Maple Leafs are first NHL team worth $1 billion


The Toronto Maple Leafs have become the first NHL team to be worth $1 billion, according to Forbes. This despite the fact the franchise hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967 and has missed the playoffs the last seven seasons.

Β The New York Rangers ($750 million) and Canadiens ($575 million) came in second and third on Forbes’s annual list. Forbes added that the Big Three accounted for 83 percent of the NHL’s income.

The Chicago Blackhawks ($350 million) and Boston Bruins ($348 million) rounded out the top five. The Los Angeles Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champions,Β rank 10th at $276 million

Forbes reports that the average value of the 30 NHL teams is $282 million, a 17.5-per-cent increase from last year.

Read more by clicking here.

Forbes Top 10 List

1. Toronto Maple Leafs ($1 billion)
2. New York Rangers ($750 million)
3. Montreal Canadiens ($575 million)
4. Chicago Blackhawks ($350 million)
5. Boston Bruins ($348 million)
6. Detroit Red Wings ($346 million)
7. Vancouver Canucks ($342 million)
8. Philadelphia Flyers ($336 million)
9. Pittsburgh Penguins ($288 million)
10. Los Angeles Kings ($276 million)

You can read why ESPN The Magazine ranked the Leafs as the worst pro sports franchise in North America by clicking here.

You can read about a Maple Leafs fan paying $5,300 for an old toilet from the team’s locker room at Maple Leaf Gardens by clicking here.

And you can read about Detroit Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan, a first-round draft pick in 2010, being arrested for drunk driving while wearing a Teletubby costume by clicking here.

(Photo by Mike Cassesse/Reuters)


  1. Harditya says:

    Leafs? 1 billion? What a waste of money lol

  2. Price07 says:

    IMO, this article by Forbes (assuming the numbers are more or less correct) illustrates exactly why the NHL has problems. Problems which they have created for themselves. I don’t see how anyone would think putting 2 teams in Florida, 3 in Cali and one in the friggin DESERT would be a good idea. Well, these numbers prove why I find these ideas so dumb. Not one of the teams I mentioned made any money last season.

    These teams drag down the others in terms of NHL bottom line income and they water down the league in terms of talent. They are a nuisance and Bettman’s stubborn stance on keeping these teams there is idiotic.

    He could save the NHL a whole lot of headaches by getting rid of money losing franchises (like a normal business would). Instead, he tries to lockout the players every 7 years until he gets a deal he deems “fool proof,” all at the expense of the fans.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the players are greedy and spoiled. But most athletes are. The difference is, I think the other sports are aware of what business model they should use, while the NHL thinks its the NFL but numbers show, it is quite far from that. Why are there 30 teams, 23 of which are in the US which clearly has hockey outside of the top 3 most popular sports?

    Again, just my opinion but man does this seem so stupid to me.

    • HardHabits says:

      3 teams account for the bulk of profits: the Habs, Rangers and Leafs. 13 teams lost money, almost half the league.

      I’d like to see a Canadian boycott of the NHL until two conditions are met; Bettman fired and contraction to 24 teams.

      • Chuck says:

        1/10th of the teams generate 83% of the revenues. Not a great business model.

        Being a Hab fan is like buying real estate: only over the long-haul will you appreciate the true value of your investment.

  3. HabFab says:

    An “honest mess”, a con view of the Forbes numbers;

  4. Sean Bonjovi says:

    I’d like to discuss something and it’s easier to illustrate my point if I use numbers so,
    Let’s pretend that:

    1. Total NHL revenue for 2011/2012 = $3.3 billion
    2. $3.3 billion HRR = a $70 million salary cap/ team
    3. The Montreal Canadiens generated $150 million in HRR in 2011/2012

    It would be more accurate to use variables in place of those numbers, but using numbers makes my point easier to follow, so if you don’t believe that those numbers are accurate please correct me, but the accuracy of these numbers is beside point of this discussion.

    Assumption #1:

    IMO the Montreal Canadiens are among a handful NHL teams that are “Lockout Proof”. (i.e. If the lockout lasts an entire season the Canadiens HRR in 2013/2014 will be the same $150 million that it was 2011/2012). Feel free to disagree.

