In Monday’s Pioneer Press, columnist Charley Walters passed along this gem:
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.
Now that seems almost silly — $30 million is an extraordinary amount of money to lose for a team that claimed 104 percent capacity, even in a lockout-shortened year in which they paid two players $20 million combined.
Of course, we are talking about Craig Leipold. The story of his business acumen can be found here. This is a man who took over a franchise that had a waiting list for season tickets. Then, four years later, he crowed about how spending $20 million on two players sparked season ticket sales. Logic tells us then that under Craig Leipold’s leadership, the season ticket base eroded for a team playing in the self-proclaimed State of Hockey. Great job, Craig.
Now, a caveat — the Wild weren’t the only Conference III team that had lockout problems. Attendance was up in Nashville, but the paid number was down with the overall figure buoyed by the team giving away nearly a literal ton of tickets per game.
In any event, this report of monetary troubles in Minnesota led to this obvious reaction from Monica McAlister at Kukla’s Korner:
Is the State of Hockey at risk of losing their second National Hockey League Franchise?
It has been 20 years, nearly to the day, that the Minnesota North Stars packed up and moved to the sunbelt and became the Dallas Stars; and low attendance and lost revenue during seasons where the team did not play up to the standards of their fan base.
All this based on a report sourced to a little bird — and let’s be real, how reliable are birds?