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Forbes Says Penguins Franchise $$$ Steady as NHL Revenues Fall

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Athletes and professional sports franchises often lament the Forbes Magazine annual valuations and revenue projections. Teams often refute the high value, but recent team sales across all sports also lend credibility to the magazine’s work. In the annual accounting of professional sports, the Pittsburgh Penguins value has soared, even as NHL revenues have declined.

According to the Forbes Magazine Business of Hockey feature, the Penguins franchise is now worth $650 million. That is a slight 2% drop since last year, but given the economic climate in which we all exist, that’s within the margin of error.

NHL revenues took a hit as each team lost approximately 10 regular-season games and most playoff income.

The Penguins are the 11th most valuable franchise in the league but well behind the 10th ranked Vancouver Canucks, worth $725 million (U.S.). The most valuable team in the NHL is, of course, the New York Rangers, who are worth $1.65 billion.

According to Forbes, the Penguins rank eighth in revenues with $159 million and rank 10th with $14 million in operating income. There were 15 teams in the NHL with negative income, and the Calgary Flames reportedly just crossed into the red with only $400,000.

Of course, values should rise in the coming year not only as sports leagues return to normal, but the NHL will sign a new television deal after this season. A new U.S. TV deal is rumored to include ESPN and perhaps Fox, in addition to NBC. The NHL’s current deal with NBC paid the league $1 billion over 10 years.

By contrast, the Canadian TV deal paid the league nearly five times that figure.

For comparison, the closest Pittsburgh Penguins rivals play in much larger markets but don’t necessarily generate equal revenues. The Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals play in substantially larger media markets, and the franchise values reflect that.

The Flyers rank seventh in overall value at $800 million, as the Capitals are ninth at $750 million. However, both generated operating income just under $8 million.

Attendance and fan support matter, and the ever-growing Pittsburgh Penguins fan base clearly makes a significant difference.

You can read the full Forbes Magazine Business of Hockey Feature here.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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