Jets among NHL's richest teams
|Chipman is pleased with all the cash his team is raking in, but not so pleased with the Jets missing the playoffs. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)
True North always thought its hockey team would be one of the NHL’s have-nots, so it studied the league’s revenue sharing program closely as it pursued a franchise.
The return of the Jets ended up being much bigger than anyone expected, however, so True North won’t have to rely on the league’s richer franchises. That’s because, as it turns out, the Jets are one of them.
True North chairman Mark Chipman held his year-end state of the franchise address on Friday morning, and he revealed the Jets made enough of a profit that they will not be one of the league’s revenue-sharing teams.
“It’s exceeded our expectations,” Chipman told reporters. “When we first modelled this business, we did so really quite carefully. We had the benefit of those years leading up, and we looked at where we thought we would fit in, and initially we thought we would be a rev-share team.”
There were plenty of naysayers who figured the Jets would be a have-not franchise, but they have sold season tickets as far as five years down the road, you can’t go five minutes without seeing a Jets logo when out and about in Winnipeg, and they have a regional television deal with TSN.
The basic premise of the league’s revenue sharing plan is the top 10 earning teams contribute to a pool that is then distributed to the bottom 15 earners.
“Our revenue’s exceeded the point at which we are allowed to participate in revenue sharing, so we feel really good about that,” Chipman said. “Where we might have had to be a beneficiary, we’re not.”
Considering where the Jets were financially when they left town 16 years ago, that might be one of the first season’s highlights right there.
That’s because Chipman, who is known for his competitive streak, is none too pleased that his team isn’t headed to the playoffs.
“While we have clearly a long-term plan to be successful in this league, we also had a short-term plan, and that was to make the playoffs,” Chipman said. “We didn’t do that, so in that respect this season did not live up to my expectations.”
As for Year 2, Chipman said the team will stick with its plan of developing the younger players. He didn’t, however, rule out going out and buying some talent.
“If there’s an opportunity to make our team better through free agency,” Chipman said, “we certainly will consider that this summer.”