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What if the Oval was run like a sports team?

April 1, 2011
Lake Placid News
To the editor:

Suppose the owners of a professional sports franchise had baseball and basketball teams in the franchise; the baseball team had an average attendance of 50,000 while the basketball team drew 16,000.

Without being made aware of any details, the owners would likely be very happy with the baseball team and not so with the basketball team. But if the management had shown the owners detail that the baseball attendance was only 50 percent of capacity and the team was losing money while the basketball attendance was 90 percent capacity and “netting” a profit, wouldn’t the owner’s perception change?

Has ORDA management ever shown the board a net-income by venue: i.e. a separate figure from the mountains, the bobsled run, the Olympic Center, etc.?

Suppose that the sports franchise management were not letting fans into the basketball games. If the management were huge baseball fans, but not basketball, wouldn’t the owners be especially interested in this kind of information?

How can the board affectively advise management without this kind of information? I’m sure the mountains had great attendance this year, as did the speed skating oval …WHEN IT WAS OPEN.

The first Oval skating session of the season was Dec. 11 and the last was on Sunday (March 13). On the surface, it doesn’t look too bad (3 months), but wait, the Oval was closed to skating for 29 days during that time. So in reality the Oval was only open for 2 months and NOT 3!

So what is the relative importance of losing more money vs. operating the venues? The Oval nets a venue profit. If losing more money were NOT a priority for ORDA, then the Oval should have a full season from Nov. 1 to March 31.

If losing money WERE a priority then the Oval should still run the whole season and perhaps the management should shorten the season at other venues.

Is not the board concerned that, over 15 years, ORDA has had an accumulated operating loss of around $200 million? If any sports franchise had losing seasons for 15 years, it would be time for a shakeup: trades, replacements or firings.

Unlike the sports franchise owners, the ORDA board members are not majority owners of ORDA; the real owners are the people of the state of New York.

Pat Kelly

Lake Placid


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