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Sharks owner: “You cannot make money with a hockey team”

Jan 31, 2013, 9:00 PM EDT

Hasso Plattner Getty Images

After announcing he’d purchased shares from a pair of former investors in the organization, Sharks majority owner Hasso Plattner sat down with a group of reporters to discuss owning a hockey team.

Specifically, how it doesn’t make him any money.

“You cannot make money with a hockey team,” he explained. “You cannot make money with a hotel, either, and you cannot make money with a golf club. I have all three of them (laughs).”

Here’s more, from CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz:

Investors Kevin Compton and Stratton Sclavos, who were the acting figureheads of the company, have sold their shares to Plattner, it was announced by the team on Wednesday.

The reasons for their decision and departure are private…

…“We want to continue as much as possible the same way,” said Plattner, who had a majority share of the company even before acquiring Compton’s and Sclavos’ shares.

“We still want to have a championship team and win the Stanley Cup. That’s clearly the number one objective of a sports club, otherwise you should not be in the sports business.”

Plattner also wants to make sure the Sharks, who claimed a loss of $15 million last season, have a sustainable business model. He has no fantasies of turning a major profit, though.

“The financial situation is not better this year than last year,” he said. “On the other hand, I said this to the employees, don’t worry. My credit line is good enough, if you look it up.

Plattner is the co-founder of SAP, one of the world’s largest software companies. According to Forbes, he is the world’s 127th richest man and has a net worth of approximately $7.2 billion.

The golf club/resort he owns is the Fancourt Estate in South Africa, which features a luxury hotel and four Gary Player-designed courses — its links course hosted the 2003 Presidents Cup.

So as you can see, the man has quite the financial portfolio and sporting background. Why, then, invest in a hockey team he readily admits can’t make money?

Easy.

“Despite it’s such a hard sport, and tough sport, and sometimes violent, it is aesthetically unbelievable when you see the guys and what they can do on skates at the tempo,” he said.

“This is missing in soccer.”

  1. prd797 - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    So it’s a rich guy complaining about how he doesn’t make money from certain enterprises, but hey, he’s rich, so it’s not really that big of a deal…

    • esracerx46 - Jan 31, 2013 at 11:57 PM

      Its a really rich guy making fun of himself for being rich. So rich that if one of his hobbies loses money he could give a damn as long as its fun. Mr. Plattner, we envy you.

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Nice to hear a European talk about how hockey is better than soccer.

  3. ethanmacleod1685 - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    He has 7.2 billion dollars! ………….. Why!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I would give 7,199,000 dollars of it away # GreedyPeopleAreDestroyingThisWorld!

    • stakex - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      So you would keep $7.19 billion of those dollars? Greedy bastard….

      • ethanmacleod1685 - Feb 1, 2013 at 8:20 AM

        Oops a but of a miscalculation there ha!

  4. oquintero99 - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    He probably deducts his losses when filing taxes

    • barkar942 - Feb 1, 2013 at 1:20 AM

      “So as you can see, the man has quite the financial portfolio and sporting background. Why, then, invest in a hockey team he readily admits can’t make money? Easy.”
      Thank you, oquintero99. You beat me to it. Of course when you make a billion a year, $15,000,000 is just like us peons that, for arguments sake, take a $1,522.84 deduction off of our $100,000 per year income. Plus, when you reinvest your money, the government doesn’t take it.
      Believe me, it is all about tax sheltering.

  5. phillyphanatic77 - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    BS you may not be able to make (a ton of) money in San Jose but in the right market it’s not an issue. Do you think Toronto’s owner is struggling to break even? No, just like any business it’s about the market. Maybe if Bettman didn’t try to keep forcing hockey down the throats of people who can’t get into it there wouldn’t be so many clubs in the red. Location, location, location. Boo hoo you’re not making money off your pro hockey team, hotel, and country club. If you own all three of those I think you’re gonna be able to feed yourself.

    • stakex - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:50 PM

      About half the teams in the NHL lose money, and most of the rest do little more then break even. There not all in bad markets obviously, its just that hockey is a tough sport to sell to a nation who’s national sport is something incredibly slow and boring like baseball.

