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Forbes list of NHL team values: 10 observations

Nov 30, 2011, 7:03 PM EDT

Alexander Ovechkin Press Conference Getty Images

For those with an interest in the business of the NHL, here are 10 observations about Forbes’ just-published list of franchise values. Other readers might find these observations boring. So let’s get right to it!

1. The Capitals have nearly doubled in value since 2004, from $115 million to $225 million. So say what you will about Alex Ovechkin underperforming his massive contract, he’s already made Ted Leonsis a pile of money on paper. No way Washington is worth as much without Ovi.

2. According to Forbes, the four teams carrying the most debt as a percentage of franchise value are New Jersey (144%), Dallas (126%), St. Louis (81%) and Carolina (77%). Forget the Stars, because they have a new owner now. But there’s a reason the Devils have reportedly been flirting with bankruptcy, the Blues are for sale, and the Hurricanes were forced to bring in a bunch of new investors. It’s a dangerous time to be highly leveraged.

3. The Winnipeg Jets are valued at $164 million. They were sold this summer for $110 million, plus a $60 million relocation fee paid to the NHL for the privilege of moving out of Atlanta. Now consider the NHL bought the Phoenix Coyotes for $140 million two years ago. Given the City of Glendale is covering annual losses up to $25 million, could the league end up making a profit on its purchase if the franchise relocates at the end of the season?

4. The Leafs’ operating income is estimated at $81.8 million, by far the most in the NHL. And that’s without any postseason revenue. Imagine if they actually make the playoffs this season. Tickets probably won’t be cheap.

5. The Flyers’ revenue fell by $10 million. Presumably the difference between making the Stanley Cup final in 2010 and losing in the second round last season.

6. Despite the economy, only seven teams are worth less today than they were last year. For those wondering why Gary Bettman makes a lot of money, there you go.

7. Over half the Islanders’ franchise value is attributed to its market, which Forbes says is worth $78 million. Nashville’s market, in contrast, is valued at just $52 million. Translation: the NHL will do everything it can to facilitate the building of a new arena that will keep the Isles where they are. You don’t walk away from affluent, densely-populated markets like Long Island without a fight.

8. The Rangers’ franchise value rose by $46 million over last year. The prospect of a renovated Madison Square Garden with all the additional revenue sources that come with modern arenas was a big reason why. They’re not sinking $850 million into MSG because it was looking a little drab.

9. The Toronto hockey market is estimated to be worth $254 million. Thus, the talk of adding a second team. Also, the reason the Leafs are so protective of their territory. The monopoly they enjoy comprises a huge chunk of their franchise value. Obviously they’ll want to be compensated if another team moves in.

10. The Detroit Red Wings are worth $336 million. Mike Ilitch bought them in 1982 for $8 million. Nice little investment.

  1. taytay099 - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Original six dominated that list.

  2. pastabelly - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Yup, Bettman has done a great job and the value NBC brings helps out too. Bettman gets credit for not bending over for ESPN. The Vancouver fans showed no class in booing someone who has done so much for the league.

    • imleftcoast - Nov 30, 2011 at 9:17 PM

      Holy f@@$, is your delivery of that joke like Steven Wright?

      • nhlbruins90 - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:12 PM

        You can’t have everything … where would you put it? (S. Wright)

        I do think Betteman has done a good job of increasing the value of the NHL in the worst economic times since the Depression. If you had asked me in 2008 if professional sports would feel the pinch, I would say yes – big time. It hasn’t happened.

        We’re not out of the woods by any means, the next financial shock is just around the corner and promises to make 2008 look like child’s play. Maybe that will change the economic equation of the NHL, maybe not. Anyway, Betteman gets a bad rap, but the proof is in the pudding.

    • danphipps01 - Dec 1, 2011 at 2:12 AM

      Apparently pastabelly’s new to the sport – or at least to the playoffs. Allow me to enlighten our young friend: Gary Bettman is booed every year, by every fanbase, every single time he hands the Stanley Cup to anyone. The only exception I recall was back in 2000-01, when the Colorado Avalanche fans were too busy going absolutely insane because Ray Bourque had finally won the Holy Grail. God, what a glorious night that was.

      Anyway, yeah – buddy, Vancouver fans have nothing to do with it. Every fanbase boos Gary Bettman. He’s been fantastic for the sport from an economic perspective, and for that many people respect him – I certainly appreciate the work he’s done to expand our sport for my part – but that doesn’t mean we can’t hate him for being an utter jackass, does it?

  3. govtminion - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    #10… that makes my head hurt. Amazing…

  4. rwmilli - Dec 1, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    From Canada so we definitely don’t feel the depression at any level the Americans do, sorry btw ! I think sports are peoples escape as well right, even though times are tough, its just a place to forget about all the rough stuff, and have some fun, being a fan brings a bond amongst the city and amongst other sports fans. Just a though

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