    Assumption #2:

    Many (probably most) NHL teams are not “Lockout Proof” (i.e. However much HRR teams like Columbus generated in 2011/2012 it’s going to be less when play resumes).

    -> For le CH HRR ($150M) – Salaries ($70M) = $80 million. Much of that is needed to cover other expenses, but the rest is profit.

    -> If 2/3rds of NHL teams each lose 1/3rd of their HRR the salary cap will fall to about $54 million, in which case the Canadiens equation would become HRR ($150M) – Salaries ($54M) = $96 million.

    SO!… Please think about the NHL’s financial system, and how it’s contrary to a rich team’s interest for the poor teams to become stronger and tell me how that’s not really, REALLY! messed up. Thank you.

    • HabFab says:

      – Perhaps the reason Jacobs is the shaker & mover here.
      – To counter your second to last paragraph is the reason for increased Revenue Sharing. Would also be motive for the Habs to support the lock out, even if the only change was dropping the HRR to 50%, would increase the profits of the Habs between $11.5 -12 ml. And contrary to popular opinion, the Molson boys don’t own Molson Coors.
      – In your second pretend point, the average Salary Cap would be $62 ml ( plus / minus $8 ml)

  5. Bripro says:

    Forbes’ team valuation breakdown:

    Sport -$87MM (Portion of franchise’s value attributable to revenue shared among all teams.)
    Market – $479MM
    Stadium – $288MM
    Brand – $154MM

    Sport -$57MM
    Market – $361MM
    Stadium – $233MM
    Brand – $103MM

    Sport -$59MM
    Market – $266MM
    Stadium – $173MM
    Brand – $81MM

    Sport -$43MM
    Market – $138MM
    Stadium – $131MM
    Brand – $40MM

    Sport -$41MM
    Market – $133MM
    Stadium – $132MM
    Brand – $44MM

    They’re saying that the Laffs’ brand is worth $70MM than Montreal’s, and over $100MM more than the Bs.

    I would have to think that they’re focusing entirely on local economics for each team, because if you were to consider global implications and economics, there’s no way the Laffs’ brand is worth more than the CH.

    One area where I will tip my hat to the Leafs…
    Their debt/value is 14% vs. 50% for the Habs.
    The Rangers are at 0%. How sweet is that!

  6. habsfan0 says:

    I remember when the Habs lost the 1967 Final to the Leafs, I was so upset, I placed a curse on them: “May the Toronto Maple Leafs never win another Stanley Cup for the rest of this century!”

    Well, the century is long over, but the curse is STILL going strong!

  7. Boomer says:

    Hey Stubbs!!
    Just wanted to give you Heads up on the competition out there…
    This kid’s gunning for you! any chance we could get him on Habs TV?

  8. Sean Bonjovi says:

    The Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club can’t be worth $575 million dollars if Geoff Molson’s group payed about that much for the team + Evenko + the Bell Centre because those last two properties have to be worth something. I definitely believe that the holding company that owns the Canadiens is worth $575 million, and that MLSE is worth over $1 billion and that all the assets associated with MSG are worth $750 million, but I can’t see how those three NHL franchises are worth the values stated in this article.

  9. Stuck_in_To. says:

    I was born in 1968 in Montreal which means I cut my teeth on the 70s Canadiens. Sure, I had less than idea of what was going on to start but I’d been fully indoctrinated by the time I was twelve. And I was at the forum for Bob Gainey’s only career hatrick (vs. Jets) and, tragically, saw Lanny hoist the cup on our ice. It was horrible.

    How many of you have seen The Million Dollar Hockey Puck? I can still see most of the forum sequence in my head and can’t go to any barn without scoping out the rafters.

    Thing is, long before this lockout, I had two sons and have raised them in a largely NHL free household.

    Critics might be right in observing that moving to Toronto demanded that … but I’d suggest the trade Larry Robinson started it. Mario Tremblay and Houle pushed it to the brink and Koivu cemented the gravity of it. Of course, there were a hundred minor cuts all around those major cuts but that is life.

