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Sharks ownership claims they lost $15 million despite selling out every game

Aug 20, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT

Calgary Flames v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

David Pollak of the Mercury News reports the San Jose Sharks owners declared they lost $15 million last season despite selling out all 41 home games and both playoff games against St. Louis.

Fear not Sharks fans, ownership says they’re OK with losing money because they’re committed to winning.

“We’re OK with that because that’s a decision we’ve made to stay competitive,” said Kevin Compton, referring to the fact his team’s player payroll bumped up against the NHL salary cap.

In case you didn’t know, Compton is the head of the Sharks’ ownership group. It makes for a bold statement considering San Jose has yet to make the Stanley Cup finals, but Compton also says the team isn’t hurting for money.

“We’re a completely liquid organization and so far have continued to fund operations by choice,” Compton said. “This isn’t Phoenix.”

That’s a sick burn considering former Sharks CEO Greg Jamison is now trying to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes.

Now you have to ask the question: Are the Sharks’ owners being open about losses because of the ongoing CBA negotiations where the NHL is trying to knock their costs down again with the players? It certainly makes for convenient timing for the owners to have a what’s believed to be a successful franchise claim they’re losing money.

  1. kingfooj - Aug 20, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    “We’re OK with that because that’s a decision we’ve made to stay competitive,” hmmm something doesnt sound right about this to me. If that thing youre OK with keeps happening, then its going to make aquiring winning players harder and harder down the road. It sounds like theyre trying to be detroit while ignoring the finances

  2. hockeyflow33 - Aug 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    This doesn’t make any sense; these owners are successful business men in other ventures and the vast majority aren’t fans of the sport/team before hand. Why would these people continue to invest and run a sinking ship that for them, is an investment vehicle?

    • desertfan - Aug 20, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      Sports franchises make their money by price escalation.

      The value of the franchise can easily increase by more than the operational losses.

      Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for $17M and today worth over a Billion!!

    • barkar942 - Aug 20, 2012 at 2:04 PM

      Being the fact that most of the people on this blog probably have a normal job working for a living, most people collect their paycheck and then give the government their share at tax time.
      Most of the people who own sports teams are not looking to turn a “profit” with their ownership of the team. They are looking for $15 Million Dollar losses to write off their taxes against the $50 Million they made as CEO’s of their real businesses.
      Most owners are looking for ways to write off losses against their profits elsewhere. In the process, they save millions that they would otherwise pay the IRS.
      When did Jerry Moyes take Phoenix into bankruptcy? When his primary source of revenue, Swift Trucking was going down the toilet financially. If his trucking outfit was showing solid profit, he never would have been less likely to bail on the Yotes, because it would have saved him millions a year with the IRS.

      • barkar942 - Aug 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

        If his trucking outfit was showing solid profit, he would have been less likely to bail on the Yotes. Mistyped original.

      • blomfeld - Aug 21, 2012 at 12:18 AM

        Excellent comment barkar942 …

        It’s exactly the same reason why the majority of wealthy people earning “X” amount of dollars, will have “charitable donations” included in their portfolios. Anyone who’s studied finance, even at an intermediate level, will be fully versed on “tax shield benefit” analysis and it’s relevant implications. And this is not just applicable to North America and Europe. I myself work in the aviation industry, where today Arab “petro dollars” are buying up loss-making airlines like there was no tomorrow. You ask yourself at first, what could these fools be thinking ? But then when you step back and look at the big picture, things start to make sense.

        Terrific post friend and therefore please enjoy the following ! :)

    • hockeyflow33 - Aug 20, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      Nah, I understand it’s just one small asset in their portfolio but it’s just a shame that they can count on the NHL to help offset their other holdings

  3. therealehboy - Aug 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    It’s not a sinking ship per se: Teams like SJ break-even by making the second round of the playoffs due to the surge in ticket, merch, and media rights from those games. Normally the Sharks do that, this time they didn’t. So, if over a rolling 5 years, they are cash flow positive, they are probably fine with having that period include up years and down years. Think of this year as being balanced out by their West Conf Finals Series year.

    Obviously you’d like all up years, but I think that what he’s saying is reasonable.

