The Toronto Maple Leafs are the most valuable NHL franchise according to Forbes.com, which recently released the 2023 top 50 franchises across all sports.
Toronto, which was the second last season, climbed one spot and is number one at $2.6 billion. The New York Rangers, first last season, dropped to the second at $2.45 billion.
The franchise value is determined by revenue, ticket pricing, hospitality, sponsorships, merchandise sales, and marketing.
In 2022, the most valuable franchises in the NHL were the Rangers at number one ($2.2 billion), the Maple Leafs ($2 billion), the Montreal Canadians ($1.85 billion), the Chicago Blackhawks ($1.5 billion), and the top five finishes with the Boston Bruins ($1.4 billion).
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the kings of the NHL in terms of financial value.
The 2023 list includes the same teams, so not much has changed, just a slightly different order. Coming in first is Toronto ($2.65 billion), the Rangers ($2.45 billion), Montreal ($2.27 billion), Chicago ($1.84 billion), and the Bruins ($1.78 billion) come in at number five.
The biggest increase from last season to this season was the Carolina Hurricanes, which saw an increase of 59% in overall value. The smallest increase goes to the Winnipeg Jets, who saw a 15% increase.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are third all-time among NHL franchises in wins (3,113), third in goals scored (21, 460), third in points (7, 201), and are second in Stanley Cups won with 14.
During the 2021-22 season, the Maple Leafs brought in $248 million in revenue. The Toronto Maple Leafs are owned by Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, Ltd. and are represented by Chairman Larry Tanenbaum.
In terms of sports as a whole, the most valuable franchise is the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys at $9 billion. Dallas is owned by Jerry Jones, who bought the team in 1989 for $150 million.
Number two on the list is the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball at $7.1 billion. The Steinbrenner family purchased the team in 1973 and paid $10.3 million.
The Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association are at number three, valued at $7 billion, up from the $450 million price they were purchased for by owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber in 2010. Number five is Real Madrid of La Liga is valued at $6.07 billion and was purchased by club owners.
There is a big difference between hockey and other sports as hockey’s most valuable team does not crack the top 10. The biggest problem is hockey is not deemed as valuable as most teams if they do not bring in the same revenue.
Hockey does not promote their biggest stars in the same way as the NFL or NBA. The NBA and NFL have some of their biggest names doing commercials and ads for companies they are associated with.
We always see Aaron Rodgers, Stephen Curry, and George Kittle for products and restaurants, yet when was the last time we saw an ad, commercial, or an upcoming game announcement with Connor McDavid or Nathan MacKinnon?
Outside of Canada, hockey gets a lack of attention because fans in the United States are more geared toward the NFL and NBA, with F1 gaining momentum. Hockey has hurt itself in the promotion department and revenue because they have canceled special nights at the arena.
We could have had a pride night with souvenirs and merchandise to promote the lifestyle league-wide. The same goes for Hispanic Heritage Night and Military Appreciation Night.
This takes away not only the recognition these nights and people deserve but, from a revenue standpoint, they are missing out on a big opportunity to not only bring in revenue but by not letting the fans have merchandise to celebrate this as they wish.
The NBA wears many special-themed jerseys every year and replicas are sold in the team stores and online.
The NHL also lacks a social media presence. Most scores, updates, and notifications are from fans following the team and not from the official team pages themselves. Podcasts and radio are also more geared towards the NFL and NBA, which is another missed opportunity to spread the word about the game.
These two leagues promote extremely well and are bringing in huge revenue numbers. This is what the NHL needs to be doing. Toronto is a fabulous city and could do better financially if promoted outside Canada.
The New York area is massive but outside of New York fans, do other people even know they exist? The Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks are two markets that have a huge following because of their league longevity but are not advertised outside of those markets.
The NHL goes to Sweden for some games coming up that include the Red Wings, Maple Leafs, Minnesota Wild, and Ottawa Senators. Unless one is a hockey fan of those teams, could any other hockey fan say when those games are?
Unlikely. Over the years, the NHL has held Heritage Classics and outdoor games that many fans did not attend or watch because they had no information the league was doing this or were not told of the time and date due to a lack of promotion by the league.
The NFL and NBA bring in millions of dollars in revenue by simply promoting their product. The NHL is doing themselves an injustice by not doing the same thing.