the business of hockey

a couple of interesting links today — first of all, the NHL as a league is Back in Black:

In 2003, the league hired former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt to conduct a study of its finances. Levitt found that NHL teams lost a combined $273 million during the 2003-2004 season. When interest and depreciation were factored in, the losses surged to $374 million. “The results are as catastrophic as I’ve seen in any enterprise of this size,” Levitt told USA Today. “They are on a treadmill to obscurity. That’s the way the league is going. So, something has got to change.”

more recently, they’ve turned a $96 million operating loss into a $96 million profit (as a league).  that’s a good start.

Fortune also had an interesting breakdown of team valuations; not surprisingly, Toronto is tops in the league (just like the Redskins, who can’t seem to win either).  The Maple Leafs are valued at $413M, a good bit more than the next closest franshise (the Rangers at $365M).  And Forbes even gets into the dynamic between their financial success and the lack of a Stanley Cup for 40-odd years. (None of these articles are new, mostly from last year, but interesting stuff.

The Washington Capitals — who unlike the Leafs, are in the playoffs — are valued near the bottom of the league, but have good year-over-year growth of 16%.  It looks like the team is worth the same amount as when Ted Leonsis bought them (in 1999 – $145M based on the chart), but then the article says that Leonsis only bought them for $85M (maybe that was controlling interest, and not the full purchase price).  I wonder if having a goal-scoring leader/MVP will boost the franchise value…


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