Majority owner, CEO
Milwaukee Admirals Hockey Club
1001 N. Fourth St., Milwaukee
Industry: Professional hockey
Revenue: $3.2 million
Employees: Total of 48, 13 full-time and 35 seasonal
Harris Turer saved the Milwaukee Admirals by acquiring the franchise five years ago and has dramatically improved the hockey team’s operational and financial conditions.
After the Admirals’ previous owner, Jane Pettit, passed away, the team’s attendance sagged, and its future in Milwaukee was in jeopardy.
Today, under Turer’s leadership, the Admirals’ corporate sales are up 140 percent and ticket sales are up 19 percent. During the 2009-10 season, the team drew 241,073 fans at 40 home games, an average of over 6,000 fans per game and a 22 percent increase.
Turer, who also sits on the Milwaukee Brewers board of directors, says he already knew the importance of professional sports in the Milwaukee community when he was presented the offer to purchase the Admirals.
Turer assembled a team of investors to buy the Admirals and accepted the challenge to lead the ownership group and sustain a professional hockey team in Milwaukee.
“For us, the most important thing was to buy the team and identify what it is,” said Turer. “Once we understood the true definition of a minor league team playing in a town of major league (sports) we were able to move forward.”
Contributing to the team success was a logo change in 2007, which increased visibility in the community and increased merchandising sales, and the organization’s focus on affordable, family-oriented entertainment, Turer said.
“For the 2010-11 season, we will continue our marketing strategy,” he said. “This year, we had two games that sold 15,000-plus tickets, and we need to make sure our events continue to sell.”
Turer is the grandson of Master Lock Inc. founder Harry Soref. Turer says he knew that he wanted to be an entrepreneur since he worked at Firstar Bank (now known as U.S. Bank).
“I knew I wanted to be my own boss, owning my success and failure,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without the community supporting the growth and success of Master Lock. Today, I’m able to make Milwaukee a better place to live, a better place to visit. It is something I am very proud of and I have a responsibility to give back.”