Following the best stretch of success in franchise history has been tough for the Nashville Predators. After taking the Pittsburgh Penguins to seven games in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final and earning the Presidents’ Trophy in 2018, the team has been stuck in a sort of limbo — not bad enough to miss the playoffs but not really true contenders, either.
The stint in relative no-man’s land along with a global pandemic are reflected in the team’s financial standing. Forbes this week released its annual ranking of NHL franchise values and the Predators ranked 25th — the same spot they were on the 2018 list and one slot down from last year’s edition.
Forbes writers and researchers have valued the franchise at $435 million, a 5 percent drop from last year and estimate the team posted an operating loss of $13.4 million. Only the Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks equaled Nashville’s league-low one-year change in value.
On the whole, it was a down year for the entire league. For the first time in two decades, the average team value decreased from the previous season. As the COVID-19 pandemic shortened the regular season, delayed the playoffs and caused the Stanley Cup Playoffs to take place in bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton, revenue for the league dropped 14 percent to $4.4 billion and operating income fell to $250 million, a 68 percent decline.
The five most valuable teams were the usual suspects: the New York Rangers ($1.65 billion), the Toronto Maple Leafs ($1.5 billion), the Montreal Canadiens ($1.34 billion), the Chicago Blackhawks ($1.085 billion) and the Boston Bruins ($1 billion). They kept the league afloat, accounting for nearly a quarter of revenues. Without them, the NHL would have lost $50 million.
Forbes’ methodology — the full report is here — adjusts revenue and operating income to account for revenue sharing and is based on the 2019-20 season. Their valuations are enterprise values. They include the arena deal for each franchise, but the value of the real estate itself is not included.