A few of you may remember that back in 1992 the Blackhawks Organization launched “Hawkvision“, an all inclusive premium sports channel that all fans could catch each and every Blackhawks game. Former Chicago Blackhawks Owner Bill Wirtz vowed to end all local broadcasting and television network deals so that no Blackhawks home games would be aired on television. Wirtz made this decision on the premise that he felt broadcasting regular season home games was unfair to Blackhawk season ticket holders.
Another “genius” idea by Bill Wirtz — Hawkvision was a subscription based television service. Hawkvision worked in conjunction with a local Chicago based SportsChannel outfit — access for the premium channel ran for a standardized price of $29.99.
Originally, fans could order Hawkvision for the price of $19.95 per game. For the die hard fans, one could order the entire series of Blackhawk hockey for $15.95 per game. Due to a decrease in demand after the 1992 season, this price was later lowered to $15.95 per game and $12.95 per game for an entire series.
In its first year, Hawkvision had more than 20, 000 subscribers per game by the time the finals rolled around. Many attributed this to the fact that the Blackhawks had a stellar team that had made it to the NHL Finals. The last two years, as the play of the Blackhawks dropped dramatically, so did the number of Hawkvision subscribers. Below are two promotions that the Blackhawks ran for Hawkvision, enjoy…
Hawkvision Promotion #1:
Hawkvision Promotion #2:
This truly just may be one of the top blunders that old man Wirtz ever concocted during his time as the owner of the franchise. With a history of being cheap, greedy, and avaricious, “Dollar” Bill Wirtz will go down in sports history as one of the worst owners of all time.
Some of the major faults that occurred to the Blackhawks organization under the watch of Bill Wirtz include:
- Not Televising Home Games
- Ancient Ticket Pricing Policy
- Named ESPN’s Worst Sports Franchise (2004)
- 4th Lowest Fan Attendance In NHL (2003-2004)
- 2nd Lowest Fan Attendance In NHL (’05-’06, ’06-’07)
Wirtz passed away in 2007, allowing for his son, Rocky, to take control of the reigns of the franchise – and it has been a breath of fresh air since that has happened. Rocky has led the franchise the complete opposite way of his father. By putting the right people in place, and spending money to revitalize the franchise, Rocky Wirtz has guided the Blackhawks to be the envy of the entire NHL.
Some of the major successes that have occurred to the Blackhawks organization under the watch of Rocky Wirtz include:
- Three Stanley Cup Championships (’09-’10, ’12-’13, ’14-’15)
- Conference Championships (’09-’10, ’12-’13, ’14-’15)
- Division Championships (’09-’10, ’12-’13)
- Won President Trophy (2012-2013)
- Began Televising All Home Games
- The Hiring of Joel Quenneville
- The Hiring of John McDonough
- The Hiring of Jay Blunk
- Lead Attendance In NHL (’08-’09, ’09-’10, ’10-’11, ’11-’12, ’12-’13, ’13-’14, ’14-’15)
It really is simple to see the impact that the pass down in ownership has done to the franchise. Also, it is easy to see why all of Blackhawk nation is ecstatic to see that “Hawkvision” is a thing of the past, but that Hawk Nation is alive and well.