San Jose Sharks owner Hasso Plattner is widely considered to be one of the smartest entrepreneurs in the world as well as a well-recognized philanthropist who has helped revolutionize the technology industry in his home country of Germany. Worth an estimated $7.2 billion, Plattner understands how the business world works and it seems he's not expected any profits from his hockey team to be hitting his pockets any time soon.
Plattner aquired a larger majority stake of the Sharks franchise after purchasing the shares of minority owners Kevin Compton and Stratton Sclavos, who had been acting as figureheads of Sharks Sports and Entertainment ownership group. The newly constructed ownership group will not have a CEO, with Plattner acting as the new figurehead for the team.
Plattner spoke with the media this week to discuss the business of running the Sharks, a franchise that claimed a $15 million loss last season:
"You cannot make money with a hockey team," said Plattner. "You cannot make money with a hotel, either, and you cannot make money with a golf club. I have all three of them (laughs)."
The new de facto owner of the Sharks doesn't see a dire situation ahead for the franchise, however, with the team typically spending at or near the salary cap despite some financial hardships of the past few seasons. Plattner boasts of his good line of credit and deep pockets, telling team officials and employees they should not be worried about the team.
A hockey fan since he was a kid, Plattner is committed to maintaining the Sharks as one of the top teams in the Western Conference. That sort of attitude from the billionaire is needed in NHL ownership groups, which has been plagued with poorly-financed businessmen, where a good chunk of franchises have struggled to turn a profit from year to year.
"We want to continue as much as possible the same way," said Plattner. "We still want to have a championship team and win the Stanley Cup. That's clearly the number one objective of a sports club, otherwise you should not be in the sports business."