The Value of Canadian Teams in the West

This continues our look at Forbes’ The Business of Hockey report in reference to the Western Conference Canadian Teams.

Unfortunately, it’s not great news, since all the Canadian teams in the west have trended down as all four teams missed the playoffs last season and sell-out streaks came to an end..

Still, 5 of 7 of the Canadian teams rank in the top half of the league in terms of value and fan bases, which is impressive considering the Edmonton Oilers (8 seasons), Winnipeg Jets (7) and Calgary Flames (5, tied with the Carolina Hurricanes) have the longest playoff droughts in the NHL.

Here’s our recap of the Forbes rankings as it relates to Canadian Western Conference Teams:

3. Vancouver Canucks (5th Overall)

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The Canucks had a devastating season in 2013-2014 that certainly took its toll but didn’t break the bank.  The team is still tops in the West in terms of Canadian teams, valued at  $800 million dollars, good for 5th in the league.  This is thanks to a lucrative 10 year television extension with Sportsnet that will cover regional broadcasts and multimedia rights until the 2022-2023 season.

The deal is a confidence boost for a team that went though times last season and suffered at the box office as a result.  The team’s 10 year sell out streak was finally broken due to a poor on-ice product and ticket prices on the secondary market are down 25% this season, despite one of the largest social media followings in the NHL.

Still, the team can boast the 6th best fans in the league, and that’s likely to rise after what, even at this early stage, seems to be a bounce back year for the Canucks, who are currently ranked 6th in the NHL standings.

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4. Edmonton Oilers (12th overall)

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The Oilers are doing all right.  They rank 5th among Canadian teams and 12th overall in the NHL with a valuation of $475 million. That’s no small feat for a team that has gone 8 years without a playoff appearance, the longest in the NHL.

Considering the team’s poor on-ice performance, the fact that their fans rank 9th best in the league is incredibly impressive.  Last season was the first year that Rexall Place didn’t sell out, despite that fans have little to brag about.  Even this season the arena is working at 100% capacity despite the team’s 11 game losing streak, that finally came to an end last night.

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5. Calgary Flames (13th overall)

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The Calgary Flames have a bit more to cheer about, but still rank 6th among Canadian NHL teams or 13th overall, with a valuation of $451 million.  Forbes blamed their low assessment on the Scotiabank Saddledome, one of the oldest arenas in the NHL.

Still, Flames fans continue to show up for games and thanks to the Saddledome’s high seating capacity (ranked 6th among NHL arenas), even when tickets are only 98% sold, attendance still ranks higher than other arenas like the Minnesota Wild’s Xcel Energy Center and Pittsburgh’s Console Energy Center who are selling tickets over capacity but have a lower average attendance.

Flames fans are ranked 10th in the NHL, but barely.  Forbes was quick to point out that the team’s high social media following gave it a slight edge over the Wild, Philadelphia Flyers and L.A. Kings for the last spot on their list of the league’s best fans.

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7. Winnipeg Jets (20th overall)

It seems like no matter how much the Winnipeg Jets try, they can’t gain any ground.  Valued at $358 million, the Jets rank last among Canadien teams and 20th overall.  The good news is that the Jets are one of the only Western Conference teams whose sell out streak didn’t end this season, and the team can boast selling out every game since the team moved to Winnipeg two years ago.

The trouble is that the Jets are the sole bread winners for the MTS Center and with a low fee for local television rights, the Jets must make the playoffs in order to increase their valuation and they have not been able to do so in 7 seasons, dating back to their days as the Atlanta Thrashers.   Harder still is the arena’s low seating capacity with only 15,000 seats making revenue that much harder to generate from dedicated fans, even if their ticket prices are in the middle of the pack, ranked 14th in the NHL.

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