Skip to content

Forbes: Leafs worth $1.15 billion; Blue Jackets worth quite a bit less

Nov 25, 2013, 12:13 PM EDT

Leafs fans Getty Images

Attention sports business enthusiasts: Forbes released its annual NHL franchise valuations today. You can see all the numbers here, including the always enjoyable debt/value ratio.

From Forbes:

The average NHL team now has an enterprise value (equity plus net debt) of $413 million, 46% more than a year ago. For the first time since Forbes began tracking NHL team values in 1998, three of the league’s five most valuable teams–Toronto Maple Leafs($1.15 billion), Montreal Canadiens ($775 million), Vancouver Canucks ($700 million)–are Canadian (the New York Rangers ($850 million) and defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks ($625 million) are the two U.S. teams to make the top five). And this is also the first time that every Canadian franchise ranks among the top 16 in the 30 team league.

These are just estimates, of course. Some of the valuations will be disputed.

The NHL’s least valuable team, according to Forbes, is the Columbus Blue Jackets, at $175 million. Or to put it another way, around 15 percent of what the Leafs are worth.

1 Toronto Maple Leafs $1.15 billion
2 New York Rangers $850 million
3 Montreal Canadiens $775 million
4 Vancouver Canucks $700 million
5 Chicago Blackhawks $625 million
6 Boston Bruins $600 million
7 Philadelphia Flyers $500 million
8 Pittsburgh Penguins $480 million
9 Detroit Red Wings $470 million
10 Los Angeles Kings $450 million
11 Calgary Flames $420 million
12 Washington Capitals $414 million
13 San Jose Sharks $405 million
14 Edmonton Oilers $400 million
15 Ottawa Senators $380 million
16 Winnipeg Jets $340 million
17 Colorado Avalanche $337 million
18 Dallas Stars $333 million
19 Minnesota Wild $330 million
20 New Jersey Devils $320 million
21 Anaheim Ducks $300 million
22 Buffalo Sabres $250 million
23 Florida Panthers $240 million
24 Nashville Predators $205 million
25 Phoenix Coyotes $200 million
26 New York Islanders $195 million
27 Carolina Hurricanes $187 million
28 St Louis Blues $185 million
29 Tampa Bay Lightning $180 million
30 Columbus Blue Jackets $175 million

  1. c9castine - Nov 25, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    that list is pretty predictable. pretty much a list of the largest and most successful markets, largest being weighed heavier than most successful. ottawa worth 300 million and he’s losing what was it, 10m a year? I’m willing to bet nobody else in the top 19 is losing cash but him if thats the case.

    • justinhbhb - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      I totally agree with you, Ottawa shouldn’t be losing that much money. They have above average attendance, in recent years the team was competitive and they have one of the leagues smallest payrolls. The only thing going against them is the conflict of support between toronto and montreal… but its not like ottawa never had a hockey team with history!!

      • bsaures - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        The problem isnt a attendance issue or money generated from tickets sales its more of a corporate issue. Ottawa of all the NHL cities probably has the smallest private sector and doesnt get nearly the amount of revenue from sponsors that some other teams do.

    • chicagobtech - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      Chicago said it would take five or so years after their 2010 Cup win to move back into the black. I think the local chatter is they’re still on track to do so next season.

      • jpelle82 - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        chicago is full of s***. they arent losing money, read the article, the owner owns half of the company that owns the arena. he just chooses to park his arena money into that group. $$ from luxury boxes for hockey games are going to the arena money coffer instead of the team. the team can pay for its own expenses from basic ticket sales alone. they are one of the most profitable teams in the league.

      • c9castine - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:52 PM

        he didn’t say they were losing money, he said they were in the red and in previous years have made money closing the deficit and then getting back into positive numbers. remember 10 years ago chicago was desolate. they put a proper team on the ice before long and its now rightfully a top organization.

  2. kingcobraman - Nov 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    there is no denying Canadians love their hockey…. win ,lose or draw…

  3. esracerx46 - Nov 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    I always wondered how Forbes quantifies a teams value. Wasn’t Phoenix just bought for 30 million less than what they say?

    • jjregan21 - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      They’re probably using projections based off trends in revenues. They’re attendance has been up this year and ownership has had a positive impact. 30 mil of an impact seems high though, but hey, I’m not an economist

  4. broadstreetsbaddest88 - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    I don’t see how this list is close to accurate. How is the pens worth more then the red wings and the panthers more then the lightning. I’d like to know what majority of this is based off cause a lot of it don’t look like its based off ticket sales or merchandise. This must be based off certain franchises tv rights cause some of the teams places on this list are head scratchers for sure

    • jaybaileys - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      The Pens playing in a brand new building and the Wings in the Joe probably have a lot to do with that.