      Also the guy wasn’t crying poverty because he doesn’t make any money from these investments, simply stateing a fact. Not all rich guys are like Mitt Romney.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 31, 2013 at 10:20 PM

        Yes we’ve all heard the Forbes report about half the league losing money and the owners used it as their top negotiating tool during the lockout. But those reports are not entirely accurate. First off HRR is defined in such a way as to maximize the appearance of losses on the hockey side. Owners have generous deduction allowances, such as television broadcasts the owners can deduct up to 100% of revenues as a direct cost. And many other forms of revenue (including government subsidies- which almost every team receives) are not included. Also many owners/ownership groups directly receive profits from concerts or other events booked in their arenas. For example, the Florida Panthers, who Forbes reported they lost $68 million over the last 9 years, have actually made $117 million in profit from 98-2012 according to the Broward county auditor. Through an agreement between the county and the Panthers ownership group the franchise essentially owns the arena. So although these teams are crying poor because of HRR they are in fact doing just fine. Otherwise why would these billionaires, who have been successful businessmen their entire lives, continue to invest in the hockey black hole? It wouldn’t make sense unless they were making a profit.

      • catskinnerd11r - Jan 31, 2013 at 10:36 PM

        National sport is the NFL. The 70′s are over

      • sunderlanding - Feb 1, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        Actually I’d argue that about half the league is in a bad market. Pheonix, Tampa, Florida, Columbus, Anaheim, Nashville, Dallas and Carolina are the obvious choices. Plus does New York need three teams? You could get rid of New Jersey and the Islanders. Hockey is not that big in the States that New York needs three teams. If San Jose is loosing money add them to the list. Ok it’s only 11, but it’s a pretty big chunk, and they are all bad location.

    • nogoodtomedead - Jan 31, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      SJ sells out all its games.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 1, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        Selling out =/= making money. It looks good for TV broadcasts but anyone can sell out virtually anything if the price is low enough.

  6. ThatGuy - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Seeing as how the Franchise has grew in value from 130 million to 230 million in 10 years, i think he’s doing fine.

    • killerpgh - Jan 31, 2013 at 10:04 PM

      That’s the biggest issue I have when I see owners make statements. If you’re losing money why is the value of a franchise increasing? Unless the owner is willing to open his books it’s hard to believe them. He says his team lost 15 million last year, but who’s to say his salary and the 2 owners he bought out didn’t account for 16 million in paid salary to show a loss?

  7. 66gdub - Jan 31, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    He’s a rich guy who appreciates hockey and he owns a team because he enjoys the sport. Good for him!

  8. bmg40 - Jan 31, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    Now if he could only get SAP to work properly we’d be all set!

  9. sjsharks66 - Jan 31, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    @philly

    You have no idea what you are talking about. Go check how long san jose has been selling out games. Go back to watching rinaldo elbow everyone in sight.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 1, 2013 at 10:31 AM

      I meant no offense to the San Jose fan base. I know they are a successful franchise with a loyal fan base. What I was really referring to was the Forbes report that only three teams are making money. In that report it said that San Jose is one of the teams recording losses. But if you look at my second comment I talk about the actuality of profits compared to what HRR reports. Meanwhile, Canadian teams are doing better with HRR. My first comment was in response to your owner talking about how he operates at a loss when in fact he is making plenty of money. He’s only operating at a loss under the guise of HRR which leaves plenty of revenue streams unreported.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 1, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      And by the way, I hate Rinaldo. Dirty player, I will never defend anything he does.

  10. vanindeed - Jan 31, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    You cannot make money with a hockey team………………unless it’s in Canada

  11. bagjr387 - Feb 1, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    You cant? Ask Tom Golisano. Made a fortune off of the bankrupt Sabres. As much as people are happy he “saved” the team, he made a fortune. Like nearly $100 mil. So the owner of the sharks can suck it, because what he sells the team for will be worth way more than he paid

  12. lsxphotog - Feb 1, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    If you can’t make money with a hotel or a golf club, you’re just an idiot. I play with the GM of a Golf Resort and trust me…gold clubs bring in loads of cash.

  13. sjsharks66 - Feb 1, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    @philly

    Sorry for coming in so harsh. I see what you mean now! Also glad we can both agree that rinaldo sucks.

  14. Jeff - Feb 1, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    Contract the league! Go back to six teams!

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