I’m sure that it’s clear to everyone who follows ice hockey that Espoo Blues is struggling financially and most likely the company behind the logo, Jääkiekko Espoo Oy, is going bankrupt . The situation involving Espoo Blues’ finance has been in the headlines for the whole winter and it’s clear that the struggle is very real. There are many companies that have receivables from Espoo Blues and Jääkiekko Espoo Oy is not capable for paying them. Therefore two of the companies that have significant receivables are filing Jääkiekko Espoo Oy for bankruptcy. One is Elo Mutual Pension Insurance Company and the other one is the tax office.
Espoo Blues is not the only ice hockey team in the Finnish ice hockey league that is struggling with their finance. For seasons between the year 2011 and 2015 there have been 14 teams playing in the league. KPMG released an article that talks about the financial situation of these ice hockey teams. This article includes a research that shows that from thirteen ice hockey team up to seven teams had made negative profit between the time period of 2011-2015. So over half of the teams in Finnish hockey league are struggling with their financial situation. One of the biggest reasons for this are the high salaries of the players. Between the time period teams have spent approximately 60% of their revenues to player salaries. Another reason for the struggle is the bad economy that has caused a significant decrease in the number of audience.
The problem for Espoo Blues has been the low number of audience in home games and the failure of gaining sponsorships for the team. This has led to a substantial drop of revenue in 2015. For the year 2014 Espoo Blues revenue was EUR 4,9 million that dropped to EUR 3,7 million in 2015. Even in 2014 the company’s net result was -823 000€ but in 2015 after losing 1,2 million Euros worth of revenues the net result was a whopping 1,5 million Euros. That is a net result percent of -39,1%. These losses have resulted in the current situation where the Jääkiekko Espoo Oy is going bankrupt and the city of Espoo is going to lose its representative hockey team. Or is it?
Jääkiekko Espoo Oy is still trying to negotiate loan arrangements with the creditors and avoid the bankruptcy. The scenario where the company can manage to avoid bankruptcy and pay their loans seems highly unlikely, but there is a chance that the former owner of Espoo Blues, Jussi Salonoja, is going to come for the rescue. There have been rumors of Jussi Salonoja buying the ownership of the team and taking over the business. Jussi Salonoja is also the major owner of the company that owns and operates the Espoo Metro Arena where the team plays their home games. Therefore it would be a very unprofitable situation for Mr. Salonoja if the hockey team Espoo Blues disappears from the Finnish hockey league.
So it seems that we, the fans of Espoo Blues, still have hope that the city of Espoo will have a representative hockey team in the future. It’s going to be a very nerve wrecking wait for the fans but I suspect that we’re going to know more at the end of summer at the latest.