Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

Very long time, no post.

In the months since the last SportVotes post… pretty much nothing has happened in Glendale.  I mean, sure… they had a solid playoff run and there was a controversial public financing plan and a threatened public referendum and a new potential owner is trying to gather the funds to finally buy the Coyotes, but really?  It’s just been long and dragged out beyond belief.

It’s honestly more depressing than anything, really.  That being said, it is somewhat amusing to go back and read through some of my own posts that more or less prognosticated the impending doom of the Yotes, only for it to get dragged on for another year (soon to be a second year) while the almost entirely ignored Thrashers up and moved to Winnipeg.

Is this the beginning of a new start at SportVotes?  Maybe.

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Click to enlarge.

 

For past articles on the Phoenix Coyotes, please go HERE.

First of all, it’s great to finally be back.  My computer problems are still persisting, but thankfully I now have a loaner laptop in my possession that will allow me to return to updating SportVotes.

In the two weeks since my last update on the subject, the situation in Arizona between the NHL, the Glendale City Council, and prospective Coyotes-owner Matthew Hulsizer on one side and the Goldwater Institute, a conservative taxpayers advocacy group, on the other, has continued to deteriorate.  The Glendale City Council had previously threatened to sue Goldwater and a number of other individuals should their attempts to block the sale of municipal bonds lead to the relocation of the Coyotes, but that threat has appeared to be mere posturing as weeks have since past with no actual move on this front.  Since then, the Goldwater Institute has apparently dug their heels on the matter and continued their efforts to warn potential bonds buyers about the questionable legality of the deal.

These moves have so seriously threatened the sale of the bonds, integral to allowing a new ownership group being able to buy the team and keep them in Arizona without absorbing exorbitant amounts of debt, that Glendale and Hulsizer have come hat in hand offering additional millions of dollars in guarantees for taxpayers to make the offer more appealing.  However, Goldwater is still convinced that the basic arrangement behind the proposed deal violates the state constitution, so they are not backing down.  NHL and Glendale officials have been trying their best to downplay the severity of Goldwater’s continued actions and threat to sue, but they are desperately worried.  Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, is on the verge of facing an outright owner’s revolt against him for failing to sell the Coyotes that has proved to be a massive burden on the league’s coffers, and Glendale has even gotten vocal support from powerful U.S. Senator John McCain to speak on their behalf to Goldwater.

And they have good reason to be worried.  The NHL’s and Hulsizer’s patience is limited, and at a certain point one or both will simply back out rather than continue to lose face.  Should that happen, there can be no denying that the Coyotes would be forced to relocate, likely as early as next season, a fact that has absolutely delighted Winnipeggers due to the likelihood that they are the prohibitive favorites to land the team in the event of a new ownership group buying the team and moving them elsewhere.  And, to date, there is no indication that Glendale is at all willing to drop their objections to the deal.

As per usual, more news on this as it becomes available.  And you’d better believe that it will be coming relatively soon.  The status quo cannot be sustained in the desert for long.

Past articles on the Phoenix Coyotes and their “Drama in the Desert” can be found HERE.

Potentially as early as tomorrow, the city of Glendale will be filing suit against the Goldwater Institute for its repeated attempts to block the sale of municipal bonds meant to finance a deal that would keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona.  Claiming that losing the franchise would result in a potential net loss of a half billion dollars in future revenue sources for the city, the Glendale City Council has instructed the city attorney to file suit against Goldwater Institute.  While it should come as no surprise that Glendale would bear its teeth at the conservative watchdog after their repeated questioning over the legality of the city’s attempts to push through the controversial bond issue, what should be viewed as a shocker is the potential scope of the lawsuit.  If Goldwater continues its opposition and subsequently forces the NHL to halt efforts to keep the team in Arizona, Glendale could be seeking damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  On top of that, Glendale will not only be suing  the Goldwater Institute for damages, but also individual members of its board of directors and even the wife of the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks due to allegations that the baseball team has been supporting Goldwater so as to remove a major sports competitor from their market.

