2003 - 2004
July 17, 2004
Generals post loss for season
The loss could be as high as a quarter-million dollars if a group of local businessmen fails to make payment.
BY MATT WILLIAMS
GREENSBORO - The Greensboro Generals hockey team lost $59,187 last season, with cost-cutting measures and a winning season on the ice unable to bring the government-run team out of the red.
That loss could potentially grow larger if a group of local businessmen fails to honor a pledge to contribute $200,000 to keep the team in the city.
Matt Brown - Photo Credit: The News & Record
Coliseum Director Matt Brown, who managed the team, said he was pleased with the financial results, which he said were on target with his projections at the beginning of the year.
"To hit (a $59,000 loss), I think we did pretty good." Brown said. "Obviously I would have liked it to be on the plus side."
Even before the team's finances were finalized, the City Council opted to end the unique arrangement that made the city the financier and operator of a professional sports team. Brown is working to find private owners to take over the team.
A year ago, council members concurred with a plan proposed by Brown to take control of the team from Greensboro attorney Art Donaldson, who said he could no longer afford to bankroll the team's persistent losses. Under the arrangement, the city was responsible for paying all of the team's expenses and collected ticket and advertising revenues. The team's coach, Rick Adduono, was listed on the city's payroll.
Bill Black - Photo Credit: The News & Record
A group of local businessmen, led by Don Brady and Bill Black, legally held the franchise rights and pledged to contribute $200,000 to the team's expenses. The group planned to raise money from a large group of local residents to take over the team, but Black has said those efforts were largely unsuccessful.
The financial report issued by the coliseum includes the $200,000 payment, but business manager Laura Smith said it has yet to be received. Brown said he expects Brady and Black's holding company, the Generals Brigade, to make the payment, but he was unsure when it would come. Brown said he asked the businessmen when they would produce the money but has yet to receive a response.
Reached by telephone, Black said he could not comment on the payment or his involvement with the Generals because of a lawsuit filed by a former coach. The city is also named as a defendant in that lawsuit. Brady could not be reached for comment.
Brown never promised profits from the franchise but said he could bring the team close to breaking even. Individually, the team lost $376,071 last season even with moves to lower expenses far below other teams in the ECHL. The team only approaches profitability by adding the payment from Brady and Black's group and figuring in profits typically kept by the coliseum from concessions and parking.
Ticket revenue decreased slightly this season from last year, partly because the team narrowly missed the league's playoffs. The team averaged 1,735 paying fans at each home game. Brown said the team's deficits could easily be closed in future seasons with increases in season ticket sales and corporate sponsorships. Brown said any losses the team incurred would be covered by a fund set aside to improve concession stands. The money came from an agreement to contract out the coliseum's concession operations to an outside company.
As for next season, Brown said he is in talks with three potential ownership groups about assuming the Generals franchise. One of those groups is an NHL franchise, and another is a group of out-of-town businessmen. Brown did not describe the third group.
ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna has given Brown until Tuesday to put a deal together, with a final agreement to come by the end of the week.
Brown characterized the season as a success, even if council members drew heat from constituents about the deal.
"It can't be anything but positive," Brown said.
Contact Matt Williams at 373-7004 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GREENSBORO GENERALS 2003-2004 FINANCIAL RESULTS