Meet the new owner
The Blue Jackets were, in a lot of ways, late owner John H. McConnell's baby, and when he died in late April, there were some legitimate concerns over just what would happen to the franchise.
Now we know.
McConnell's son, John P., had a good sit down with The Columbus Dispatch for Sunday's paper where he offered a pretty frank assessment of where the team was at:
Q: The ownership group meets next week for a financial update. Do you have those numbers?Deeper's a good euphemism for uglier, really, and that is likely to continue until they can start a winning tradition. I caught one game toward the end of the season in Columbus this year, and sat in the best seats in the house for about $80 — although Blue Jackets tickets are about in the midrange on average in the league.
A: We have them, sure, but I'm not going to divulge them. The (financial reality) is much deeper than say, if you looked down the road at five more years of this, it's deeper than any of the four (ownership) families are willing to accept. But I believe we've identified a number of things we can do to strengthen that situation, and No. 1 is putting a winning team on the ice and getting people back into the building.
The problem's been that no one's buying lately.
We haven't seen financial figures for the team, but my guess is Columbus lost a significant amount of money last season with a payroll under $40-million, and with that bumped up to the $45-million range for 2008-09, it's going to be awfully difficult to recoup that without some playoff dates.
The good news is that the younger McConnell sounds as if he's ready to make a valiant effort to make the team profitable — and that Jim Balsillie hasn't come calling.
All that said, I think they're headed in the right direction, and Scott Howson's done a decent job given the hand he was dealt. It just might take some patience.
Labels: Blue Jackets