Leafs remain third in Forbes team value rankings, probably don’t care

It’s that time of year again, where Forbes magazine publishes their best guess at what the values of every NHL team are, and people get into a big fuss over where their team is ranked. In recent years, those in Toronto were able to sit back and laugh while the team sat in the top seed, but last season, the Blue and White fell from the peak of the mountain. This year, they’ve remained in the Bronze Medalist position, trailing two fellow Eastern Conference teams.

Rk Team Value Change Rank Team Value Change
1 New York Rangers $1.25b 4.2% 16 Calgary Flames $410m -5.8%
2 Montreal Canadiens $1.12b -4.7% 17 Minnesota Wild $400m 5.3%
3 Toronto Maple Leafs $1.1b -4.4% 18 New York Islanders $385m 18%
4 Chicago Blackhawks $925m 0% 19 Colorado Avalanche $360m 0%
5 Boston Bruins $800m 6.6% 20 Ottawa Senators $355m -4%
6 Philadelphia Flyers $720m 9.1% 21 Winnipeg Jets $340m -3%
7 Vancouver Canucks $700m -6.1% 22 New Jersey Devils $320m -3%
8 Detroit Red Wings $625m 4.2% 23 St. Louis Blues $310m 15%
9 Los Angeles Kings $600m 3.4% 24 Tampa Bay Lightning $305m 17%
10 Pittsburgh Penguins $570m 1.8% 25 Buffalo Sabres $300m 0%
11 Washington Capitals $570m 0.8% 26 Nashville Predators $270m 5.9%
12 Dallas Stars $500m 11% 27 Columbus Blue Jackets $245m 8.4%
13 San Jose Sharks $470m 5.5% 28 Arizona Coyotes $240m 9.1%
14 Edmonton Oilers $445m -2.3% 29 Florida Panthers $235m 26%
15 Anaheim Ducks $415m 3.6% 30 Carolina Hurricanes $230m 2.2%

Once again, the New York Rangers come out on top, to the surprise of few. The team has done consistently well over the last few years, their ticket prices trail only the Leafs in terms of average cost, Madison Square Garden is mostly full, and well, they’re a Manhattan team that owns their arena and the TV network they’re normally on.

The Habs are also probably riding a bit of the “have actually played more playoff games than the Leafs lately” train as well, barely squeaking ahead by about $20 million dollars or 40% of a Mike Babcock.

Beyond that, there’s a pretty obvious pattern here, and it’s that Forbes is really ride-or-die on the strength of the dollar. Every single Canadian team is down, even the ones that have picked up steam and marketing potential. By comparison, the New Jersey Devils are the only American team that isn’t equal or up, which I suppose isn’t a good look for them. Most interesting is the Islanders 18% increase in value; I figure that has to do with the move to Brooklyn, even though Barclays has been a disaster for them in many ways.

As noted throughout the network several times before, Forbes’ numbers aren’t usually the best or most accurate and likely serve more as entertainment with a vague outline.

[Forbes’ numbers] are collected from publically available documents and filings and some are estimates. Even then, there are many things that can get counted in a variety of ways when it comes to corporate finances, so comparing them is never going to be an exact science. This is even more true when we get to Operating Income, because any well-run company with a semi-competent CFO is going to try and use accounting methods to minimize the bottom line as much as possible in order to reduce the tax burden.

I can’t imagine that the Leafs won’t have a serious push back to the top next year. The new logo and wave of new young, marketable superstars has opened up a huge potential revenue stream, the Centennial Classic should bring in an income injection, and if the Leafs are, indeed, “Actually Good”, there should be a few games of playoff revenue to play with as well.

Either way, I doubt the MLSE cares too much right now. All four of their properties; the Leafs, Raptors, Toronto FC, and the Marlies are the most competitive they’ve been in a very long time (for the latter three teams, ever), fan satisfaction is at an all-time high, and revenues are still flowing in either way. They’re doing this the sustainable way, not the easy way, and while other teams are busy pretending to be slightly richer at the moment, Bell and Rogers are watching the long game fall into place.