The Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion that will transfer ownership from Donald Sterling to Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, has everyone talking. That everyone includes NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Bettman says if Clippers sell for $2billion, NHL has “a lot of franchises worth at least that if not more.”
— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) June 4, 2014
While the NHL is rising in popularity across the United States, it’s hard to consider Bettman’s assessment as true.
According to Forbes latest evaluation of NHL teams in November of 2013, the NHL’s highest evaluated team was the Toronto Maple Leafs at $1.15 billion. Of the five highest evaluated teams, three of them were located in Canada (TOR, MON, VAN). The other two were the New York Rangers ($850 million) and the Chicago Blackhawks ($625 million). Compared to solely Forbes evaluations, each team mentioned was ranked higher than the Clippers last evaluation of ~$600 million.
But due to inflation, the upcoming television contracts between the NBA and ESPN/NBC/etc., and the current direction of the Clippers who have gone from bottom-dweller to championship contender in a matter of three seasons, the franchise value skyrocketed.
The last NHL team that was sold, the then-Atlanta Thrashers in 2011, sold for $170 million. That same year, the Philadelphia 76ers were sold nearly double the Thrasher’s price, costing $280 million.
Based on these numbers, if the NHL’s highest valued team in the Tonroto Maple Leafs were to be sold immediately, it’s hard seeing them topple the Clippers monstrous price tag of $2 billion, a tag that happens to be the second highest ever for a sports team behind the Los Angeles Dodgers who sold for $2.1 billion.
Besides it’s hockey. No one cares enough for a franchise to sell for that much.