Though half of all NHL clubs increased in value, just 14 of 30 NHL teams are profitable according to a Forbes report.The Toronto Maple Leafs are the most valuable team at $505 million while the Coyotes are the least at $134 million.
Overall, despite a successful season, the report is discouraging for the league and commissioner Gary Bettman.
The NHL has long sought growth in nontraditional hockey markets, but teams in warm-weather cities like Phoenix, Sunrise, Fla., Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Raleigh, San Jose, Nashville, and Anaheim all lost at least $5 million last season. Phoenix led all losers with an operating income of negative $20.1 million.
Worse, many of those same cities experienced negative growth in NHL team value.
The most successful warm-weather teams are in Dallas and Los Angeles. The Stars are the 10th most valuable franchise ($227M) and operate at $6.4 million profit, while the Kings rank 12th ($215M) and earn $700,000 in profits.
All six Canadian teams ranked in the top 20 in value, and only the Ottawa Senators lost money – further evidence that the Phoenix Coyotes need to move north, perhaps to Winnipeg.
Two teams in traditional hockey markets, Buffalo and Long Island, suffered. The Islanders are the third team in a three-team market, and play in a crumbling stadium, while Buffalo’s economy has been in the dumps for years.
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