Executive Vice President Jay Blunk is in his 12th season with the Chicago Blackhawks. Since joining the Blackhawks as 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 has collaborated on nationally-recognized campaigns such as #WhatsYourGoal, which was a finalist for the SportsBusiness Journal's Best in Sports Social Media in 2016. Blunk also enacted sweeping changes across the organization's media channels, including the development of the Emmy Award-winning Blackhawks TV. Additionally, he is responsible for the strategy and development of revenue-generating efforts for departments including sponsorship, ticketing, finance, marketing and community relations. In recognition of the team's achievements, the Blackhawks earned nominations for SportsBusiness Journal's Professional Sports Team of the Year in 2009 and 2014.
With fan engagement and accessibility, a priority, Blunk oversaw new concepts such as the Blackhawks Training Camp Festival. He also plays a key role in developing the team's Hispanic marketing initiatives through its innovative partnership with Univision Chicago, including the first-ever Spanish-language radio broadcast in franchise history during the 2015-16 season. This partnership continues to grow, with Univision bringing 25 Blackhawks games to Chicago's Spanish-speaking community during the 2018-19 season. 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. The Blackhawks were also voted to have the "Best Business Savvy" by The Hockey News' 2012 "Best of Everything in Hockey" issue, in addition to being named "Best Franchise" in their 2014 "Franchise Ranking" issue.
Together with President and CEO John F. McDonough and Senior VP/GM Stan Bowman, Blunk has 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 player-community involvement.
The organization has established several attendance records during Blunk's tenure, and the franchise's season ticket base has tripled to more than 14,000 since the start of the 2007-08 season. During the team's run to the 2015 Stanley Cup, the Blackhawks registered three of their top five most-watched games, including the highest on record, a 41.0 HH average rating during Game 6 of the Final on June 15, 2015. Blunk worked with McDonough, Chicago Cubs officials and the NHL to bring the 2009 NHL Winter Classic to Wrigley Field, and the organization appeared in their league-record sixth outdoor game on Jan. 1, 2019, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. In addition, he worked closely with the Chicago Sports Commission to bring the 2017 NCAA Frozen Four and the 2017 NHL Draft to the United Center.
Prior to joining the Blackhawks, Blunk spent 22 years with the Chicago Cubs front office, holding positions in marketing, sales, branding, promotions and advertising, 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 for five consecutive seasons (2003-07) and set 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 United Center Joint Venture, the Chicago Sports Commission and the Magnificent Mile Association, as well as the Board of Directors for Choose Chicago, United Service Organization (USO) of Illinois and the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation. In addition, Blunk occasionally represents the Blackhawks at National Hockey League Board of Governors meetings.
Blunk has been invited to lecture as a guest speaker at various civic events and universities, including Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, University of Illinois, Illinois State University and the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. He also accepted the 2014 Gilda's Club Agents of Hope Award on behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation. Blunk was a 2012 inductee into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame and received the 2017 Jack Fitzsimmons Chief Blackhawk Award from the Blackhawk Alumni Association.
Blunk and his wife, Marci, have three children: Brandon, Maggie and Cameron.