National Hockey League Interactive Franchise Valuations

The average NHL team is worth $934 million—and the collective fair-market value of the league's 32 franchises is $30 billion. Sportico's interactive data visualization displays the elements that make up each franchise's value, including revenue data for three seasons, and more. To compare two teams, click on a logo and hover over another.


October 14, 2021 FEATURED STORY


The average NHL team is worth $934 million, according to data compiled by Sportico. The Toronto Maple Leafs rank first at $2 billion, while the Arizona Coyotes rank last at $410 million. Below are the elements that compose the value of the league's 32 franchises, whose collective worth is $30 billion.

Definitions

Total Value: The sum of the fair-market value of an NHL franchise, combined with the value of team-related businesses and real estate holdings.

Team Value: NHL franchise valuation, derived from metrics by which hockey-team transactions occur, including aggregating local and national revenues and factoring in a team-specific multiplier. This represents the fair market value of the team itself, excluding related businesses held by its owners.

Team-Related Businesses and Real Estate Holdings: The value of a franchise owner's equity in team-related businesses that are distinct corporate entities, as well as government-assessed real estate related to venues, practice facilities and other properties.

This category excludes value derived from enterprises determined as too attenuated from the hockey team's operations, which fall into three categories: (1) rent from non-hockey, outside-of-arena retail operations, such as the Oilers' ICE District venture; (2) licensing fees paid by non-hockey third parties to a team's sister company for the use of intellectual property; (3) team owner's investment in businesses unrelated to franchise operations.

For franchises that do not own their arenas, the value of a team's lease—often with advantageous terms negotiated with municipal or state authorities—is captured in the Team Value category.

Total Team Revenue: Cumulative amount of National Revenue and Local Revenue. Given the business disruption posed by the coronavirus pandemic during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, Sportico estimated three years of revenue. The projected full season of revenue accounts for fans in buildings and incorporates the new TV deals that kick off this season. The projected revenues do not include any playoff homes games but do include non-NHL events, such as concerts. They are all net of revenue sharing.

National Revenue: Each franchise's equal proportion of league-shared revenue, derived predominantly from NHL contracts with media and advertising partners; it represents roughly 20% of total team revenue for a typical season after the latest TV contracts. For the 2021-22 season, this consists of:

(i.) National media rights, including broadcast deals with Walt Disney, WarnerMedia, Rogers Communications, Groupe TVA, SiriusXM, Sports USA and TuneIn.

(ii.) League sponsorship revenues e.g., Adidas, Apple, Fastenal, SAP and many others.

(iii.) Net revenues and royalties from NHL Enterprises LLC, NHL Network, NHL digital properties and more than a dozen media partnerships outside of North America. These distributions cover licensing, film, international properties and media rights.

Excluded from this calculation is income derived from NHL expansion fees. The NHL's 32nd franchise, the Seattle Kraken, made the final installment payment of its $650 million expansion fee this spring.

Local Revenue: Revenue generated by each franchise independent of league distributions, comprising in aggregate 60% of total team revenue for the 2020 season. It will likely be 80% for a season with full attendance moving forward. Local revenue is comprised of:

(i.) Arena, which includes: ticket sales; premium seating (luxury suite leases and club seating); parking; team's share of concessions; and non-hockey (third-party) events.

(ii.) Sponsorship, which includes: naming rights, advertising, corporate partnerships, local merchandising (and distinct from league licensing royalties, which are included in National Revenue).

(iii.) Media, which includes local TV and radio, for which teams often control advertising inventory.

Methodology

Full Transparency

Sportico is committed to transparency, including provision of detailed methodology and sourcing information below. For any questions, please contact Sports Valuations reporter Kurt Badenhausen at kbadenhausen@sportico.com.


Fair Market Franchise Valuations

To derive the fair market value of the 32 NHL franchises, Sportico calculated each team's historic and projected revenue, relying on publicly available information and financial records—as well as interviews with those knowledgeable of team finances, including more than a dozen conversations with eight sports bankers and lawyers who actively work on NHL transactions. In the interest of accuracy, we traded candor for anonymity. This information was vetted with multiple team owners, team financial and operating officers, media relations personnel and former team executives, as well as industry experts and sports-focused economists.

Revenue totals were then subject to a team-specific multiplier, which, based on interviews with multiple sports bankers, remains the most common manner by which transactions are judged in sports, due to dramatic fluctuations of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), year-over-year, based on salary cap spending and special expenses.

The team-specific multipliers were based on numerous factors, including: historical sales, market (size, saturation and interest by prospective owners), strength of brand, on-ice performance (historical and recent), terms of facility lease, debt burden, and expected future team and league economics. These ranges varied from a 3.75 times revenue multiple for the Arizona Coyotes to a 6.25 times revenue multiple for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Given the business disruption posed by the coronavirus pandemic during the past two seasons, multiples were assigned to a projected full season of revenue with fans in buildings and new TV deals in place.

Sportico's revenues and valuations take into account league revenue sharing. In the NHL, 10 teams pay into revenue sharing under a complicated formula that targets 6.05% of hockey-related revenue to be distributed to low revenue clubs. The pool is supplemented with gate receipts from playoff games.

Revenue was calculated based on analyses of data from industry sources and reports, as well as interviews with experts and those with knowledge of team and league finances as detailed below. Together, this comprised hundreds of inputs of confirmed and estimated information from dozens of sources.


NHL Franchise Review and Comments

Among the 32 NHL franchises, nine teams participated with Sportico by validating financial information, while others did not respond. The National Hockey League declined to comment on team values or revenues.


