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Tribune - Blackhawks Still Losing Money, Just Not As Much

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I'm wondering how much creative accounting there is in there, but there were some nuggets that especially made my hair stand on end... One consequence: Season ticket prices will increase by an average of 20 percent this fall, which is projected to rocket them from the second-cheapest in the National Hockey League three seasons ago to among the 10 most expensive, according to the team. And fans should expect "more modest" increases in the future, team owner Rocky Wirtz said. And Wirtz has been able to mine all sorts of synergies between the liquor business and the sports franchise. For the coming season, the Blackhawks plan to add two more bars on the 300 level of the United Center, which are likely to include Wirtz Beverage brands, in addition to the two bars they installed last season. But, most importantly, and with fewer goosebumps: Wirtz said the plan is to increase sponsorships, the one traditional revenue source with room to grow; slowly raise ticket prices; draft well; and pay a premium for premium players so the team can contend for the Stanley Cup every year.

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