Speaking on the eve of the Ducks' season opener at San Jose on Saturday — the club's 23rd
Profitability, Henry Samueli said Friday, "is something to dream about. I think it's not impossible for that to occur. As long as we can continue this steady climb it's definitely possible and it's certainly a goal, at least to get to break-even. A grand goal. If we get to break-even we're all drinking champagne."
Under the labor agreement that took effect for the 2012-13 season, the Ducks for the first time were allowed to participate in the league's revenue-sharing program. They had been excluded on the basis they were in a large media market. They get a 50% share of what the calculations would otherwise dictate.
That factor, combined with increased local TV rights fees, has helped keep the numbers palatable.
"We're still losing money, but it's getting better and we're on a good path and we feel good about it," Henry Samueli said. "Fortunately my other businesses are doing well.
Henry Samueli, co-founder of the semiconductor company Broadcom, and his wife, Susan, who's active in the family's many philanthropic efforts, purchased the management contract for Anaheim's
The Samuelis spent about $100 million on improvements to the city-owned building, including a new, $10-million scoreboard. They also purchased the minor league Norfolk (Va.)
The Samuelis invested in new locker rooms and dasher boards at the Valley View Casino Center, and arena manager AEG funded other renovations. The Samuelis are developing a new practice facility for the Gulls in Poway and plan to build a new practice facility for the Ducks and for community use in Irvine.
"Our Learn to Play program is so successful they're running out of ice time at every rink," Susan Samueli said. "So it's really important that we get another rink out there."
Both endorsed General Manager Bob Murray and his ability to assemble a team that last season had the best record in the West.
"Every year we've been improving, first round, second round, third round. Knock on wood, we'll keep improving again," Henry Samueli said of the last three playoff exits. "I feel good going into this season that this is a very strong team and has a chance to go deep into the playoffs."
Susan Samueli praised players' good chemistry. "Bob has done an unbelievable job pulling this team together," she said.
Henry Samueli also said the prospect of bringing an
Defenseman Simon Despres, who was acquired from Pittsburgh in March to be a depth player but earned a prominent role, signed a five-year, $18.5-million contract extension through the 2020-21 season. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound native of Laval, Canada, had one goal, six points and a plus-two defensive rating in 16 regular-season games with the Ducks, and a goal, seven points and a plus-four rating in 16 playoff games. He averaged 18 minutes 40 seconds' ice time with the Ducks during the regular season and 20:46 during the playoffs.