Thursday, May 21, 2009

Forbes Magazine: Chicago Blackhawks Great Turnaround

Forbes Magazine takes a look into the business aspect of sports and how the classic original six team, the Chicago Blackhawks enjoy success again:
The Greatest Sports-Business Turnaround Ever

Rocky Wirtz's rapid reinvention of the Blackhawks has largely been due to his decision to hire John McDonough as team president, a marketing guru who emerged from baseball's Chicago Cubs. McDonough quickly modernized an organization that until recently did not have a human resources manager or even a receptionist.

McDonough moved the Blackhawks' radio broadcasts to regional powerhouse WGN Radio, organized a summer Blackhawks convention and secured the outdoor hockey game the NHL puts on during New Year's Day. He scrapped the team's ad agency and its outdated rotunda pricing scheme, under which all tickets on each arena level cost the same, whether for the corners or center ice.

McDonough also instituted a commitment to winning. He fired coach Denis Savard after winning only once in this season's first four games, replacing him with Joel Quenneville, who has guided the Blackhawks on-ice success.

This is a feel good story to me, and I loved reading it. If the NHL is to survive in the US, then it's got to get back to its roots, with real fans and traditional teams. I don't see the Hawks getting past Detroit, but I am rooting for them.

Question: Is there a better uniform in hockey than the Blackhawks?


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