For Rocky Wirtz, owning a Stanley Cup winner is just a sideline his real financial pull comes from community banking.
The Chicago Blackhawks, which Wirtz's family owns, won its second National Hockey League championship in four years last month. Despite its success on the ice and booming television revenue, the team loses $10 million to $20 million a year because of high salary costs and low ticket prices, Wirtz told Crain's Chicago Business in June.
Fortunately for Wirtz, his two community banks are in better shape. The Wirtz family owns First National Bank of South Miami in Florida and First Security Trust and Savings Bank in Elmwood Park, Ill., two small banks that have managed to turn a profit in a tough environment.
The $497 million-asset First National reported a $396,000 profit in the first quarter of the year; it made $376,000 in 2012.
The $229 million-asset First Security returned to profitability in the second quarter, a bank board member told the Chicago Tribune last week.
It had to make a big comeback after the financial crisis, having lost $39 million in 2008 and been defrauded by a former employee of nearly $5 million. First Security narrowed its losses to $703,000 last year and $43,000 in the first quarter of 2013. Although it was exceedingly well capitalized at March 31, with a total risk-based capital ratio of 15.73%, its noncurrent loans made up 15.71% of total loans.
Wirtz, however, isn't thinking of getting out of the hockey business to dedicate himself full time to community banking. He told Crain's he expects the Blackhawks to return to profitability by 2015.
"You don't want [the Blackhawks] to be dependent on some other business to siphon off profits," he said.
But if he ever sold out, he'd have enough cash to go on a bank M&A shopping spree Forbes estimated the Blackhawks' value at $350 million.