In my personal opinion, this is an absolute, last-ditch effort by Glendale to keep the franchise.  Grumblings from the NHL have been growing ever fiercer for months over their continued financial hardship in administering the deeply unprofitable franchise, and the other teams’ owners have all-but lost patience for continuing to fund the Coyotes while attempts to keep the team in Arizona under new ownership have floundered.  Additionally, prospective buyers have already popped up in Winnipeg that are willing to buy the franchise and pay off the debt in order to move the team and bring back the Jets.  While the NHL has obviously been interested in keeping the team in the Southern United States in the hopes of gaining a major American television contract, the prospect of the situation in Glendale dragging on has inexorably been pushing the league’s higher-ups for cutting ties in the desert and recouping their losses by selling off the franchise back to its original Manitoban roots even at the risk of losing a major media market in Arizona.

As a result of this, Glendale is firing directly at the bow of not only the Goldwater Institute, but at its directors and supporters in a single, vicious stroke.  They are going to try to scare Goldwater to withdraw their threat to block the bond issue with a lawsuit of their own and hit them in the pocketbook should Glendale lose the Coyotes.  And to my nose, this reeks of a desperation bully move.  Even if it is shown that Glendale did not break state law with the proposed massive bond issue, the prospect of facing a lawsuit could very likely delay the NHL’s sale of the franchise long enough that they simply give up on attempts to keep the team in Arizona and allow prospective owners from elsewhere to buy the team with the intention of immediately relocating as quickly as possible.

It will all come down to a blinking game.  If Glendale’s threat forces Goldwater down in the near-immediate future, the NHL’s sale of the franchise to an owner committed to keeping the team in Arizona will go through.  If Goldwater doesn’t back down and either keeps up their legal threats or even outright files a lawsuit against the city, then the NHL will blink and allow the team to be purchased by outside ownership groups, effectively killing the Coyotes.  This is going to be a battle that messily intertwines the sports world, the political world, and the business world before all is said and done.

3/9 UPDATE: Rather than making a new entry, I figured that I’d just add on some news here.

As of right now, despite Glendale’s initial intention to file suit as early as Monday, the city and the NHL are mostly stuck in a staring contest with the Goldwater Institute to see which one blinks first.  Both sides are threatening legal action and Commissioner Gary Bettman of the NHL is sounding exasperated over the continued speedbumps that have been thrown up at every step of the process in his attempts to sell the Coyotes.  Canadian media is getting positively giddy at the notion that the league’s patience could be on the verge of running out and that a return to Winnipeg could be coming sooner rather than later.  As soon as new information about the continued drama in the desert becomes  available, I will report on it here.  Until then, the Arizona standoff continues.

It took a while longer than I had anticipated, but we have more news regarding the continued troubles of the Phoenix Coyotes, arguably the most beleaguered franchise in major North American sports.  As I already covered previously, the Yotes have been experiencing setback after setback during their brief history in the Arizona desert.  Recently though, things appeared to finally be going in the right direction for the team, as they finally returned to the playoffs again last year, the franchise had reached an important refinancing deal that saw the city of Glendale assume a significant portion of the team’s debt, and the NHL was finally beginning to make a move on selling the team to an attractive ownership group headed up by Matthew Hulsizer, the head of a Chicago-based securities firm that has had a long interest in hockey.  The combination of Hulsizer’s deep pockets and Glendale’s willingness to not only adopt a $100 million bond issue to absorb most of the team’s debts, but also pay any potential buyer $197 million over six years to keep the team in Glendale, seemed to be a major turning point in keeping the Coyotes in Arizona.  For the first time, it would actually be financially possible for the team to turn a profit.

Could the Jets be coming back?

However, the Glendale bond issue proved to be immediately controversial amongst a significant segment of the local conservative population, as many area residents were opposed to using public funds to finance the team, especially as so many of them had been unwilling to even support the team at all during their years in the desert.  In response, the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute, an organization that has long derided the use of any public monies to fund private sports teams, has threatened to file suit against the bond issue by claiming that it actually broke state law.  This threat has effectively paralyzed the NHL’s negotiations with Hulsizer to the point where it is now actively feared that the continued opposition to the bond issue could cause him to pull out of the negotiations in the same fashion that Jerry Reinsdorf (owner of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls) did the previous year.  The mayor of Glendale, Elaine Scruggs, recently held a press conference in which she called for the Goldwater Institute to stop their legal threats and that their continued opposition could cause the entire deal to fall apart (which is exactly what the Goldwater Institute wants).

Or the Nordiques?

Or how about the Scouts?

