A Canucks money clip.
Forbes magazine’s "business of sports" section is easily the biggest name in valuations of North American professional sports franchises. Today they released their NHL franchise valuations. Now I’m not an expert in the business of North America professional sports, but I know enough to offer you this hard hitting bit of analysis: the Canucks are doing pretty well.
Read on past the jump.
Before we jump into the numbers, a quick diclaimer. To paraphrase our very own Petbugs, from his excellent work on changes in franchise value between the 2004-05 and the 2012-13 NHL lockouts, Forbes’ numbers "are almost certainly wrong."
[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.
That said, the numbers provide an interesting "snap shot" of the finances of the NHL’s various clubs, but I’d urge you to shake an unhealthy amount of salt onto the dish.
In terms of franchise value, the Canucks hold steady as the seventh most valuable NHL franchise behind only the original six clubs (Bruins, Rangers, Blackhawks, Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Red Wings). Since 2009, the Canucks’ franchise value has leapfrogged over the Dallas Stars and the Philadelphia Flyers, and based on their rate of growth it appears that Vancouver’s club could leapfrog into the top-5 (supplanting the Wings and maybe the Bruins) in the coming years.
Auspiciously for the Aquilini Group that owns the Canucks, the club is fourth in revenue (behind only Toronto, Montreal and New York) and also fourth in operating costs. As the old maxim goes: you have to spend money to make money, and credit to Canucks ownership, they’ve consistently proven that they’re willing to do so.
You can check out Forbes’ complete list of NHL franchise valuations here.