Case ID: KEL671
Solution ID: 15883

The Chicago Blackhawks Greatest Sports Business Turnaround Ever

Overview of Case Solution

This case explores the turnaround and corporate renewal of the Chicago Black hawks professional hockey team, which transformed from one of the worst-run organizations in all of professional sports in 2007 to one that won the Stanley Cup (the National Hockey League championship trophy) in 2010. W. Rockwell "Rocky" Wirtz was faced with making critical decisions shortly after inheriting the team from his father, who was the individual most associated with the organization's decline. The team faced financial trouble and had narrowly avoided missing payroll; the previous customer relations strategy (which included refusing to televise home games or to conduct effective marketing) had resulted in significantly diminished brand value; and management and player personnel were devoid of effective leadership. At its nadir, the team was named "The Worst Franchise in Professional Sports" by ESPN in 2004. After assuming control, Rocky embarked on an ambitious corporate renewal strategy that included the following components: � Leadership: Install a new management team with clear goals and creative ideas about how to turn around the organization  � Culture: Reward players for accomplishing their goals and establish a performance-based culture  � Financial: Seek new corporate sponsorship's and increase ticket prices once the team established a winning record Brand and Marketing: Send a clear message that the team was intent upon winning the championship and design a customer-focused marketing strategy.


Change management, Competitive strategy, Corporate strategy, Family businesses, Leadership, Organizational culture, Reputations

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