Should the Goldwater Institute stick to its guns and keep up their opposition to the bond issue, the Coyotes troubles could very well continue to pile up.  Additionally, as the league has assumed ownership of the team, they are the ones hemorrhaging money.  The other 29 team owners are none-too-pleased at their continued flushing of money down the toilet in funding an unwanted team (especially an unwanted team that appears likely to reach the playoffs again), and their patience with the NHL’s actions have to be running thin at this point.  Canadian sports fans are undoubtedly giddy at the whole prospect of the Coyotes potentially moving out of Arizona, as several major Canadian offers have been publicly put forward to try to land an NHL team in Winnipeg, Hamilton, Quebec City, and even a second team in Toronto.  Despite the fact that the Maple Leafs would very likely block any attempt to add as second Toronto-based team, and the Leafs and the Sabres would unite to block a Hamilton-based team, the offers from Winnipeg and Quebec City would have to be viewed as extremely attractive alternatives to the NHL, especially by owners seeking to rid themselves of their shared burden in the desert.  Other American cities have likewise been lobbying for new teams, most notably Kansas City, meaning that there is plenty of interest in moving the Coyotes elsewhere from from even within the United States.

More on this undoubtedly at a later date.

STORY UPDATE – The situation regarding the Sacramento Kings has since changed.  For more information on the Sacramento Kings request for a deadline extension, please go HERE.

—–

I was expecting to just sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice, long day of watching hockey today, but pretty much as soon as I woke up I noticed not one, but two relocation rumors circulating the web.  When it comes to any sports relocation rumors, you need to obviously take them with a grain of salt.  However, these are surrounding two teams that are oft-discussed as potential relocation candidates and the stories have been picked up by various major media outlets, including the New York Times, USA Today, and ESPN, so I think that the discussion of both teams is obviously worthwhile here on SportVotes.

The first rumor is surrounding the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association.  According to ESPN reporter Marc Stein, and seemingly confirmed by NBA commissioner David Stern, the Kings are in close negotiations with the city of Anaheim over the possibility of moving from the state capital to the Orange County for next season.  Any such relocation proposal would need to be submitted to the NBA by March 1st, so the Kings are really on the clock if they are actually considering this move.

Purple basketballs are in vogue in Sacramento.

For those that don’t know, the Kings are a team that have already relocated three times over the course of their long history, having existed previously as the Rochester Royals (1945–57), Cincinnati Royals (1957–72), and the Kansas City/Omaha Kings (1972–85) prior to finally moving to Sacramento.  No matter where they go however, the franchise just never seems to be able to find sustainable success and are currently experiencing what will soon become a six-decade championship drought.  In the quarter century they’ve spent in their current home, the Kings have appeared in the playoffs ten times (including an impressive eight-year streak from 1999-2006), but have only won their division twice.  They’ve been stuck out of the playoffs for the past four seasons and have been suffering from declining attendance during that time.  Couple that drop in attendance with the team’s belief that they play in an outdated facility, the ARCO Arena (set to be renamed to the Power Balance Pavillion on March 1st, oddly enough the exact same day as the already mentioned deadline to give notice to the NBA for a possible relocation for next season), and you have a classic recipe for relocation.

The Kings have been pushing for years for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art arena in downtown Sacramento.  They had planned on eliciting partial public support for the proposed-$600 million arena, but in 2006 voters overwhelmingly rejected a pair of ballot measures which would have created a 15-year quarter cent sales tax increase for the funding of the new arena.  With this avenue for revenue blocked, the Kings and the NBA approached the California state fairgrounds with a plan that would include a potential landswap and various other measures to allow for a new facility to be built on their grounds.  In 2010 though, this too was shot down, leaving the Kings with the firm belief that they had to consider the possibility of relocation.  Ever since then, the Kings have been in highly publicized and speculative meetings with various municipalities, including Las Vegas, San Jose, and Louisville, Kentucky on the possibility of moving the team.

On February 19th however, during the All-Star Game festivities in Los Angeles, the relocation discussions appeared to have gone from speculative to probable, as NBA commissioner David Stern admitted that the Kings were currently in discussion with the city of Anaheim and that the team had inquired the NBA about the potential to relocate.  While the threat of moving a franchise has long been used as leverage to successfully gain public funding for new arena construction projects, these appear to be actual serious discussions.  Couple that with the short timetable between when the discussions became publicized with the notice deadline for any potential relocation, which stands at just a little over a week from now, and from all perspectives this appears to be a serious threat over a mere bargaining ploy.

