Written by Tommy Scott on Facebook
sorry about the spelling...no spell check on facebook!
Some people don't understand why the uncertainty of ice hockey in the area so I thought I would shed some light on the issue for you. I dont blame our fans...you guys are fantastic and high quality. I just wish we had more of you.
Believe me...no one wants hockey in Shreveport-Bossier more than me. I think my actions over the past two years speak for themselves. I certainly put my money where my mouth was and made the commitment...for better or worse. After taking a financial beating over the past two years and everything that comes with that, the fact that I can even consider going into another season is absolutely insane. But hey...there's just something about this that is truely special.
Winning the cup is a great feeling and something all of us - players, staff, sponsors, and fans all deserve. No one can take it away and I hope all are soaking it up. Now that the celebration is winding down, reality returns with thoughts of next season.
With all this cool stuff happening on the ice, what's the problem? Why stop now? It's very simple and complicated at the same time. Simply - This organization doesnt produce enough revenue to match the expenses or even come close. Just like if your own personal expenses were more than you you can make, you would have to make some changes or file bancruptcy. Either way, you cant keep spending more than you make. I do not have an endless supply of money and I have a family to protect and care for. Hockey is great but I would chose my family over it any day and i hope you would too. Complicated - many moving parts and I do not not have time to explain.
Winning is very expensive. Having a quality team and organization is expensive. Hockey at any level is expensive and "AA" minor pro hockey is no different. Besides...17 other teams want to win too. To expect a great team every year is unreasonable and winning a championship every year is not possible. The fact that we have won 4 cups in 6 finals appearances and been to the playoffs 13 out of 14 times is extremely successful. Despite those stats, attendance is down every year and so is corporate sponsorship. I can promise you that the cost of operating a team never goes down, only up every year.
Why not cut expenses? We have but you can only do so much cutting before you cant operate efficiently or remain competitive. Low cost and high quality usually dont go together. Let me ask you something...if we had a awful team, no customer service and no fun promotions at the games...would anyone be interested in coming to a game? I think not.
What about marketing? Sounds good but with what money? It's the chicken and the egg delimma. TV is expensive but we did spend about $20,000 more than last season in tv and radio and that's above any increases we had in trade. It didnt seem to do much. Did we get $20,000 more in ticket sales? I dont know. The P& L says not. I thought our promotions were better than before too. We use Facebook, Twitter, and the internet aggresively. We try everything we can. We can't put a gun to someones head and force them to buy a ticket.
What about more public appearances and community outreach? I think we have done more this season than ever before. Think about the food drive, coat drive, teddy bear toss, charity games (over $50,000 raised) and countless other activities. We taught hockey in schools for PE, visited hospitals, read to kids, etc, etc. These guys are here to play hockey but certainly do their part to better the community.
So what is the solution? #1 is we have to have more people support this organization. Support is an action, not a feeling. The best way to support the team is to buy a season ticket or tickets in general. That's the main source of revenue for the team. There is no way we shouldnt have at least 2500 season tickets in a metro area of over 400,000 including East Texas. Season tickets lay the foundation for every night of hockey. They are the only "sure thing" a team can count on. #2 is we need more corporate sponsorships and partners. That's a bit tougher but with the Haynesville Shale and other thriving businesses in the area, our economy is better than most areas of the country. Being a good corporate citizen means teaming up with organizations like the Mudbugs that also value the community. #3 is really an option even though #1 and #2 are the main focus. More partners in ownership can help spread the load that this family cant do by themselves anymore. If someone would like to own the team or be a partner then step up and talk to me. You will not make money but if we have enough of us to share the responsibility then the losses are a reasonable investment in a hobby and the community.
We can do this folks! Hope wont do it...only action will. Pass these words along to anyone you know who might be able to help. We just need to decide if the Mudbugs are worth having and if it's worth paying for. It takes a commitment from all of us. I have committed and I have paid for it. So did John Madden and Dr. Plaman. I cant do it alone and need the support from the citizens and businesses of Bossier City, Shreveport and the outlying area. Get behind this team and let's get 2,500 season ticket commitments over the next 10 days. Don't wait to see what will happen. Don't worry...if you commit with a deposit and next season doesnt happen, you will indeed get your money back. I personally gaurantee it. The quicker we get this done then the more time we have to focus on defending the cup and getting better as an organization. We provide jobs and a real economic impact to the area of approximately $2.5 million a year. We are responsible for approximately 50% of the events at the CenturyTel Center.
Share this info with your friends and collegues.