Forbes: Maple Leafs the NHL's most valuable franchise

Monday November 25th, 2013

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the NHL's most valuable franchise at $1.15 billion. (Abelimages/Getty Images) The Toronto Maple Leafs are the NHL's most valuable franchise at $1.15 billion. (Abelimages/Getty Images)

The average NHL team has an enterprise value (equity plus net debt) of $413 million, which is 46 percent more than a year ago, according to a Forbes report.

The bump comes on the heels of the league's Canadian franchises, as this is the first time since Forbes began tracking NHL team values in 1998 that three of the league's five most valuable franchises reside in Canada — led by Toronto at $1.15 billion. It's also the first time all seven Canadian teams rank in the top 16.

After the Maple Leafs come the New York Rangers ($850 million), Montreal Canadiens ($775 million), Vancouver Canucks ($700 million) and the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks ($625 million). At $175 million, the Columbus Blue Jackets are the league's least valuable franchise.

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Six of the seven Canadian teams charged an average of $70 for non-premium tickets last year, compared with a league average of $64, led again by Toronto at $120. Home teams keep 100 percent of the gate revenue in the NHL, and Toronto and Montreal each averaged more than $2 million per game.

Even the small market Winnipeg Jets are worth $340 million, which is twice what an investment group paid to move them out of Atlanta two years ago.

And the renewal of the TV deal to air games in Canada after this season is likely to garner $200 million per year, according to the Forbes report.

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