August 13, 2007

Owning a hockey team : is not good business -- or is it? With the recent change of ownership in Nashville and Tampa Bay one has to scratch his head over the amount of money those franchises commanded (Bill Davis doubled his investment by selling the Lighting). Here's an excellent analysis by Wes Goldstein of CBS Sportsline explaining why even with most teams bleeding money buyers are lining up for a chance to own a NHL Franchise.

posted by skydivedad to hockey at 07:37 AM - 9 comments

Bill Davis doubled his investment by selling the Lighting. He did a great job as premier of Ontario from 1971 to 1985 too.

posted by tommybiden at 09:14 AM on August 13, 2007

Never, ever underestimate the power of a man's ego. Owning a sport franchise takes the same kind of lunacy as owning an airline company. More often than not, a person buys a team (or an airline) just for bragging purposes.

posted by NoMich at 09:32 AM on August 13, 2007

Never, ever underestimate the power of a tax deduction.

posted by SummersEve at 10:00 AM on August 13, 2007

Totally - that's the rub, isn't it? Who needs fans when you have tax deductible assets measured against other far too profitable (and taxed) investments? Athletes have charitable foundations, consortium's and billionaire's have hockey teams. Great post.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:21 AM on August 13, 2007

Great post. and totally depressing. I think Wes owes some credit to Tom of

posted by garfield at 11:55 AM on August 13, 2007

More often than not, a person buys a team (or an airline) just for bragging purposes. Or the New York Post or Wall Street Journal. That being said, I would agree with SummersEve that a lot of this is tax-driven. I don't trust what owners in any of the professional sports leagues in the U.S. show as their balance sheets; it's way more complicated than what's coming in and what's going out with respect to that particular team. You have to look at it in the greater context of all of the owner's holdings and how losses or profits in one area offset those in another and how those businesses otherwise interrelate. (Although I might take issue with the implication in Weedy's comment that an investment can be "far too profitable," although I suppose there's ample room to debate at what level taxes on an investment might be set and what other special considerations from the government should or shouldn't apply.) I think hockey team owners also buy into the industry for the possibility of hanging out in that super-swinging hockey lifestyle and maybe getting some table scraps, if you know what I mean. (Previously discussed here, with this delicious link (audio).)

posted by holden at 01:33 PM on August 13, 2007

Garfield and holden, Thanks for the excellent links and all the great comments in this thread so far. Thanks Gang. Certainly seems to be a case of a win win for the Sellers and the Buyers plus the players have seen their take increase %25 since the CBA came about after the lock-out. Soaring ticket prices and the fans be dammed is the montra of the new look NHL. Thanks Bettman. Now, if only Bill Wirtz would get a clue and find a new owner for the Blackhawks!

posted by skydivedad at 01:59 PM on August 13, 2007

Speaking of the super-swinging lives of hockey team owners, former Sabres owner goes to jail. Hey, looky there, he'll be right up the road a piece in Butner, NC. Maybe he'll catch a Canes game or two on the radio.

posted by NoMich at 02:17 PM on August 13, 2007

I'll echo the comments about "buying a team for bragging purposes." Most of the people in a position to even consider such a purchase can lose a couple hundred million and carry on without losing any sleep. It's the last status symbol for the super-rich. If you can afford a pro sports team, there's not much you can't afford.

posted by SportsNarrative at 10:27 AM on August 15, 2007

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