    I still watch the Habs, of course, but it’s more like my guilty cigarette that I smoke every Monday night after, of all things, my beer league hockey game. I never want them to pick up the habit.

    I try to get them to watch the World Juniors and the Olympics, including women, with me and, occasionally, the Stanley Cup buzz is too much for them to ignore, but no games, no sweaters, and no NHL 2013 for XBox. As my kid says, what is the point if they aren’t playing?

    After this lock out, I’ll watch again. But I long ago stopped contributing directly to NHL coffers and still consider the implications of the money I spend on hockey. I love the game and would pay for it but the NHL is not the game I love.

    • Bripro says:

      With all of what was once an obvious passion, I don’t understand why you don’t offer your kids the same luxury.
      They might surprise you.

      • Bill J says:

        At the very least let them choose if they want to, I would never exclude my children from enjoying sports.

        Imagine if Walter Gretzky had adopted that mentality.

        Go Habs Go!

        • Stuck_in_To. says:

          It is a testament to all your of you and your passion for the Habs that you read my post to mean that I stop my sons from watching NHL hockey. That is not it. I simply don’t promote it. If they came to it naturally, then so be it. But they don’t.

          Were the NHL a healthy business, were the politics correct — for me — then I would. but it is not a healthy business and I have issues with the politics, so I don’t.

          There are a lot of diehards out there and I don’t judge you. Most of the regular posters here are such diehards. But I think it is essential to the players in this debacle not to forget the people like me. We’re your lost revenue and that was the point of my post.

          • Bill J says:

            You say it’s essential for the players to not forget the fans, I support the players in this mess.

            Bettman expanded teams in non hockey markets, this caused the revenue sharing nightmare. And increased the amount of deficit teams making it harder for the league as a whole to be profitable.

            Then, a handful of idiot owners gave the go ahead to their GM’s to make insane contract proposals to some players. It’s illogical to look to the players as being the ones who MUST sacrifice to fix the financial problems of the league.

            Yet, the players have conceded so much already. With the $ amount separating the owners from the players amounting to 9-10 locked out days of revenue, it’s simply stupid greed by the owners to continue the lockout.

            Go Habs Go!

          • Stuck_in_To. says:

            Players as in actors was intended to mean Fehr and Bettman. Sorry for not being clear, it was badly worded.

      • Habfan10912 says:

        The bond with my son has been made stronger because if our love of the game and this team.


        • Bripro says:

          I envy you Jim.
          I can’t say that NHL hockey has bonded us, since Mat is a Bs fan, but it’s certainly made for some interesting discussions.
          What did enhance our bond though was his playing hockey and my being coach.
          He tried so hard to improve himself, which I later found out was to impress me. When he told me that, it felt bitter sweet, because I had hoped he was doing it for himself, but I was also flattered that he’d try that hard for me.
          And you should see that boy skate. I told his mother he would have won gold at the Olympics in figure skating (dead stare, heavy frown, slow shake of the head ….wait for it…. “you’re such a jerk.”).
          His set back in hockey was vision.
          But dad was always proud of him out there, and that’s something I think all parents and sons/daughters should experience.

          • HabFab says:

            I have 3 sons but the one with the biggest passion for the game is my middle one who is a Leafer. A long story but I blame his mother…teach me to marry a Torontian “sigh”. His reasoning was more to do with being born in TO.

          • frontenac1 says:

            I hear ya. My son was a habs fan with his idol being John Leclair. When he was traded to the Flyers he then became a Flyers fan.. When Leclair was cut and blew up with those DUI charges in Vermont he became a Habs fan again. Sometimes we have to let the lads go into the world and make mistakes and hope the see the light again.

          • Bripro says:

            That’s funny, my boy was a Habs’ fan until they traded Koivu.
            “Never again!” he said. And just like that, he came home with a B on his cap.

          • Blondie says:

            Great stories guys. I’ll add one, if I may.

