A secret National Hockey League report detailing the ticket revenues of its 30 teams provides additional ammunition for those suggesting more struggling U.S.-based teams should be relocated to Canada.
The confidential document shows that the six Canadian NHL clubs last season accounted for about 33 per cent of the $1.2 billion (U.S.) in league ticket revenue. In 2007-08, Canada's six teams represented 31 per cent.
The report, which was obtained by the Star from several league sources, suggests operating a club north of the border is much more lucrative for the NHL. Five of the top six-revenue generating clubs are based in Canada, with the New York Rangers being the lone team from the U.S. in that group.
Tyler Dellow, a Toronto lawyer and hockey blogger, takes a look at these numbers.
I’ve written before about the astonishing amount of money that flows out of Canada and to the United States to fund NHL hockey there. National TV deals are shared and Canada – with only seven teams – generates far more revenue per team or per capita than does the US. I would suspect that Canadians buy a grossly disproportionate amount of NHL memorabilia – all of this money is shared equally amongst the thirty teams. It’s likely that at least five of the Canadian teams are paying revenue sharing. Going by memory, James Mirtle estimated that the Winnipeg Jets would hit $50MM in annual ticket revenue, which would probably put them into revenue sharing payment territory or very close to it – it would have put them seventh on last year’s revenue list. I think you can probably conservatively say that there’s at least $200MM flowing out of Canada annually to fund hockey in places that don’t care about it the way that we do.