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Wrigleyville, T-Shirt Shops Profit from Chicago Blackhawks Title

Chicago Blackhawks win Stanley Cup but lost out on extra payday

| BY Kent McDill

Bars and restaurants in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood benefitted from the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory Monday, but the Blackhawks organization missed out on an extra payday.

For restaurateurs and tavern owners, a long playoff run for any professional sports team means added revenue on game nights. The Blackhawks played 23 games to win the Cup, and that’s 23 nights of increased patron multi-tasking, as Chicago residents eat and drink while they view the game on multiple big-screen monitors.

When the Blackhawks scored twice in the game’s final minute to clinch the Cup Monday, the Wrigleyville neighborhood exploded with celebration, and the area business owners that were providing celebratory food and drink were reeling in added revenue.

Because Monday was an off-day for the Chicago Cubs, and no pre- or post-game crowd was availing themselves of the area’s bars and restaurants, the Blackhawks’ game came as an added evening of revenue.

Other companies benefitting from the title run include Chicago-based Sharprint Manufacturers of Decorated Apparel, which began producing licensed Blackhawks Stanley Cup champion T-shirts within seconds of the final seconds of the game.

“We had probably 40 or 50 people waiting to get to work,’’ said George Kilian, founder of Sharprint. “We weren’t sure we should set up, especially when they went down 2-1 (late in the third period). But we knew it was going to be kind of tight. It was that kind of series. But they won, and we have been printing about 2,500 shirts an hour.”   

But, just as they did in 2010, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on the home ice of the other team. In 2010, the Blackhawks won the series four games to two with a Game 6 victory in Philadelphia. On Monday, the Blackhawks were in Boston’s TD Garden to win Game 6 and the championships.

By doing so, the Blackhawks deprived the team of yet another payday, one the team would appreciate, because playoff games are profit-laden events.

Despite increased popularity and revenue stemming from a change of ownership attitudes following the death of long-time owner Williams Wirtz, the Blackhawks do not make a profit on their own. Crain’s Chicago Business, following a recent interview with owner Rocky Wirtz, estimated the Blackhawks lost $10 to $20 million over the 2012-13 NHL season.

Negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players union caused the season to be shortened to 48 games from the norm of 81 per season, and the team kept approximately 100 employees on the payroll during the lockout when no revenue was coming in. Crain’s estimated the Blackhawks made approximately $15 million from ticket sales for the playoffs.

But if the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins had played a Game Seven at the United Center on Wednesday, the Blackhawks would have had yet another extra day of revenue. Keep in mind too that players do not get paid extra from the team for playing in the playoffs. Instead, they get playoff bonuses from the league which increase with each round they advance to.

Of course, the Blackhawks might not have won a Game Seven, so you won’t hear much complaining from the team about missing out on an extra game night.

The Blackhawks also benefit from increased merchandising sales. Not only will they gain revenue from Stanley Cup champion merchandise, they also gained revenue from Western Conference championship merchandise sold during the two weeks of the Cup finals.

About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.