Fever "on the cusp" of profitability

June 5, 2009
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fever The news that the Indiana Fever is seeking a corporate sponsor to put its logos on players’ jerseys might give fans the idea that the WNBA franchise is drowning in debt.

Not true, said team chief operating officer Kelly Krauskopf. While the Fever operation is not flush with cash, it is inching ever closer to profitability heading into its 10th season.

“We’re just trying to move over the hump,” Krauskopf said. “We’re right on the cusp.”

Despite the worst economic times since the Great Depression, Krauskopf said sponsorship sales are up 10 percent compared to where the franchise was a year ago.

“We got more aggressive and got out earlier this year with our marketing plan and our sponsorship sales,” Krauskopf said. “We just got this asset out in front of people early and were able to get strong renewals and bring in a couple of new sponsors.”

Season ticket sales (around 2,500) are roughly flat, but Krauskopf is hopeful that mini-season and single-game ticket sales will be up a bit this year. Krauskopf is hopeful a strong run by the Fever at a WNBA championships will help. She is confident she has built a team to compete for the title this year. The team’s attendance was 7,702 per game last year, up 7.2 percent over 2007.

The good news is coming at an opportune time. Team co-owner Herb Simon (who also owns the Indiana Pacers) has said this is a critical year in evaluating the WNBA franchise and its long-term future here. Simon and Pacers President Jim Morris have been unabashed Fever supporters.

Krauskopf is undaunted by the make-or-break talk.

“Every season is make or break,” Krauskopf said. “Every year we have to show progress. We’re trying to build a business for Mr. Simon, that’s the bottom line.”

For a more in-depth profile of Krauskopf and her efforts to build the Fever franchise, see the June 8 IBJ.
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  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

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