The Maple Leafs are valuable and inefficient and have diehard fans, according to Forbes
Despite the ongoing, soul-crushing NHL lockout, Forbes magazine still published its annual look at the business of hockey this week. As usual, the Toronto Maple Leafs were ranked the most valuable team in the league, but this year marks a special milestone: the Leafs are now the first NHL franchise to be valued at $1 billion, a fortune compared to the league average of $282 million. (Though Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment bigwigs like Richard Peddie and Tom Anselmi scoffed at the figure, Forbes argues that $1 billion is reasonable if you extrapolate from the $2.05-billion sale of MLSE this year.) The magazine also ranked Leafs fans third in the league, based on their willingness to shell out $123 on average for a ticket (the highest in the NHL by 50 per cent), plus robust memorabilia sales, social media activity and television ratings. On a gloomier note, the Leafs have the worst “bang for buck” over the past seven seasons, which means the money spent on player salaries isn’t netting wins or playoff runs. Not that Torontonians needed Forbes’ number crunchers to figure that out.