The Winnipeg Jets are here to stay, make no mistake about it

Photo credit:© James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
12 days ago
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With the recent announcement that the Arizona Coyotes are relocating to Salt Lake City at the end of this season, should Winnipeg Jets fans be worried that their team is next? Absolutely not, despite an unfortunate trend of seeing a decline in the number of ticket sales. Bartley Kives’ article, from CBC News Manitoba got me intrigued about this topic, and had me reflect on the future direction of this franchise.
Now, it’s not rocket science, you know that the Winnipeg Jets play in one of the smaller markets in the NHL. But that hasn’t stopped them from putting together a competitive team on the ice, and building a fanbase that is one of the most passionate in the league. With that in mind, how then is the company that owns the Jets able to say that the team has never lost money since the team relocated from Atlanta to Manitoba in 2011?
It all begins with Canada Life Centre at the heart of downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba. This arena is not only the home of the Winnipeg Jets, but also their AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. That’s where True North Sports & Entertainment comes in, because they’ve been able to successfully manage the industry in and around the arena. Ticket sales are important for sure, they are a big part of the equation to make a profit, but that’s just one part of it. Merchandise is another aspect that can make any team more money. I don’t know about you, but the Jets have what some may considerate a top 5 logo & jersey combination in the league. You also can’t forget that the Winnipeg Jets are Winnipeg’s one and only major sports teams, so all of the attention is on them during hockey season.
Going back to the money talk, because profit is usually what people use as a strong measure as to if a franchise is truly succeeding or not, whether that’s a good measure or not. True North Sports & Entertainment is a privately held company, which means that all of their “money numbers” are not available to the public. So how then can Jets fans know if the team really is making a profit? Well, I guess we have to take the word of Jets co-owner Mark Chipman in his interview with CBC.
The point that stood out the most from his interview was when Chipman said
“From an overall perspective, no, we’ve never lost money in our NHL years.”
What could be keeping the company in the green then? Is it something less tangible then what goes on at Canada Life Centre? Jets games, Moose games, and I forgot to mention earlier, concerts or other similar events, are all important to the success of the company. But I have to go back to merchandising. It’s a combination of merchandising, broadcast rights and any other ways of making money that keeps the Winnipeg Jets company in the green.
The NHL salary cup certainly plays a role in everything too, because if you think about, having a hard salary cap for all thirty-two teams is what helps smaller markets be able to have an equal opportunity at building a competitive product on the ice.
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Rewinding to earlier this season, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had his own words regarding the future of the Winnipeg Jets. Some of what was said by Bettman had Jets fans rather upset, including when he said
“Get over your anxiety and come to games.”
Those words were quite shocking to some people, especially Jets fans, and they could have been interpreted in a various number of ways. However, what Gary Bettman was trying to get at, with poor wording albeit, had to do with the attendance at Jets games not being good enough. So as Mark Chipman mentioned, they haven’t lost money yet, but if the attendance doesn’t improve in the coming seasons, it will eventually cause financial problems for True North Sports & Entertainment.
So where do the Winnipeg Jets go from here? Well, of course the team has all of their energy focused on the upcoming 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs that begin in around one week. The goal of course is to win a Stanley Cup, which is why the owners continue to choose to keep the Jets on the competitive side of the league. Think back to last summer, do you remember all the rumours that were swirling around some of the star players? Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck stayed, and the Pierre-Luc Dubois trade wasn’t just for draft picks, but rather for players that could keep this team competitive this season.
Make no mistake about it, the Winnipeg Jets are here to stay in the NHL. The team, and the owners embrace the challenges of playing for one of the smallest markets in the NHL. The fans are there to support them night in, night out, and it should only be a matter of time before the attendance reflects the on-ice performance of the team. Everyone is committed to the one goal that every sports franchise has, which is bringing their city home a championship, and the Winnipeg Jets are on the right path to making that goal a reality.


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