If the discussions actually move to fruition, the Kings would likely play in the Honda Arena, home of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.  An interesting name discussion might also arise if the relocation goes through, as the Los Angeles metropolitan area already has another franchised named the Kings, the Los Angeles-based NHL team, which plays a mere 30 miles to the northwest of their prospective home in Anaheim.  While there have been past examples of teams in the same area having the same name (such as the former examples of the St. Louis football and baseball Cardinals and the New York football and baseball Giants), it would be a unique rarity in sports today.  In fact, the Sacramento Kings also have a history of changing their name in acquiescence of another team, as the franchise became the Kings so as to not have the same name as the Kansas City Royals of the MLB when they relocated, despite the fact that the basketball team had existed in other cities long before baseball team had even been founded.

But, that would be a discussion for another day.

The next team that has been rumored recently is the long-troubled Atlanta Thrashers of the NHL.  While the rumors circulating around the Kings appear to be at least relatively substantive, the rumors about the Thrashers are much more speculative, albeit still significant.  The Thrashers have existed in Georgia since they were founded as an expansion franchise in 1999.  Since their foundation though, the Thrashers have been a troubled franchise, having only made it into the playoffs once in their time in the league.  Combined with attendance figures that have been near the bottom of the league for years with their very low franchise value, which has been ranked 121st out of 122 major professional sports teams in North American in both 2009 and 2010, and you can see why the Thrashers have long been rumored on the league’s chopping block for potential relocation.

Despite their on- and off-ice troubles, I've always liked the Thrashers logo.

Despite recent high profile moves by the team in adding to their roster to try to make it to the postseason this year, including signing assistant captain Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year, $26 million contract, recent news has also spread the flames of rumors surrounding the potential for relocation.  Court documents released in January have shown that the current ownership group has been hunting for potential investors and part-owners unsuccessfully for the past six years.  And, as recently reported on the NHL Network, the league is apparently getting involved in actively trying to get a new majority owner to buy the team in the next 6-8 weeks, indicating that, if a new ownership group is not found in that time frame, they might be willing to open the door for relocation talks to other cities.

While the NHL obviously does not want to give up on the ninth largest market in the United States, they also appear to not want to repeat the mistakes they’ve made (and are currently making) in Phoenix with the Coyotes.  The Thrashers are already hemorrhaging money and facing a distinct disinterest from local sports fans, almost a mirror image of what has already been happening in Arizona, and the league apparently does not want to be stuck holding the tab for yet another southern white elephant.

This, of course, has fed the flames of one of Canada’s favorite pastimes over the past decade, speculating over potentially adding another team up north.  Centered mostly around Winnipeg and Quebec City, both of which lost NHL franchises in the 1990’s, hopes for new Canadian teams have been fiercely stoked over the past couple years.  Most recently, hundreds of Quebec City residents traveled south to Long Island to attend a game between two of the most oft-discussed relocation candidates, the New York Islanders and the Thrashers.  Former-Nordiques fans rallied throughout the game to get their support for relocation heard by both teams, much to the resentment of Islanders fans in the arena.  Additionally, a primary reason for both Winnipeg and Quebec City losing their franchises in the first place, not having available up-to-date arenas, has mostly been solved in both municipalities, as Winnipeg already has the ultra-modern, though smallish, MTS Centre, and Quebec City recently approved partial municipal funding for an NHL-caliber arena, which is currently in the process of being designed.

Given the very short time table for both teams, we can definitely expect to hear much more on this in the coming days and weeks.  If you asked me to rank which one was more likely, I would have to go and say that the Kings relocating is definitely the more probable option, given the NBA’s already shown willingness to allow teams to relocate over stadium issues versus the NHL’s fierce defense of unprofitable teams.  However, if the rumors about the NHL not wanting to face another Phoenix situation are true, then the impetus to search for an ownership group to move the team elsewhere could very have have legs of its own as well.

2010 Team Valuations

Posted: February 15, 2011 in MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, Team Valuations

As promised yesterday, here are the Forbes Magazine team valuations from 2010.  There were a few big winners and a few big, big losers, but let’s just list ’em all and see what we’ve got, shall we?