            I have step-kids. The daughter and her son are avid hab fans, the boys took a different tack and it’s all my fault. I started dating their mother in March and the habs were out of the playoffs so I was rooting for Gainey’s North Stars when they made it to the finals. They took it to heart and, to this day, remain Stars fans.

            On the bright side when we play hockey on the Xbox there’s no fighting over teams. πŸ™‚

      • Stuck_in_To. says:

        Truly, because a small part of me responds to Habs fandom the way I respond to the idea that a bank will make me money and that the local insurance salesman really has my family’s best interest at heart.

        Snake oil. All of it is snake oil.

        I love a “good guy triumphs” story as much as the next guy but the NHL is not about that. The franchise is part of the NHL.

        The farthest you get from the knotted heart of corruption is the player.

        Overpaid? Yeah, but it is fandom that drives the gate revenue.

      • Stuck_in_To. says:

        What … : ) … was the cigarette analogy not obvious enough?? Just playing that for laughs, if such a thing exists in the lockout, but I am seriously appealing to a value metric.

        The thing is, watching the 70s Canadiens romp I never imagined the back room shenanigans that went on to ice teams. You can applaud and venerate the GMs and their legendary trades that led to contenders and cups but, the truth is, the franchises are not billed, advertised or generally sold to the public with that truth being self-evident. So why would you shackle part of your child’s world view to such a misrepresentation?

        This is the greatest hockey team ever assembled versus this is the greatest hockey team every horse-traded, bought, connived, contrived, bought or out-right thieved, etc. Very different ring to me … so I’ll bring up my kids on that difference.

  10. Ron says:

    NHL/NHLPA meetings over for the day. Back at it tomorrow. Wonder if someone will leak out anything to Allan Walsh so he can lie his a** off as to what was said.

  11. HabFab says:

    Bobby Mac looks at the forwards for Team Canada WJC;

  12. Ron says:

    Just announced that PK has been hired by Sportsnet to work the CHL games starting Friday during the lockout. Way to go PK.

    • HabFab says:

      If you listened to his Sportsnet radio show today, he said he was not going to Europe to take some poor guys job. Wonder when his crucifixion starts…loved the way he controlled the conversation especially when KK started on Hamrlik.

      • Ron says:

        Scott Moore, one of the Media Executive at Rogers said he was a very impressive guy. I listened to some of the clips and he was very good. He has a real calling for it. He showed composure in the Hamrlik segment, great kid.

      • frontenac1 says:

        Yeah,homeboy Erskine wouldn’t go to Europe either. Man , he would look good at the back end in a CH jersey.

        • Ron says:

          He loses it at time but he sure is a gritty bugger, sticks up for the boys and keeps players honest around the net. Not so good defensively though. Still would like him sporting the Habs jersey.

  13. HabinBurlington says:

    On a clear day, the sky appears to be blue.

    (This is just a test, if indeed I am corrected by wjc, well…..)

  14. HammerHab says:

    Commandant – do you have a link or anything explaining the
    actual profits from the Panthers versus Forbes guesstimates?


    It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

    • HabFab says:

      He doesn’t have profits from the Panthers but rather profits from the Arena…the blogger who wrote the story then took the giant leap that since the Arena made money the Panthers did too or didn’t have to.
      And before the conspiracies start, the NHLPA has accountants and access to the teams books under the CBA.
      In other words, a whole lot of smoke being blown out of Uranus!
      Or someone’s, not necessarily yours πŸ™‚

      • commandant says:

        1) Firstly the whole point about the CBA…. The NHLPA doesn’t care about Profits, just revenues, so there is nothing untoward going on here as long as Revenues are still counted as HRR (and they are). The NHLPA doesn’t care what creative accounting you do on your tax returns its still HRR and they will use it to figure out what 57% is, whether you were attributing it to the arena or the team. If the arena is making money and the team losing, the NHLPA doesn’t give two shits, as long as all the revenue is counted. So no, your point about the NHLPA having access to the books doesn’t do anything to prove that the NHL isn’t manipulating the situation for public consumption and PR purposes (along with the tax reasons its done in the first place).

