A Guide to the Money in the NHL
Hockey has always been one of the big four sports in the US, alongside football, baseball and basketball. But only a few years ago there were worries within the sport that it was falling behind those three and that others – such as soccer – could become more popular.
The pandemic obviously didn’t help matters but there has been a surge in interest, revenue and NHL betting in the last year. This is good news for everyone involved in the game – and that includes the owners. They don’t always crave the headlines but they will be happy with the current state of the hockey – both on and off the ice.
Where the Money is in Hockey
Back in 2013 the NHL signed a huge broadcast deal in Canada and the value of all the teams in the league increased massively. Since then there had been something of a downturn, with the reduced regular season last year obviously having an effect on the bank balances in hockey.
But since then there has been a possibly unexpected recovery. Team values and revenues have increased and the New York Rangers recently became the first NHL team to be worth $2 billion. There are historical and geographical reasons for that team’s success – but values have gone up across the board.
Why is Hockey Succeeding Financially?
The projections for NHL teams are for revenue to increase over the next few years. That is good news for all the owners and they should be able to do even better because of a number of reasons. New TV deals in the US have virtually doubled the money earned by the teams.
There are also more new arenas being built that bring in more money for the owners. This can be from hockey-related streams, as well as other areas of business. Sponsorship has also improved revenue. Jersey patches are to be introduced next year and that should bring in a lot of money, as in the world of club soccer.
New Owners, New Teams
One of the best examples of how well hockey is doing at the moment – and how attractive the sport and the NHL have become to investors – is the recent sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins. It is one of the iconic names in the league and the Fenway Sports Group bought the franchise for $900 million.
That amount values the team higher than other sales in the last few years and shows that there is a belief that the projected revenue is higher as well. After a flurry of expansion teams in the late 20th century, all had been quiet as the league was not seen as such an attractive financial proposition. But that has changed in the last few years too.
The Vegas Golden Knights began life in 2018, kick-starting a trend for bringing pro sports to the city. This season saw the unveiling of the Seattle Kraken as well. New teams mean more money and there are still plans to expand further, particularly in Canada.
The NHL’s Place in US Sports – and the Future
Although soccer is known as the world’s game, Major League Soccer has not transformed into a global superpower, as the owners would have liked. There are more people that play soccer in the US now but the NHL has been able to cling to its top four status – and that looks to be the case for the foreseeable future now.
NHL owners will be particularly pleased with the way that the league has performed financially coming out of the global pandemic. All of the Original Six will be looking to emulate New York Rangers’ financial success. Although there will be no new television deals to bolster revenue, the improved exposure could bring in money itself.
The NHL does not have the same global opportunities as other professional leagues in the US. But there is some scope for overseas markets for the teams – and that should make the owners even happier.
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