NHL team values are up 15% over last year to an average of $594 million, the biggest increase in three years.
Deal-making in and out of hockey has been a boon to the NHL, most notably the $2.2 billion sale of the Houston Rockets (NBA), the $1.2 billion price for the Miami Marlins (MLB) and the $500 million expansion fee paid by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. These three deals illustrate the willingness of buyers to pay ever-increasing revenue multiples for big-market, profitable teams (over eight times for Rockets), medium-market, money-losing teams (almost six times for Marlins), and new teams in untested markets (likely over three times this season’s revenue for the Knights).
The NHL has also benefited from its 2015 deal with MLBAM, in which baseball’s internet and technology arm purchased the rights to distribute hockey’s live out-of-market games and the NHL got just under a 10% stake in BamTech (technology and streaming services). In 2016, ESPN’s purchase of one-third of BamTech valued it at $3 billion. ESPN’s acquisition of a controlling stake in BamTech this year valued it at $3.75 billion.
Higher team revenue and profits (excluding the Knight’s expansion fee, worth over $16 million to each of the 30 preexisting teams) also boosted values. Average revenue for the 2016-17 season increased 8%, to $148 million. Operating income went up 20% over the previous season, to an average of $18 million (Note: all figures are in U.S. dollars). The seven Canadian teams were also assisted by a 6.7% increase in the value of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar from the 2015-16 season to last season.