        2nd – Yes the Audit includes concerts. However here is the funny thing…. the Audit shows that in every year between 1998 – 2010 the profit was pretty steady (and growing slightly each year) at an average of 10 million dollars per season. Then in one year, profit falls off the map, to barely over one million. That season? 2004-05, which seems a HELL OF A COINCIDENCE considering that is also the year of the season long lockout.

        HELL OF A COINCIDENCE part 2 is how the profit returns to normal levels immediately following that one “off year”

        Its almost as if, get this…. The Florida Panthers are a major source of profit for their owner. AMAZING.

        Go Habs Go!
        Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

        • HabFab says:

          Conspiracy theorist = ” HELL OF A COINCIDENCE.”

          re #2 – Yes, a loss of 41+ events and 680,000+ visitors will impact your bottom line big time…again no mystery bro.

  15. Timo says:

    Bruins suck.

    Here.. that’s my contribution to today’s discussion, whatever it is.

  16. Saywhat says:

    This is the End indeed.

    Hockey owners killing their brand to prove the point that they are the boss.

    Leafs valued 2:1 over Habs.

    Bring on the alien time shifting tectonic pole reversal Flu.

  17. 24 Cups says:

    Riley Sheahan was selected one spot ahead of Jarred Tinordi back in 2010.

    Right now, he’s the Red Wings’ version of Danny Kristo.

  18. The Jackal says:

    How are the dirty laughs and the Rangers worth so much more than Le Glorieux?!

    The Habs are the best team in the history of sports, have the best fans, and are probably the best known hockey team (and most support not only in Montreal but around the world) yet they are not worth as much as the next team? Makes no sense to me. Of course, it is not a measure of how good a team is or its fans, etc., but I’m just surprised how those 2 teams, whose fans are nowhere near as numerous nor as rabid, are so far up ahead?!

    Not all oysters produce pearls, thankfully, Price is a pearl producing oyster.

    • commandant says:

      – Price of Tickets (two teams that can sell their tickets at higher prices to corporate buyers, more corporations in Toronto/New York
      – Higher TV contracts

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • wjc says:

      How does one know how many fans a team has? Toronto fans are Canada wide and enthusiastic. Montreal fans are Canada wide and enthusiastic.

      The dollars tell the story.


      • The Jackal says:

        Well, from personal experience, I’d say Habs fans are more numerous and more widely spread out.
        First – I live in Toronto, and I see Habs swag almost daily – people wearing stuff, etc.
        When I lived in Montreal, and when I visit, I would never see anyone walking around in a Leafs jersey – there are exceptions of course, but I see way more Habs stuff here than I do Leafs or other teams stuff in Mtl.
        Second – I’ve traveled quite a bit, and I see Habs stuff in most places I have been to, but no Leafs or other NHL teams.
        That may just be luck, but I feel we have lots of fans around the world and Canada while the Leafs are more around the GTA and Canada.

        Not all oysters produce pearls, thankfully, Price is a pearl producing oyster.

  19. shiram says:

    Danny Kristo hopes to play for the Habs next season.

  20. B says:

    Interesting to see a sun-belt team (Kings) in 10th spot and ahead of half the Canadian teams.

    –Go Habs Go!–

    • wjc says:

      Surprise, surprise! Kings in 10th spot. But, but the weather is too hot for hockey.


      • bleedhabs81 says:

        probably has nothing to do with winning the cup recently. Nothing at all.

        I mean, who wants to buy tickets after they win a cup. Who wants to televise a cup winner.

        • B says:

          They were 10th last year and 12th the year before (and still ahead of half the Canadian teams). I believe the reason they moved up to 10th in 2011 was simply because Dallas and New Jersey did not do so well and moved down (and not because of a cup they hadn’t won yet).

          –Go Habs Go!–

          • Habfan10912 says:

            LA has the third largest metropolitan economy in the world. Just under $800 billion. My Uncles Barber shop is worth more there then in most places. That probably has more to do with their franchise value then anything hockey related. Location, location, location.


        • wjc says:

          But it is to HOT to win a cup.


