Q&A with Darren Abbott, Part Two, Page 2
MV: I'm guessing that ticket sales are your greatest source of revenue, and salaries are your biggest expenditure. What are the percentages there?
DA: “Seventy percent of your revenue comes in during the summer. That's tickets, corporate revenue and groups. Tickets are 65ish percent, corporate signage and some ancillary things like merchandise and concessions that make up the rest. But tickets are at least 60 percent. Salaries at this level are thankfully capped. It would be about 15-20 percent [of expenditures]. It's nothing like the major league model. It's capped; it's $10,850 a week. The only wiggle room is with [injured reserve]. A lot of teams will have $500 to $1,000 sitting on IR that's not on the roster. We've avoided that a little bit this year. That's all luck of the draw to be honest with you.
“When Matt Reid, who's is one of our highest paid players, when he's in Hershey, we're not paying him. And we're probably filling his spot with a player who is making league minimum for that week and a half, two weeks. You're always going to have $10,850 on the cap, basically. And then you might have two or three injured players that aren't on your cap. And that's where the expenses can really grow. This year we've had a pretty good year. If you have a lot of injuries, it gets expensive. Call-ups actually help you in a way. There are some travel costs and things like that but they help your bottom line.
“Obviously it doesn't help us on the ice to have Matt Reid in Hershey. It's kind of a trade-off there, and I don't want people to think that we want people to get called up. Some teams have a higher budget for those IR spots than we do. We've basically said, 'Let's not keep as many guys around. If we run into problems, then we'll find solutions. Let's wait until we run into problems before we just have guys sitting around.'
“Then we've got to come up with housing. Housing makes that [cost] grow; it moves the meter a little bit. Medical costs are expensive. It costs the same for an MRI for Alex Ovechkin as it does for Nate Kiser. It's a lot of money for us, whereas an MRI to the Washington Capitals probably isn't that big a deal. So medical is big, workman's comp is big, and housing. There's travel. Travel is not that bad. We stay in decent hotels, we don't fly, and we have a bus that's pretty nice. Player costs are almost exactly one half of our budget. But we also have our coaches' salaries and our trainers' salaries on that part of the budget. Travel, medical, equipment, coaches, players, insurance - that's 50 percent of our budget. Everything else is what we pay the staff, what it costs to keep the lights on in the Coliseum, building costs. We don't own our building so we have to pay license fee to be in there, and things of that nature like marketing.”
MV: Now a guy like Sasha Pokulok who is on a Washington Capitals contract, do the Caps pay their entire salary or do you pay a portion?
DA: “No. I think we pay a max of $500 a week. Pokulok could be making $100,000 a year for all I know, but all we're going to pay him is $500 a week. The Caps pay him, period, and then we reimburse the Caps. We'll get a bill every two weeks to a month that has that $500 times whatever number of players we have. This is all in our league by-laws, exactly what you pay. And I think we pay their health and welfare and some other costs, payroll taxes and things like that.”