    • c9castine - Nov 25, 2013 at 8:47 PM

      the matter is a little more complex than that. i wouldn’t expect you to understand.

      • jaybaileys - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        I didn’t realize you were an expert, no kidding its more complicated it was just a comment on a web forum. Why don’t you enlighten us since you know it all, why don’t you tell us who’s gonna win the Cup while you’re at it.

  5. jcmeyer10 - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    The Blues valuation surprises me the most.

    • jpelle82 - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      islanders for me, you would think there’s enough people to spread some of the wealth around there and they have double the number of stanley cups than the rangers. i guess you have the devils competing in that market too though. the blues…i mean missouri, arkansas, iowa, kansas, oklahoma……i think of baseball, nascar, and deer hunting when you mention those places.

      • thesportsjudge - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:42 PM

        I think of drinking and suicide in those places…

    • Jackson Scofield - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      They were dead last in last year’s valuations.

  6. metalization1 - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    More proof the NHL should have more franchises in Canada. But I doubt that will happen because Bettman hates us up here.

  7. tackledummy1505 - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Ok what dumb nerd who hasn’t watch a game of hockey nor do they know anything about anything in the sports business does this for Forbes? Second how can a medium market team like the Penguins out rank a big market team like the Red Wings? Third the Flyers are the most popular team over seas in countries like Sweden and Russia (most hated as well), yet all Canadian teams out rank them. Let’s put it this way if there was no salary cap your top four spending hockey clubs would be the Rangers, Flyers, Maple Leafs, and the Bruins. 1 Canadian team out of the bunch, so how do they come up with these bogus numbers lol

    • Jackson Scofield - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      Only three Canadian teams outranked Philly in this list, what do you mean that they all did? And it is not all about size of city either to answer your Pittsburgh/Detroit dilemma.

      And you salary cap comment, you just aren’t grasping the actual meaning of these rankings or how it comes about.

    • winger58 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:28 AM

      You lost me at #2. Detroit is the 14th largest metropolitan area in the country (and that includes Ann Arbor and Dearborn) and Pittsburgh is 22nd. Detroit is losing population in droves while Pittsburgh is actually growing. A team’s financial worth has little to do with how popular they are (an nothing to do with “overseas”). It’s all about the team’s income potential and financial stability. Does the team own the arena? If not, what percentage of concessions do they get? Do they have bonds to pay back? The “dumb nerd” doesn’t need to know anything about hockey to calculate the value of a franchise. If the value had anything to do with the product on the ice the Sabres would be 30th!

  8. Jackson Scofield - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Forbes released MLS values for the first time in 5 years a few days ago too.

    Three MLS teams were at least as valuable as St. Louis and Phoenix were last season, but with the updated rankings, first place Seattle is tied with last place Columbus.

  9. desertfan - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Do these evaluations include the Arena if also owned by the club- real estate next door??

    • winger58 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:41 AM

      More than likely, yes. All the teams at the top of the list own their buildings, or more precisely, their owners own the building. The true value however has more to do with balance sheets, long-term financial stability, government support and outstanding debt (bonds, tax-liens, etc). Forbes has the ability and know-how to dig in to this and make reasonable calculations. Regardless of all the complaining here, no fan has any clue what their team is worth (to anyone else than himself).

  10. muckleflugga - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    as mentioned, it’s all about market…

    you could take game television viewing demographics and line them up in the next column, with direct correlation being drawn between each. in canada, we get the leafs shoved down our throats on sports television until we puke; hence, their standing in the table…

    if one game a night isn’t enough, they replay the games after hours. it’s the same with recycled argo grey cups and jays world series wins; the gravitational pull at the centre of the universe is so intense, time stands still

    it used to be les canadien until the separatists and bill 101 took hold. worse for lovers of pure speed and skill hockey, quebec collapsed into a black hole when its flower withered…

    rarely do you see anything but at least one canadian team on canadian television otherwise

    coupled with the time zone issue, hockey audiences diminish as the earth revolves…it’s always been a problem for teams relying on broader television related revenue. case in point, much of the red wings regional fan base were usually thinking about bed when wings were taking the ice in minnesota and points west…

    commercial revenue likes a good night’s rest as well…

    diminished market value is tied directly to diminished exposure tied to standings in forbes tables

    still, i can’t recall forbes’ insight being particularly accurate when examining the financial doings of one bernard lawrence madoff, current star centre for the ponzi pirates of the butner federal correctional institution’s in-house hockey league

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1377)
  2. P. Kessel (1324)
  3. M. Boedker (1196)
  4. R. McDonagh (1122)
  5. S. Matthias (1109)