If and when we have NHL hockey this season, the Avs will probably once again be among the league's lower 3rd in terms of player payroll. Maybe they'll finally step up a little bit from dead last at the end of 2012, and 29th out of 30 at the end of 2011, but they'll certainly be miles away from the competitive payroll they used to ice year after year while competing for Cups and filling the Can unlike any other NHL team had ever packed a building.
Given these facts, we know that Enos Stanley Kroenke (friends call him Stan, frustrated fans call him Enos) is not currently willing to spend on his Denver-based hockey franchise. (I had ideas on how he could spend on the team in this fanpost, who would have thunk that Minnesota would have been the ones landing Parise and Suter?). However, what makes this situation more intuitively frustrating is his position within our sports-crazed Denver community. I posit that no other NHL owner is positioned better within a community to print his own money than Enos, given his related holdings. I would even posit that it isn't even close. So I decided to put these posits to a test. Unfortunately, a wiki-test because this is the fricken internet, I'm in my underwear in my mom's basement, and I've got nowhere else to go. More after the jump.
Let's start with Enos and his entertainment company, KSE, still the official owner of our beloved hockey franchise until he has to officially do something by December of 2014 due the NFL rules because he also owns the St. Louis Rams. From our friend wiki, Enos owns the Avalanche, the NBA Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Mammoth indoor lacrosse team, the Pepsi Center (including a 12,000 square-foot condo appended to the Pepsi Center), an associated ticket company called TicketHorse, and a regional broadcasting network called Altitude. Additionally within the Denver area, he owns the Colorado Rapids soccer team and their venue, Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Outside of Denver, in addition to the Rams, Enos owns almost 63% of the English Premier League soccer team Arsenal. Oh, and as of last year his net worth was estimated to be approximately $3.2 billion, or about half of his wife's net worth in terms of her stake in Walmart.
In summary, he's a very rich and successful business man who married into even more wealth, he has holdings in prominent sports outside of Denver, he has an unbelievable sports monopoly in the Denver area especially surrounding the Avs and Nuggets, and he can't even buy us a new jumbo-tron or spend money on player payroll for his hockey team.
So how does he compare to other NHL owners? A quick run through of wiki provides the following brief summaries. Their completeness is only as good as wiki allows. Which probably isn't great, but internet ... blog .... underwear .... you get the picture.
Anaheim Ducks: Henry and Susan Samueli
Henry became rich by founding a semiconductor company. I was just thinking about doing that the other day. After my plan of marrying a Walmart heir failed. He owns the Ducks and the management company that operates the city-owned arena they play in. Strike him off of the related monopoly list.
Boston Bruins: Jeremy Jacobs
Jacobs owns the Bruins and does own the company that owns and operates the arena that the Bruins and Celtics play in. Therefore, he's doing OK. But unlike Enos, Jacobs cares about his hockey team, to the point where they actually won a cup a few year ago. He doesn't, however, own the Celtics, or a broadcast network, or a ticket company. So he's still not in the Enos monopoly ballpark.
Buffalo Sabres: Terrence Pegula
Pegula became very wealthy in Natural Gas. He is a recent NHL owner who seems very committed to spending money to compete. His wiki article isn't much. But as far as I can gather, he only also owns an indoor lacrosse team in Buffalo. No Enos monopoly sports monopoly here.
Good Roy, this is going to take forever. Screw that. Calgary, no. Carolina, no. Chicago, no. But I did like this bit:
Rocky Wirtz "believes in spending money to make money,"
Columbus? Right, it's fricken Columbus. Dallas? Not Cuban, sorry. Detroit? Mike Ilitch of Pizza Pizza fame does also own the MLB Tigers and most of their ballpark. No mention of a monopoly directly surrounding the Wings, however. Edmonton, no. Florida, no.
LA Kings: Philip Anschutz and AEG
Actually this guy may come close to silent Stan in terms of a monopoly plus his other holdings. No, he doesn't own the storied LA Lakers. But AEG does own the Staples Center, and a ton of other stuff. Oh, and they won the Cup last season.
Suddenly big spending Minnesota and Craig Leipold? No. Montreal, beer money and the arena, but no. Nashville? Lord no. New Jersey, no.
NY Islanders: Charles Wang
I found his wiki entry to be somewhat interesting. No, he doesn't have an Enos-like monopoly. But for a guy who has thrown away millions of dollars on Yashins and DiPietros, he also had the nerve to say this?
Wang has stated that he regrets buying the team and would not do so if he could choose again.
Also interesting from that wiki article:
A Forbes article investigated why certain NHL franchises could remain profitable despite poor attendance and overall league unprofitability. They found that several league owners underreported their cable broadcast revenue; they specifically accused Wang of excluding half of the $17 million paid to the Islanders for the 2003 cable broadcast season.
One has to wonder what sorts of games that someone who owns so many related entities to a team could play in terms of bookkeeping, huh? Enos? But I digress.
NY Rangers: MSG, Inc.
They win. They do spend money, and they do make money hand over fist in the biggest market in the country. Enos must be aspiring to have a little MSG-like empire in the Rockies. But they are the first NHL franchise owners who prove my posits to be wrong. Not sure why I didn't know this?
Ottawa, no, although their owner does have some nice surrounding pieces and is committed financially. Philly, Ed Snider and Comcast do pretty well. But do not have some of the other surrounding pieces. Phoenix, owned by NHL. Pittsburgh, no. San Jose, no. St. Louis, no. Tampa Bay, no.
Another winner, also building upon the MSG and KSE model. I posit that they will spend on the Leafs, however, but I also posit that they will still suck.
Vancouver, does also own the arena, but no.
Washington: Ted Leonsis
Another MSG model, another winner. I did not know how much he owned. Now I do.
So there you have it. First, mea culpa, I posited incorrectly. Three other owners, those for the NY Rangers, Toronto, and Washington, have similar sports empires, all in bigger markets than Enos. And the owner of the Kings does come close. However, all of them actually spend money on their hockey teams, unlike Enos. You can draw your own conclusions from here. I spent a lot of time on this. Now I feel like this guy.