It’s going to be harder to get a grasp on the Carolina Hurricanes’ annual finances.
Gale Force Sports & Entertainment, the team’s parent company, will no longer report two annual hockey-related revenue figures to the Centennial Authority, the PNC Arena landlord – the amount received by the team from the NHL and from its local television contract.
Gale Force requested the change, approved by the authority finance committee Nov. 10, saying those figures were “proprietary trade secret information.” The authority’s annual financial report, which is not an audit, is submitted to determine the amount of arena rent owed by Gale Force to the authority each year – $2.45 million in 2016.
Don Waddell, the Gale Force president, said Thursday the team was not being less transparent about the team’s financial standing.
Never miss a local story.
“It was a very inaccurate report because not everything is reported in it, so we just said … let’s go back to what’s required by our lease agreement with the Centennial Authority,” Waddell said. “We fulfilled our lease obligation.
“What you were getting before was just half the revenues in some areas … (and) painted a picture that was untrue. So we’re going to just cut that out and just give what we feel is deemed by our lease agreement. It eliminates all the other questions about people trying to guess are the Hurricanes and Gale Force making money or not making money.”
The authority report for fiscal 2015 listed total revenue for “Hurricanes Hockey LP” as about $96 million, a slight dip from the $97.5 million in 2014. Hockey expenses were not listed.
Of those totals, which Waddell said included NHL revenue-sharing, NHL revenue was reported at $43.25 million in fiscal 2015, an increase of more than $3 million from fiscal 2014. Television revenue in each year was about $14.4 million.
Waddell would not release the NHL and television figures for fiscal 2016 on Thursday, but said the total revenue for the team was more than $100 million.
The latest Forbes NHL team valuations, released Wednesday, valued the Hurricanes at $230 million — last in the league — and its revenue at $99 million.
Asked if those figures were accurate, Waddell said, “No, where do they get this stuff? We don’t know where they get these numbers.”
In explaining hockey revenue discrepancies, Waddell said the player escrow totals were not included in the report. A portion of a player’s salary is held in escrow each year, and the amount of money returned to the player based on the league’s revenue total for the year.
Waddell said the escrow totals for 2013-2014 weren’t settled until this past summer, saying, “That’s $8 million right off the bat.”
The authority will continue to receive financial information from Gale Force, which operates the arena, on such line items as arena admissions, advertising, suite sales and parking.
The 2016 report said admission revenue was about $21.7 million, a drop from $22.5 million in 2015. Suite revenue of $4.8 million was the same.
The Canes are last in the NHL in average home attendance this season at 10,907 after nine games, or 58.4 percent of capacity. Waddell, in a Nov. 18 media availability, said teams are less reliant on admission revenue under the collective bargaining agreement reached in 2013, also benefiting from a big spike in league television revenue.
The press conference was held to refute a media report in Canada that Canes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. could be close to selling the team to a group that might seek to relocate the franchise.
“There’s not a chance,” Waddell said Thursday. “This franchise is not going anywhere.”