On Thursday, the sports data company Sportico came out with its list of the most valuable franchises in the National Hockey League as it begins the 2021-22 season. The Toronto Maple Leafs, who have not won a Stanley Cup since 1967, and have not won a playoff series in 17 seasons is at the top of the list at $2 billion (in United States currency).

The Leafs are the only NHL team to crack that monetary number. When you combine the other three major professional sports (NFL, MLB, and NBA) Sportico has The Leafs 59th. The average NHL team is worth an estimated $930 million, compared to $3.5 billion in the NFL, $2.3 billion in the NBA and $2.2 billion in MLB.

Add to that, the other three leagues have major television deals. The NHL does have its new deal with ESPN and Turner in the United States beginning this season. The NHL in Canada is in the middle of a 10-year deal with Rogers Communications (Sportsnet) valued at the time about $2 billion (Canadian funds).

When sports/business publications like Sportico, Forbes, and Sports Business Journal do lists like these, you take numbers with a grain of salt.

In the case of the Maple Leafs, you have to add other variables. The team is part of the group called Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment that also owns the NBA Raptors and Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.

In addition, you add in the value of their facilities the Scotiabank Arena downtown and the Ford training facility in the suburbs. As well as being in Canada’s largest city both in population, and where most of the major business is done in the country.

The average worth of an NHL team is $934 million (US), and the combined market value of the 32 teams is $30 billion.

Following the Maple Leafs on the list are the New York Rangers ($1.87 billion), Montreal Canadiens ($1.5 billion), Chicago Blackhawks ($1.36 billion) and Boston Bruins ($1.31 billion). In addition, Toronto is the highest value of the seven Canadian teams with the Edmonton Oilers second at $1.16 billion (US).

The expansion Seattle Kraken are already boosting the league’s profile, ranking 14th on Sportico’s list, valued at $860 million. The Vegas Golden Knights, who joined the NHL as the 31st team in 2017-18, are 12th on the list, valued at $890 million. The average worth of an NHL team is $934 million, and the combined market value of the 32 teams is $30 billion.

The Leafs value, some say, counterbalance that with teams like the Arizona Coyotes and the Columbus Blue Jackets who are at the bottom of both lists.

Even though teams like the Raptors and the Blue Jays have brought the city pro sports championships (Raptors being the latest in 2018-19) the city lives and dies with the Maple Leafs. Season tickets are hard to come by, they are willed to subscribers through the years dating back to when the team played in historic Maple Leaf Gardens.

The NHL will never be up there is value with the other three leagues, mainly due to the television revenue. However, the league survived the pandemic which saw franchise worth decrease for the first time in a decade and are ready to move up.



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