As the 2014-15 season approaches, most NHL teams are focused on putting out the most competitive product on the ice while making the business decisions necessary in order to ensure the organization keeps its financial head above water. Most teams are fairly optimistic, but the New Jersey Devils are already planning on finishing in the red this season.
As seen over on Fire and Ice, the Devils’ owners (Josh Harris and David Blitzer) are celebrating their one-year anniversary as co-owners of the team, but they’re open to the fact that they still have a long way to go before the club is turning a profit.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Harris and Blitzer took over a team that was mired in a debt and, in Blitzer’s words, “dramatically underinvested in” on the business side. As part of the sale, Blitzer says he and Harris restructured the team’s debt and “paid down the banks” in order gain more stability, “but there’s still debt.”
And still a lot of work to be done. The team lost money again in 2013-14, when it missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season and third time in four seasons, and Blitzer does not expect it to turn a profit in 2014-15 regardless of its on-ice performance.
“We’re not going to make money this year. Let’s be clear,” he said. “I don’t know the exact numbers, but our view is to get it to the right place and we know over a longer period of time we do believe we can get it to be a profitable team on the business side or the equation. It is not today. I don’t expect it to be next year, but over time you can’t have a business that over 30 years it doesn’t become a profitable team because that just doesn’t work.”
You can’t build a Stanley Cup champion overnight and you can’t turn around an entire organization’s finances overnight either. The Devils are a team chipping away in their attempt to return to the playoffs and it looks like the front office is chipping away simultaneously at the team’s debt. As long as both the product on the ice and the finances behind the scenes are improving – regardless of the pace – Devils fans won’t have anything to worry about.
At the very least, Devils fans should be thrilled to see so much transparency. There’s no denying or sugarcoating the situation by the team’s owners and that’s pretty refreshing. The bottom line may not be pretty, but at least fans are aware and they know that Harris and Blitzer are doing their best to right the ship.