Value of Senators increases 73 per cent to $380 million, says Forbes

The value of the Ottawa Senators increased by 73 per cent in the last year to $380 million, according to Forbes, boosting it to 15th in the magazine’s annual rankings of NHL teams.
That’s close to three times the $127 million that owner Eugene Melnyk paid for the team and the arena on Aug. 6, 2003 when he rescued it from bankruptcy.
That should not only make him smile. It should also make up for his losses over the last 10 years.
In an Aug. 16 story in The Citizen, Melnyk and two senior executives — president Cyril Leeder and chief financial officer Erin Crowe – said he has lost $94 million since buying the team, or about $9-10 million a year.
However, in a radio interview in October on the eve of the season, Melnyk said the number was a lot higher – around $110 million over the 10 years.
Nonetheless, today’s valuation would still leave him with a nice profit if he sold the team today for what Forbes says it’s worth.
In rankings that are top heavy with Canadian teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs are No. 1 at $1.15 billion, an increase of 15 per cent; the Montreal Canadiens are No. 2 at $775 million, an increase of 35 per cent; and the Vancouver Canucks are No. 3 at $700 million, an increase of 105 per cent.
The full list can be seen at www.forbes.com/nhl-valuations.
The New York Rangers, No. 2 at $850 million, and the Chicago Blackhawks, No. 5 at $625 million, round out the top five.
This is the first time, says Forbes, that every Canadian franchise ranks among the top 16 in the 30-team league.
The Calgary Flames are 11th at $420 million, the Edmonton Oilers are 14th at $400 million, and the Winnipeg Jets are 16th at $340 million.
Forbes says Canadian teams typically have higher attendance and higher arena revenue than their U.S colleagues.
The St. Louis Blues, 28th at $185 million, the Tampa Bay Lightning, 29th at $180 million, and the Columbus Blue Jackets, No. 30 at $175 million, are the bottom three NHL teams.
While the Canucks posted the largest year-to-year increase in value, the Lightning posted the smallest, just three per cent.
On the whole, though, franchise owners will be sending thank-you notes to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
In the last year, thanks in part to a successful resolution of last season’s lockout, the value of the average NHL team has increased to $413 million, an increase of 46 per cent.
The average team had revenue of $88 million, while operating income averaged $7 million during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. That’s the second-highest profit since the 1997-98 season, according to the magazine.
Not everything is roses, though.
Forbes calculates that 11 teams lost money.
The Minnesota Wild led the way with a loss of $13.6 million, followed by the Phoenix Coyotes, with a loss of $8.9 million, and the Florida Panthers, with a loss of $7.7 million.
Oddly, even as they sit 30th, the Columbus Blue Jackets had operating income of $4.9 million last year.
The No. 18 Dallas Stars just barely squeezed into the plus side with operating income of $1.6 million.
The Maple Leafs led all teams with operating income of $48.7 million. The Canadiens were second at $29.6 million.
Rounding out the Canadian contingent was Vancouver at $15.8 million, Calgary at $11.5 million, Edmonton at $10.3 million, Ottawa at $6.8 million, and Winnipeg at $6.3 million.
The Senators had revenue of $83 million, according to Forbes, and a debt-to-value percentage of 39 per cent, though The Citizen estimated in August that that percentage was approaching 50 per cent.

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