Maple Leafs top NHL’s most valuable franchise list

NHL's 1st $2 billion franchise

What’s Happening: The NHL has added a 32nd team in 2021, but its most valuable are still circa-1942. In findings released by Sportico last week, the original six teams top the most-valued franchises. 

The Maple Leafs topped the list, valued at $2 billion dollars, followed by the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, and Boston Bruins. 

View the full top 5 here: 

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs - $2 billion

  2. New York Rangers - $1.87 billion

  3. Montreal Canadiens - $1.58 billion

  4. Chicago Blackhawks - $1.36 billion

  5. Boston Bruins - $1.31 billion

While the top of this list isn’t surprising, neither is the bottom. Rounding out the rankings are the soon-to-be homeless Arizona Coyotes ($410K) and Florida Panthers ($520K). 

Recent expansion teams also are valued quite well, with Vegas ($890K) coming in at number 12 and Seattle ($860K) at 14. 

Sportico reports that the average value of an NHL team is $934K, which pales in comparison to other major sports. The average team value in the NFL is $3.5 billion, $2.3 billion in the NBA, and $2.2 billion in MLB. 

Original 6: The original six teams sat atop the list a year ago as well with the only difference being the Rangers and Maple Leafs trading places at the top. A report from Forbes in December 2020 revealed that the original six teams accounted for 25% of the league’s revenues. Without them, the NHL would have lost $50 million, the report states. 

Those elite teams are the benefactors of lucrative local television deals which allow them to make up for a previously paltry national deal the league had. But with the NHL now finding its own lucrative national deal with ESPN and Turner Sports, perhaps a year from now there will be a shift in the top-heavy model.

Value Doesn’t = Winning: One common finding from the Sportico report is that success on the ice isn’t required for success financially. The Leafs top the list amid a 54-year Stanley Cup drought and not winning a playoff round since 2014. The last original six team to win a cup was the Blackhawks in 2015. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Panthers are expected to contend for their division title and are 31st on the list. 

Recent Stanley Cup winners are also middle of the pack. The two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning are 18th, 2019 champion St. Louis Blues come in at 23rd, and the Pittsburgh Penguins sit 15th after winning in 2017.

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