsidies are really good for the bottom line, but any owner running the straightforward “more profits in a market that will bear it in cities that will give it up” play might be stuffed at the goal line. Why run that when the dazzling “cry poor” play is converted for a score almost every time?\n\nAnd veteran owners know that if you can employ a decoy, someone to help sell the fake—politicians, economists, journalists, etc.—chances of successfully executing the “cry poor” are much improved.\n
. . .
\nThe Blackhawks are raising ticket prices again in order to gain another $10 million in revenue, according to Crain’s Danny Ecker. Hawks owner Rocky Wirtz and Crain’s claim that the hockey team is a financial loser buoyed by profits from Wirtz’s other businesses.\n\nSo the average price of admission to a Blackhawks game next season will be nearly $73, or a 40 percent increase since ’08-’09.\n\n“It’s all part of Mr. Wirtz’s effort to get the team to turn a profit on its own merits,” writes Ecker, citing a “Crain’s estimate” of annual Blackhawks losses between $10 million and $20 million and linking to another Crain’s article from June of this year.\n\n“[Y]ou don’t want (the team) to be dependent on some other business to siphon off profits,” Rocky Wirtz told Crain’s back in June.\n\nThat’s right, the Blackhawks—Stanley Cup champions two of the last four seasons, operating in a huge sports market, setting highs for televisionratings and merchandisesales—must siphon profits from other businesses.\n\nWell, it depends on how you define “other businesses.”\n Continue reading →
By John Wilmes\n\nWhat is the meaning of two-million people, medicaldiscount all wearing red, viagraremedy all aimed at the same thing in the Chicago Loop? It’s a number that trounces the figures of any previous Chicago championship celebration. It’s a number that is, cialis frankly, a bit hard to believe—it’s just an estimate, of course, but the estimate does speak volumes to how overwhelming, and surprising, this turnout was.\n\nIt should be noted, first of all, that a great many of those in and around Grant Park this past Friday were not registered Chicagoans. If they all were, that would mean about two thirds of all city-dwellers were present at Grant Park. I know this isn’t science, but I personally only know a grand total of one real Chicagoan who went to the rally—as Steve Bogira is want to remind us, this is not exactly Chicago’s team. Metra trains and cars, packed with puck fanatics, brought much of this mass from the suburbs to the Loop—and it’s a good bet that most of those already in the city were suburban transplants, themselves, as the facilities and culture for hockey in Chicago are thin, at best.\n\nAnd it should be noted that the radius of celebration, on the night of Stanley’s return to Illinois, was a further projection of this reality, as all was status quo on the southern and western fronts, while bedlam took life along the north coast of the lake. Horns honked in perpetuity, sculptures were subject to vandalism, arrests were made, puke was spilled in great public profusion. All of which, of course, was presented by local media with a chuckle and a slap of the knee—as was the profanity yelled from the stage of the parade.\n\nThe totality of which means the filling up of the negative space, of the indelible comments South-side native Kanye West made nearly a decade ago, regarding the media coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath in New Orleans: “I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family it says they’re looting, if you see a white family it says they’re looking for food”; Corey Crawford can curse, Patrick Kane can assault a cabbie, and it’ll still be Chief Keef and Derrick Rose who get all the city’s bad rap in the media.\n Continue reading →
In case you didn’t notice, prostatepilule attending pro sporting events has become a pretty elitist activity. Right up there with lipoplasty and lunch on the veranda.\n\nApparently, purchasemedicine this trend will continue unabated.\n\nThe Blackhawks announced last week that they will be raising season-ticket prices again, this time by 16 percent in 2014. A team spokesperson assuredCrain’s that the team is conscious about “pricing out” fans. But since the average cost for a family of four to attend a Blackhawks game is already $396 in 2013, I guess Hawks management means not to price out fans they haven’t already priced out.\n Continue reading →
It’s nice to have pull in this town.\n\nLast year, siteunhealthy when talk abounded of taxpayer subsidies for a Wrigley Field rehab, pharmhere I sent a message to Rahm Emanuel via the Mayor’s Office online feedback form. It went something like this:\n\nDear Esteemed Mr. Mayor, there\n\nI’m deeply concerned about the city’s impending financing of a Wrigley Field renovation while Chicagoans endure city budget cuts and layoffs adversely affecting education, violent crime prevention, social services, and livelihoods in general.\n\nYours Truly,\n
Obscure Blogger and Underemployed Academic
\nP.S. Down with Rahmunism!\n\nP.P.S. Have a nice day.\n\nApparently my note had the desired effect, because Mayor Emanuel announced last week that “there will be no taxpayer subsidy in the refurbishing of Wrigley.”\n\nYou’re welcome Chicago.\n\nI probably shouldn’t take all the credit; it’s true that others, like Ben Joravsky, did their part. And maybe Sean Dinces’ report recently released by the Chicago Teachers Union turned some heads. It puts Sox and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf in his place with other corporate big wigs; those who curse “big government” waiving their right fists, while muttering “thanks” out the sides of their mouths as they clinch with left hands wads of government cash under the table.\n\nIn a statement, Mayor Emanuel touted his own stern, unwavering position on the Wrigley Field issue, insinuating that it took the Cubs fifteen months to finally hear the word “No.” But as Neil deMause points out, early reports of imminent consent wafting from the mayor’s office last year suggest some teetering.\n\nAnd why not? Stadium subsidies and sports infrastructure tax breaks have been the norm in this city for twenty-five years. The Cubs have been the exception to the rule. And in my estimation, while no team is deserving of taxpayer subsidies, the Cubs as they currently operate are the least undeserving of the major sports franchises in this town.\n Continue reading →