  21. HabFab says:

    Pencil this into your calenders as a good game to watch;

  22. HabFab says:

    PK on Sportsnet, it is long but who gives a crap if people don’t like him…kid’s head is screwed on right!!

  23. HabinBurlington says:

    To all Dalton Thrower and Darren Dietz Fans! Sportsnet is doing an 8 part series following the Saskatoon Blades on their trip towards the Memorial Cup this year as hosts.

    I saw the first episode the other night, but was in sports bar so had no sound. I haven’t been able to watch it yet, but would be great way to get to know more about these 2 players.

    Keep your eyes open for it!

  24. D Mex says:

    The Leafs have finally found the secret to success : don’t play.

    ALWAYS Habs –
    D Mex

  25. Habfan10912 says:

    Holy crap. You don’t want to get caught cheating in the WHL.


  26. Habfan10912 says:

    The Toronto Maple Leafs. The Enron of hockey.


  27. sreuel says:

    Worth a lot because there are people who just pay outrages money then other teams for tickets

    • wjc says:

      Try “Leafs T.V.” pay per view, enthusiastic fans (some would say loyal fans).

      It has been said that Montreal would not put up with a team that did not win….but it has been almost 20 years. Tickets keep going up, sports shows dominate the air waves, just like in Toronto.


  28. Kooch7800 says:

    Check this out, Cap season ticket holders vent on the lockout. Those who don’t think the game won’t feel pain after….fans are pissed and I think that will hurt merch sales and in some markets ticket sales.

    “Keep your stick on the Ice”

  29. Habfan10912 says:

    Cap fans venting. I bet some of these never return.

  30. arcosenate says:

    According to my index they’re worth substantially less than that.

    Actually, as worthless as a barrel of monkey nuts.

    That’s right, monkey nuts.

    But that’s just how my evaluation of the franchise resulted.

  31. English is not a Crime says:

    This list brought to you by those who want us to feel sorry for the poor owners’ bank vaults, which is what forced this much needed lockout in the first place.

  32. commandant says:

    “Forbes reports that the average value of the 30 NHL teams is $282 million, a 17.5-per-cent increase from last year.”

    Now I hate the Forbes reports, but I find it funny that everyone quotes the “18 teams had operating incomes in the negatives in 2011” (now just 13). But doesn’t take into account that the prices keep rising.

    Why are the prices rising on teams that supposedly don’t make money?

    An Example from the real world, and not a Forbes Guesstimate, the Phoenix Coyotes sold for $170 million today, $30 million more than 2009

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Not unusual in the least for a pro franchise to have money losing seasons but still be increasing in value. Have to believe everyone knows the owners will eventually get a CBA better suited to their fiscal nees/desires. But you arent’ really believing the 170million price tag on Phoenix given all the BS backdoor deals going on between the City of Glendale and who knows what Bettman has cooked up for that sale.

      Winnipeg Jets sold for 110 million just a short time ago, plus a 60 mill. relocation fee. 170 mill for a team in a real market is a better assessed value.

      • HabFab says:

        And according to the magazine that will remain nameless made money. This while averaging 750 less fans per game. A difference when people actually pay for their tickets instead of the teams having to give them away in promotions.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          I just get confused, when is it okay to quote from this nameless magazine and when isn’t it?

          • HabFab says:

            The bronze rule applies here. “When it suits you”

          • commandant says:

            Which is why I added the REAL WORLD example, and not just relied on the notoriously unreliable magazine.

            Example2: Same Magazine in 2011 says Dodgers valued at $800 million.
            Months later Dodgers + Stadium sell for 2.15 billion.

            Anyone think that Dodger Stadium is worth 1.35 billion dollars on its own?

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

          • wjc says:

            When it helps your/their argument, silly.

            You (nothing personal) must know how this works “you/they hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest.”

            If it helps the argument quote it, if it doesn’t disregard it.


        • Ron says:

          Harper’s Weekly ?

  33. danedmunds says:

    Hopefully the lockout goes on forever and the Maple Leafs, like the rest of the league will be worth 0 billion dollars. That would be great news.

    go habs go

  34. Hobie Hansen says:

    Leafs Suck!

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