Sports analyst 'guarantees' 2nd NHL team in Toronto
Published Tuesday, January 3, 2012 12:45PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:02AM EDT
A prominent sports business analyst says he strongly believes that the Toronto area will be home to a second NHL franchise in the next few years after a leaked report showed Canadian teams dominated the list of league's most profitable hockey teams.
"Within the next five years I can absolutely guarantee you there will be a second NHL team in southern Ontario," Howard Bloom, publisher of SportsBusinessNews.com told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.
"There are two NHL teams in Los Angeles. Excuse me, three in the greater New York area. The best region for hockey in the world is southern Ontario."
A confidential NHL report leaked to the media this week showed that the NHL's six Canadian clubs were responsible for about a third of the $1.2 billion garnered in ticket revenue last season.
Five of the top six revenue-generating clubs were Canadian, according to the Toronto Star, with the New York Rangers the only U.S. team to break into the top tier.
The current reality of the league is a sharp about-face from the mid-1990s, when Winnipeg and Quebec City lost their NHL franchises and Calgary and Edmonton barely held onto their own.
Bloom said the major difference between now and when Winnipeg and Quebec City lost their teams in the 1990s is the strength of the Canadian dollar.
The NHL has returned to Winnipeg this season and Quebec City is planning to build a new hockey stadium, Bloom pointed out.
The economic strength of the country has made it a good landing spot for franchises that are struggling in non-traditional U.S. markets, he added.
The league-owned Phoenix Coyotes, the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New York Islanders – which are playing in a dilapidated arena – are among a half-dozen American teams that could be considered possible movers.
"This is the third and will be last year that the league will own the Phoenix Coyotes," Bloom told CTV News Channel on Tuesday. "Either they will be sold to somebody who wants to keep them in Phoenix … or they are going to be sold and moved elsewhere. A strong likelihood is that it could end up in Quebec City.
Bloom added that the Toronto area is another likely destination, considering the Toronto Maple Leafs are considered the league's most profitable franchise.