EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
Executive Vice President Jay Blunk is in his sixth season with the Chicago Blackhawks. Since joining the Blackhawks as Senior Vice President of Business Operations on Jan. 3, 2008, Blunk has engineered broad changes to the business landscape of the club, adopting the general business philosophy of fan accessibility and bold, innovative strategies, in addition to creating new sources of revenue generation.
Blunk collaborated with the Blackhawks Marketing Department to hire Ogilvy as the team’s new advertising agency and created the Blackhawks Heritage Series, which honored Blackhawks greats throughout the season, building a bridge to the history of the franchise. Blunk also enacted sweeping changes across the Blackhawks media channels, working with various departments in the redesign of Blackhawks TV, Blackhawks publications and chicagoblackhawks.com. Blunk is also responsible for the formation of strategy with regard to the development of revenue generating efforts and departments including sponsorship, ticketing, finance, marketing and community relations. In recognition of the team’s achievements, the Blackhawks earned a nomination for SportsBusiness Journal’s 2009 Professional Sports Team of the Year.
With fan engagement and accessibility a priority, Blunk oversaw new concepts such as the Blackhawks Training Camp Festival, giving more than 18,000 fans a behind-the-scenes look at a Blackhawks practice, and the development of the Emmy Award-winning Blackhawks TV. Blunk also has developed pioneering cross-promotional partnerships with a wealth of civic organizations, which have built the foundation for a year-round marketing strategy. In 2010 and 2011, the Blackhawks were voted to have the National Hockey League’s “Most Innovative Business Practices” by a survey of SportsBusiness Journal’s readers, and were voted second in the category among the league’s 30 teams in 2012. Also in 2012, the Blackhawks were voted to have the “Best Business Savvy” by The Hockey News’ “Best of Everything in Hockey” issue.
Together with President and CEO John F. McDonough and VP/GM Stan Bowman, Blunk also helped engineer an integrated business philosophy with the Blackhawks Hockey Operations Department, forming a unique bond and synergistic approach to sponsorships, advertising, game presentation and other initiatives including player-community interaction and involvement.
During the 2008-09 season, the Blackhawks drew more than 1 million fans (1,052,261) for the first time in franchise history, set a league record by attracting an average of 21,783 fans to their 40 United Center contests and surpassed the franchise regular-season attendance record of 835,972. The franchise’s season ticket base has tripled to more than 14,000 since the start of the 2007-08 season, and the Blackhawks have since consistently been one of the NHL’s attendance leaders.
Blunk also worked in partnership with McDonough, Chicago Cubs officials and NHL officials to bring the NHL Winter Classic to Wrigley Field, an event that matched up the Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings in front of 40,818 fans on Jan. 1, 2009. The television broadcast of the game drew an 11.8 overnight rating, a 21 share on NBC 5 in Chicago and 4.4 million U.S. viewers overall, making it the most-watched NHL game in 34 years at the time, according to Nielsen Media Research.
A 22-year front office veteran of the Chicago Cubs prior to joining the Blackhawks, Blunk held several marketing, sales, branding, promotions and advertising positions, the last of which was Vice President of Marketing and Broadcasting. He was responsible for the development of a wealth of promotional events during his tenure at Wrigley Field and was also a member of the Cubs organization when they drew over 3 million fans every season since 2003, setting the team’s all-time record for attendance in 2007.
Blunk graduated from Illinois State University in 1986 and currently serves as an advisory board member for the ISU School of Communication. Blunk also sits on the boards of the Chicago Sports Commission and the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, as well as the Board of Directors for United Service Organization (USO) of Illinois and Chicago Blackhawks Charities. Blunk was a 2012 inductee into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.
Blunk and his wife, Marci, have three children: Brandon, Maggie and Cameron.