Financial and Industry Sources

Team and league financial information was derived from the following sources: Securities and Exchange Commission filings for Madison Square Garden Sports Corp., as well as those of related entity Madison Square Garden Entertainment; the 2013 NHL-NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was extended in 2020, including a Memorandum of Understanding, through the 2025-26 season; and analyses of historical team sales from 2011 to 2019, based on Sportico research.

Industry data sources include: the Association of Luxury Suite Directors (for club and luxury suite capacity, occupancy and pricing); Team Marketing Report (fan spending and sponsorship information); individual team and sponsor websites; Chris Bigelow of the Bigelow Companies (per capita spending on stadium concessions); the Marquette University Law School (historical sports facility lease information); S&P Global Market Intelligence (subscriber, revenue and cash flow data pertaining to five regional sports networks); The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's Discretionary and On-Demand Service data (pertaining to two separate TV outlets owned or partially owned by the Toronto Maple Leafs' parent entities); and multiple synopses related to Sinclair Broadcast Group's purchase of 22 sports-specific cable TV outlets in 2019.

In addition to the aforementioned sports bankers, team owners and team executives, Sportico conducted interviews related to specific valuations components. To assess regional sports networks, these included Lee Berke of LHB Sports & Entertainment & Media; Chris Bevilacqua of Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures; Adam Gajo of S&P Global Market Intelligence; and Ed Desser of Desser Media.


Government Sources

To assess team-owned real estate with consistency, Sportico included government property appraisals. Sources included: City and County of Denver Property Appraisal System (Colorado); Cook County Assessor's Office (Illinois); Dallas Central Appraisal System (Texas); District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue; Montreal's property assessment office (Quebec); City of Boston Assessing Department (Massachusetts); City of Philadelphia Office of Property Assessment (Pennsylvania); BC Assessment (British Columbia); City of Winnipeg Assessment and Taxation Department (Manitoba); Clark County Assessor's Office (Nevada); Los Angeles County Property Assessment Informational System (California); Ottawa Real Estate Board (Ontario); and Toronto Real Estate Board (Ontario).

Sportico obtained additionally relevant information for the valuation of a regional sports network related to the Colorado Avalanche from pleadings in Altitude Sports & Entertainment v. Comcast Corp. (U.S. District Court, District of Colorado).


Team-Specific Notes

Many of the NHL related-business values are for ownership stakes in arenas and surrounding real estate. Below are notes on nine teams with caveats.

Boston Bruins: The related business value includes its 20% stake in NESN ownership of the TD Garden and surrounding real estate by Delaware North, which is controlled by the Jacobs family.

Chicago Blackhawks: The related business value includes its 25% stake in NBC Sports Chicago and 50% interest in the team's joint venture with Jerry Reinsdorf for the United Center and its real estate.

Colorado Avalanche: Stan Kroenke and his family own both the Avalanche and NBA's Denver Nuggets. The team's related business value is largely derived from a 50% interest in Ball Arena and its real estate, with a small contribution from Kroenke Sports & Entertainment's money-losing RSN, Altitude Sports and Entertainment.

Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers' related business covers its 100% ownership of OEG Digital Gaming, which operates the club's digital, subscription and gaming operations, including sponsorships in those categories as a separate company. It also operates the Oilers' popular 50-50 raffle business. It does not include the $2 billion mixed-use development, ICE District, located outside of Rogers Arena. The 25-acre development combines condos, public plaza, hotel entertainment, and retail and office space.

Los Angeles Kings: Its team-related business is the value of the Staples Center, based on amortized government assessments, minus the share of the value of the Staples Center, owned by Lakers minority-owner Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), that is both attributable to the Lakers and proportional to AEG's ownership interest in the team.

New York Rangers: The Rangers' related business value includes stock held by the Dolan family in Madison Square Garden Entertainment, which could sell in a transaction in tandem with the team–itself a part of a separate publicly traded company, Madison Square Garden Sports Corporation. The equity value of Class A stock in the two related entities (as of close of trading on 10/08/2021), as well as the estimated value of Class B stock in those companies—as held by the Dolan family, pursuant to information in SEC disclosures—were assessed, reduced proportionally to account for business segments related to the basketball team, and included.

Philadelphia Flyers: The team is owned by Comcast subsidiary Comcast Spectacor. Its related business contribution includes the value of Wells Fargo Center, which is also owned by Comcast Spectacor, but the city of Philadelphia owns the land on which the building sits. Sportico also included NBC Sports Philadelphia, which airs Flyers games and is 75%-owned by Comcast.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The valuation of the team's interest in regional sports media includes two components: (i.) Equity ownership of Leafs Nations Network (formerly, Leafs TV); and (ii.) the value that the Leafs represent to team co-owner Rogers Communications, Inc.'s cable TV network, Sportsnet One, based on analyses of financial and programming data. Team-related property (split where applicable with sister entity, the NBA's Toronto Raptors, and two real estate development joint-venturers, Cadillac Fairview Corporation and Lanterra Developments) were assessed using the currency exchange rate as of 10/08/2021.

Washington Capitals: The valuation of the team's interest in regional sports media includes two components: (i.) Ownership's stake in NBC Sports Washington attributable to the team; and (ii.) to a far lesser extent, the value of the streaming platform Monumental Sports Network that is attributable to the Capitals. The value of Capital One Arena was split equally with sister entity, the NBA's Washington Wizards. The city owns the land on which the arena was built.