  4. sjsharks66 - Aug 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    I blame Doug Wilson…just because that is the easiest thing to do haha :P

    • cheapsharksownership - Aug 20, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      You might think it is funny but it is accurate as well. Trading and signing oft injured players is HIS fault.

    • ml3939 - Aug 20, 2012 at 1:25 PM

      Yeah, I blame the Jonathan Cheechoo contract. It is a shame they could not sign a player like Wayne Simmonds instead. Run on troll.

  5. cheapsharksownership - Aug 20, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    What a crock, the source of the story David Pollak is just a PR hack for the Sharks organization and the teams owners. As for the team losing 15 million if they did indeed lose 15 million (And I highly doubt this), then they deserve to lose the money for allowing their General Manager too make terrible moves and acquire players who are either injured or have an injury history. It is all about decisions by the owners, when owners stand back and allow GM’s to make bad decisions sign useless players and give out mind numbing contracts it is the Owners own fault.

    And in the Sharks case you have a group of 10 owners who’s majority has little knowledge of hockey itself. Kevin Compton the figure head of the 10 group ownership knows nothing about hockey, and the chief investor of the team is a Basketball fan first and foremost.

    But anyone who actually believes this propaganda being spewed out by a bunch of billionaires is just dumb.

    • cheapsharksownership - Aug 20, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      By my own estimate I lost 20% of my income last year buying Sharks tickets and merchandise, so can I claim poverty too? Hey Mr. Bettman can you roll back our ticket prices…………OH yeah! Did not think so.

    • madman69 - Aug 20, 2012 at 1:35 PM

      You’re an idiot.

      • paledevil - Aug 20, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        Pick your side and be vocal! Its the North American way!

  6. sjsharks66 - Aug 20, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    I agree, Doug Wilson has made some terrible decisions the past couple years. I don’t understand how his big moves this off season are Burish and Stuart.
    Maybe Burish can help the 3rd line. I would prefer if Handzus was gone. Terrible player.

    @m
    A sharks fan on a sharks article, talking about the sharks GM is being a troll? Following me from article to article starting arguments is not being a troll though? You Philly fans are really sick in the head. Like I said before the Simmonds deal is not that great. He had a career year and is now locked in for 6 years. Good luck having him preform this good for 6 years straight. Take it easy and please stop following me.

  7. antmel30 - Aug 20, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    sj sharks sorry for the mean comments couple days ago you caught me on bad day. this article is an exact reason why there has to be something done in nhl. I blame bettman how do you have a franchise sell out every game and loose money. He has to do a better job getting tv deals done for smaller markets that live on west coast. Nhl is the only sport where you sell out every game and are in red at end of year. I support revenue sharing so the big markets can share revenue and make a every team be able to compete in offseason. I am sick of these 100 mil contracts for 14 yrs.

  8. t16rich - Aug 20, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    I bet the arena made a lot on hotdog and beer sales though.

  9. sjsharks66 - Aug 20, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    @ant
    Same here dude. Something really should be done. They can’t have these crazy offer sheets and signings, then complain about losing money.

  10. ray2013 - Aug 20, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    In the middle of CBA negotiations, a fairly successful team with regular sell-outs and regular playoff appearances is apparently losing $15 million a year. Then why don’t the owners engage in revenue-sharing?

  11. yotesfan3 - Aug 20, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    This isn’t Phoenix, you know the team that has shut us out 3 times last year went to the western conference finals with half the talent on a beer budget….

  12. pensfan1 - Aug 20, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    And these financial wizards are negotiating how to divide millions/billions through the CBA? No wonder it costs a weeks pay to go see a game. Which are they better at – hiding what they have or asking for more? And who ends up paying through tickets, concessions, and entertainmnet taxes?

    Sounds like both with me ponying up.

  13. odj810 - Aug 20, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    its not hard to fudge there books. anyone who believes they actually lost money is silly.

  14. baymac408 - Aug 23, 2012 at 4:28 AM

    I really don’t think that they lost any money especially a crazy amount like that… We just want to win to man but damn we always choke… Your losing money? And we’re losing every year in the playoffs.. What the hell is going wrong with you??? We have one of the strongest loudest fan bases, and everybody in the bay buys shark apparel so really what is going on ownership?? Make something happen

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