According to Forbes, Hasso Plattner is worth $8.9 billion. Which is to say, the German co-founder of software company SAP can afford to lose a few bucks as the majority owner of the San Jose Sharks.
And that’s a good thing — because despite the Sharks regularly playing in front of capacity crowds at the newly named SAP Center, the club has previously claimed losses of $15 million per season.
In January, after he purchased the shares in the organization formerly held by investors Kevin Compton and Stratton Sclavos, Plattner joked with reporters about the club’s financial situation.
“You cannot make money with a hockey team,” he said, per the Mercury News. “You cannot make money with a hotel, either, and you cannot make money with a golf club. I have all three of them. When you have a certain amount of money, you do silly things — because it’s pretty to have a golf course and it’s interesting to have a hockey team.”
However, he added, “that doesn’t mean that we don’t work hard to have a normal business.”
A few months later, in July, Plattner told reporters that the lockout — which resulted in a new CBA that fairly dramatically cut the players’ share of league revenue — hadn’t really changed things all that much.
“We’re struggling,” he said. “You know the other teams in the league are struggling, Phoenix and others. We have to find a way out of this. We cannot continue as usual. It is a serious problem. We tried to fix it.
“The fans should not suffer. We want to give them a good show. We still want to win the Cup. Our top players are getting a year older every year, but they’re still very competitive. We had a good run in the playoffs. Let’s see what we can do next year.”
Per CapGeek, the Sharks have one of the highest payrolls in the NHL. But with veterans Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Dan Boyle entering the final year of their contracts, cutting that payroll would be as simple as letting one, two, or all three walk.
This is why next season is considered one of the most critical in franchise history. A long playoff run would only add to the coffers, making it more palatable for ownership to continue spending to the cap. Anything less and a real changing of the guard could occur.
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