Last updated on January 6th, 2021 at 11:47 am
“We are disappointed that we will be unable to play hockey for the current AHL season,” said Admirals owner and chief operating officer Harris Turer. “Unfortunately the prospect of playing the season without fans and the lack of any revenue was too difficult to manage.”
The team plans to return to the ice and welcome fans back to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena for the 2021-22 AHL season, beginning in October. The Admirals will then continue its partnership with its National Hockey League affiliate, the Nashville Predators.
Turer said the franchise has not had any revenue coming in for months and doesn’t expect cash flow to return for several more months. Turer said he is paying 19 full-time staff personally and no one has been cut.
“The decision I made a while ago was that I was going to continue to pay our staff… my staff and their families are my priority and they will continue to be and we will continue employing the entire staff all the way through this,” he said. “Playing would have just cost more and more money.”
The Admirals are among three AHL teams sitting out this season, which kicks off Feb. 5. The league has 31 teams in total.
Under the City of Milwaukee’s current COVID-19 restrictions, indoor public gatherings such as sporting events are capped at 10 people
The Admirals are not the only local minor league sports team unable to operate without fans in the stands. In October, The Milwaukee Wave, which also plays its home games at the Panther Arena, bowed out of the upcoming Major Arena Soccer League season.
Unlike major league sports teams, which can rely on TV revenue to sustain their business while ticket sales are limited or on hold, the business model of both the Wave and the Admirals is heavily reliant on in-person fan attendance.