The Hall of Fame, Too, is Facing Money Issues

by April 08, 2009

No one is safe, it seems: “How desperate is the Hall? In a Feb. 18 memo to its Board, president and CEO John Doleva described an organization in crisis, with daily admissions barely half what were projected when the new building opened in 2002, and carrying a debt load he called ‘staggering.’ Doleva said he came to work every day focused not on preserving and promoting the game and its heritage, but on managing cash flow. Doleva floated four ways of facing down the crisis: selling the Hall to an outside entity; embarking on a fundraising campaign (at a wholly inauspicious time, it should be noted, in the midst of a financial meltdown and on the heels of a capital campaign the Hall had just concluded); declaring bankruptcy; or selling off its $10 million worth of memorabilia and artifacts. All this after layoffs and paycuts, instituted last year, to realize annual savings of a half-million dollars. While the Springfield Republican reported a week ago that the crisis had eased somewhat, and that revenues are expected to pick up during the forthcoming summer tourist season, you can be sure that choosing the last of these four options would earn the Hall the lasting enmity of players, coaches and civilians who have made donations over the years.”