this card is mostly red ink.
As if NHL fans haven't been bombarded with enough dollars and cents talk recently, Forbes magazine chose this week to release its annual summary of NHL finances. And while the figures got plenty of attention thanks to some headline-grabbing claims (like the Leafs now being worth $1 billion), they were also roundly criticized.
You might expect the notoriously secretive NHL and its teams to deny the accuracy of the Forbes numbers, especially during a lockout. But even unbiased observers were quick to point out apparent issues in the report. In fact the closer you dig into the numbers, the bigger the problems appear to be.
But why? How could such a well-respected magazine make such a mess of things? I wasn't sure, so I figured I'd go straight to the source. And it turns out that putting together an estimate of the NHL's business is tougher than it looks. According to my spies at Forbes, here's what they say went wrong:
- Although we appreciated the Phoenix Coyotes taking the time to share their in-depth business plan with us, we're still not sure whether or not "waltz into Glendale city council, give them all wedgies, and take their lunch money" counts as hockey-related revenue.
- We couldn't get a detailed answer about Winnipeg's revenue forecasts, because every time a Jets executive would start to answer a question Jeremy Jacobs would yell "Silence, peon!" and hit him over the head with a folding chair.
- While we did manage to get hold of an internal spreadsheet detailing all of the Toronto Maple Leafs future revenue projections, we couldn't figure out what all those sideways 8's mean.
- We tried to reach out to the Vancouver Canucks front office about their finances, but apparently it takes those guys six months just to make a simple decision about their net assets.