President, Chicago Blackhawks
John McDonough was named president of the Chicago Blackhawks on November 20, 2007. Under his guidance, in what Forbes Magazine has called the “The Greatest Sports-Business Turnaround Ever,” the Blackhawks have moved quickly to revitalize the team’s profile and re-energize its fan base.
Under McDonough’s leadership, the Blackhawks became one of the biggest sports stories of the year, earning a coveted nomination for SportsBusiness Journal’s 2009 Professional Sports Team of the Year. As of February 3rd 2010 the Blackhawks have entertained 78 consecutive capacity crowds at the United Center and have grown a season ticketholder base from 3,400 to over 14,000 in under a year. For the first time in franchise history, the Blackhawks welcomed over 1,000,000 fans to the United Center during a single season in 2008-09 (1,052,261), while establishing an NHL club record by attracting a league-leading average of 21,783 to their 40 home dates at the United Center.
McDonough was also instrumental in bringing NHL Winter Classic 2009 to Chicago, a contest which matched up the Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings in front of 40,818 fans at Wrigley Field on Jan. 1, 2009. In less than two years since McDonough’s arrival, the Blackhawks jumped from 118th (2007) to 21st (2009) in ESPN The Magazine’s Ultimate Standings. The organization’s ranking in 2009 marked the best among Chicago professional sports teams.
Prior to joining the Blackhawks, McDonough served as president of the Chicago Cubs. During his tenure, the Cubs won the 2007 National League Central Division while setting an all-time franchise attendance record. As the Cubs chief, and in his previous role as senior vice president of marketing and broadcasting, he was widely viewed as a sports marketing and management innovator who played a major role in growing the Cubs’ fan base and attracting sponsorships for one of the most successful pro sports franchises in America.
During his 24 years with the Cubs organization, the club consistently reached record attendance and revenue figures. In addition, McDonough was the architect of the celebrity “guest conductor” 7th inning stretch concept at Wrigley Field and created the annual Cubs Convention, which is now viewed as a prototype for professional team and league fan festivals.
With McDonough’s many achievements have also come several honors and awards, including Major League Baseball’s Marketing Excellence Award; the Chicago Baseball Veterans Committee Man of the Year; Chicago Baseball Executive of the Year; and America’s Top Ten Marketing Executives by Promo Magazine.
He has also been recognized with the St. Mary’s University Alumni Appreciation Award; the Bill Veeck Lifetime Achievement Award; Notre Dame High School’s Hall of Fame; the 2008 Executive of the Year Award by the Chicago chapter of the Public Relations Society of America; and was named to the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
McDonough sits on the Board of Governance at Notre Dame High School, the Advisory board of directors for the Illinois chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the Faculty Advisory Board at Northwestern University for Master of Arts in Sports Administration, the National Hockey League Club Business Advisory Board and the National Hockey League Board of Governors.
A Chicago native, McDonough is a graduate of Notre Dame High School in Niles, Ill., and St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn. He currently resides in the Northwest suburbs with his wife, Karen. They have three children, Colleen, Ryan and Michael.