So says Forbes, which released its annual report on the value of NHL teams today. As per reporter Mike Ozanian, the media-conglomerate-owned franchise is worth a cool billion dollars, putting them not-quite on par with NFL powerhouses like the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins—but ascribing them a net worth nearly 10 times higher than a handful of the Bettman circuit’s lowlier teams. In fact, it seems that the Leafs are one of just a few teams with a lot to lose over the lockout; they reportedly made some $82-million in profits last season, making them one of just three teams, along with the Rangers and Habs, to really bring home the bacon.
As per Forbes, “the Maple Leafs ($81.9 million), Rangers ($74 million), Canadians (sic) ($51.6 million) accounted for 83% of the league’s income, while 13 of 30 teams lost money, before non-cash expenses and interest payments.” That includes teams like “the Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets (who) would still have trouble making money unless they went at least two rounds in the playoffs”—even with a 50-per-cent player/owner split, and increased revenue sharing.
So, how does the league get into the black? As per the financial mag, it involves moving some teams back to Canada—notably Quebec City. Forbes estimates that the Winnipeg Jets’ value has risen by $30-million after just one season in the ‘peg, while quoting a Montreal-based partner who thinks Quebec, Portland and Seattle would make good landing spots for some of the Sun Belt teams. “The Sun Belt has had plenty of time to prove that the viability doesn’t work,” Drew Dorweiler, managing partner of Dartmouth Partners, says. Too bad we can’t contract ‘em in a new CBA!