What Is the NHL Worth?

A look at the business of the NHL – the most recent Forbes valuations of the NHL’s 30 teams and what those numbers mean.

NHL’s place in the sports landscape

The NHL is the oldest professional hockey league in the world, and it is also one of the most popular. The NHL is also one of the most profitable sports leagues, and it is currently worth an estimated $2.2 billion. The NHL has seen a lot of growth in recent years, and it is currently the fifth most popular sport in the United States.

Revenue compared to other major sports leagues

In the United States, the NHL lags behind the NFL, MLB, and NBA in revenue, but it is ahead of MLS and NASCAR. In 2017, the NHL generated $4.54 billion in revenue, while the NFL generated $14.17 billion, MLB generated $10.17 billion, the NBA generated $7.41 billion, MLS generated $487 million, and NASCAR generated $631 million.

The NHL has been growing its revenue at a faster rate than any other major sports league in recent years. In the last five years, the NHL’s revenue has grown by 36%, while MLB’s revenue has grown by 9%, NBA’s revenue by 8%, and NFL’s revenue by 5%.

NHL’s television ratings

NHL’s place in the sports landscape has been a topic of conversation for years. The league has always been considered a “niche” sport, and its TV ratings have reflected that. But in recent years, the NHL has seen a significant increase in its TV ratings. In the 2017-18 season, the NHL averaged 1.15 million viewers per game across all networks, which was up 23% from the previous season. And during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NHL averaged 2.16 million viewers per game, which was up 32% from the previous year.

The NHL’s business model

Bettman has overseen a dramatic transformation of the NHL’s business model. The league has shifted from a primarily North American operation to a more global enterprise. In 2006, the NHL generated about $2.1 billion in revenue. By 2016, that number had grown to $4.5 billion. The NHL has accomplished this by capitalizing on the popularity of the sport of hockey worldwide.

Revenue sources

The NHL generates revenue from a variety of sources, including ticket sales, broadcasting rights, sponsorship deals, and merchandise sales.

Ticket sales are the NHL’s largest source of revenue, accounting for approximately 35% of the league’s total revenue in 2017. The average NHL ticket price is $79, and the average team generates $30 million in ticket revenue per season.

Broadcasting rights are the second-largest source of revenue for the NHL, accounting for approximately 30% of the league’s total revenue. NBC pays $200 million per year for the exclusive broadcasting rights to NHL games in the United States. In Canada, Rogers Communications pays $300 million per year for exclusive broadcasting rights.

NHL sponsorships generate approximately 15% of the league’s total revenue. The league has partnerships with a number of major corporations, including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bridgestone, Honda, and McDonald’s. These companies pay an average of $10 million per year to sponsor NHL events and products.

Merchandise sales are the NHL’s fourth-largest source of revenue, accounting for approximately 10% of the league’s total revenue in 2017. The average NHL team generates $5 million in merchandise sales per season.


Players’ salaries and benefits continue to be the largest expense for the NHL, increasing slightly from last year to reach $3.3 billion this season. Benefits include pension plan contributions and medical expenses for current and former players. Salaries have been rising at an average annual rate of 5% over the past several years and now account for nearly 50% of hockey-related revenue.

Player salaries are subject to a salary cap, which is set at a certain percentage of hockey-related revenue (HRR). For the 2018-19 season, the salary cap is $79.5 million per team. The salary floor, or minimum amount that teams must spend on player salaries, is also set at a certain percentage of HRR. For 2018-19, the salary floor is $58.8 million per team.

NHL teams also incur other expenses related to their players, such as signing bonuses, performance bonuses, and amounts paid to acquire players via trade or free agency. These expenses totaled $518 million last season and are not included in the calculation of the salary cap or salary floor.

The NHL’s valuation

The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league in North America, currently comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. The NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada.

Recent sales of NHL franchises

In the past few years, there have been a few notable sales of NHL franchises. The most recent and highest profile sale was the sale of the Carolina Hurricanes to Dallas businessman Tom Dundon for $420 million. This price tag set a new record for an NHL franchise, eclipsing the $350 million that Bill Foley paid for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights just a few years prior.

Other notable franchise sales in recent years include the Buffalo Sabres, who were sold to Terrence Pegula for $189 million in 2011, and the Ottawa Senators, who were sold to Eugene Melnyk for $127 million in 2003.

Comparable companies

To value the NHL, we looked at public companies with customers, fans, and revenue streams similar to the league. We also considered macroeconomic factors such as inflation and interest rates when deriving our valuation.

We ultimately decided to use multiples from the sports and entertainment industry to value the NHL. We believe this is the most accurate way to value the league because it captures the unique aspects of the business, such as media rights deals, which are a significant source of revenue for the NHL.

Based on our analysis, we believe the NHL is worth $24 billion.

The future of the NHL

The NHL is a professional ice hockey league that was founded in 1917. The league is made up of 30 teams from the United States and Canada. The NHL is the highest level of professional ice hockey in the world. The league is worth $4.8 billion.

Potential growth areas

There are many potential areas for the NHL to grow in the future. One possibility is expanding into new markets, such as Europe or Asia. Another possibility is increasing revenues through new media deals or sponsorship agreements. Additionally, the NHL could explore developing new products and services, such as providing more content for its digital platforms or launching a subscription-based service.

Risks to the NHL’s business model

Despite the NHL’s recent successes, the league faces several risks that could threaten its long-term stability. Several of these risks are outlined below.

1) declining interest in hockey: As other sports increasingly capture the attention of the American public, hockey may become a less popular option, leading to fewer fans and less revenue.
2) high costs: The cost of putting on a professional hockey game is significant, and as such, any decrease in revenue could have a critical impact on the league’s bottom line.
3) contraction: The NHL has experienced contraction in the past, and if economic conditions deteriorate, it is possible that the league will once again be forced to reduce the number of teams.
4) labor disputes: The NHL has a history of labor disputes, which can lead to games being cancelled or postponed. This not only impacts fans and businesses who rely on hockey for revenue, but also significantly increases the costs for the league.
5) player safety: As concerns about player safety continue to grow, it is possible that changes will be made to the game that will make it less exciting or reduce its popularity.

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