1. Dallas Cowboys – $1,805 million – NFL
2. New York Yankees – $1,600 million – MLB
3. Washington Redskins – $1,550 million – NFL
4. New England Patriots – $1,367 million – NFL
5. New York Giants – $1,182 million – NFL
6. Houston Texans – $1,171 million – NFL
7. New York Jets – $1,144 million – NFL
8. Philadelphia Eagles – $1,119 million – NFL
9. Baltimore Ravens – $1,073 million – NFL
10. Chicago Bears – $1,067 million – NFL
11. Denver Broncos – $1,049 million – NFL
12. Indianapolis Colts – $1,040 million – NFL
13. Carolina Panthers – $1,037 million – NFL
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $1,032 million – NFL
15. Green Bay Packers – $1,018 million – NFL
16. Cleveland Browns – $1,015 million – NFL
17. Miami Dolphins – $1,011 million – NFL
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – $996 million – NFL
19. Tennessee Titans – $994 million – NFL
20. Seattle Seahawks – $989 million – NFL
21. Kansas City Chiefs – $965 million – NFL
22. New Orleans Saints – $955 million – NFL
23. San Francisco 49ers – $925 million – NFL
24. Arizona Cardinals – $919 million – NFL
25. San Diego Chargers – $907 million – NFL
26. Cincinnati Bengals – $905 million – NFL
27. Boston Red Sox – $870 million – MLB
28. New York Mets – $858 million – MLB
29. Atlanta Falcons – $831 million – NFL
30. Detroit Lions – $817 million – NFL
31. Buffalo Bills – $799 million – NFL
32. St. Louis Rams – $779 million – NFL
33. Minnesota Vikings – $774 million – NFL
34. Oakland Raiders – $758 million – NFL
35. Los Angeles Dodgers – $727 million – MLB
36. Chicago Cubs – $726 million – MLB
37. Jacksonville Jaguars – $725 million – NFL
38. New York Knicks – $655 million – NBA
39. Los Angeles Lakers – $643 million – NBA
40. Philadelphia Phillies – $537 million – MLB
41. Los Angeles Angels – $521 million – MLB
42. Chicago Bulls – $511 million – NBA
43. Toronto Maple Leafs – $505 million – NHL
44. St. Louis Cardinals – $488 million – MLB
45. San Francisco Giants – $482 million – MLB
46. Chicago White Sox – $466 million – MLB
47. New York Rangers – $461 million – NHL
48. Houston Astros – $453 million – MLB
49. Boston Celtics – $452 million – NBA
50. Texas Rangers – $451 million – MLB
51. Atlanta Braves – $451 million – MLB
52. Houston Rockets – $443 million – NBA
53. Seattle Mariners – $439 million – MLB
54. Dallas Mavericks – $438 million – NBA
55. Miami Heat – $425 million – NBA
56. Phoenix Suns – $411 million – NBA
57. San Diego Padres – $408 million – MLB
58. Montreal Canadiens – $408 million – NHL
59. Minnesota Twins – $405 million – MLB
60. San Antonio Spurs – $404 million – NBA
61. Toronto Raptors – $399 million – NBA
62. Cleveland Indians – $391 million – MLB
63, Washington Nationals – $387 million – MLB
64. Orlando Magic – $385 million – NBA
65. Colorado Rockies – $384 million – MLB
66. Arizona Diamondbacks – $379 million – MLB
67. Baltimore Orioles – $376 million – MLB
68. Detroit Tigers – $375 million – MLB
69. Golden State Warriors – $363 million – NBA
70. Detroit Pistons – $360 million – NBA
71. Portland Trail Blazers – $356 million – NBA
72. Cleveland Cavaliers – $355 million – NBA
73. Milwaukee Brewers – $351 million – MLB
74. Utah Jazz – $343 million – NBA
75. Kansas City Royals – $341 million – MLB
76. Cincinnati Reds – $331 million – MLB
77. Philadelphia 76ers – $330 million – NBA
78. Oklahoma City Thunder – $329 million – NBA
79. Toronto Blue Jays – $326 million – MLB
80. Washington Wizards – $322 million – NBA
81. Florida Marlins – $317 million – MLB
82. Tampa Bay Rays – $316 million – MLB
83. Denver Nuggets – $316 million – NBA
84. Detroit Red Wings – $315 million – NHL
85. New Jersey Nets – $312 million – NBA
86. Los Angeles Clippers – $305 million – NBA
87. Boston Bruins – $302 million – NHL
88. Philadelphia Flyers – $301 million – NHL
89. Chicago Blackhawks – $300 million – NHL
90. Oakland Athletics – $295 million – MLB
91. Atlanta Hawks – $295 million – NBA
92. Sacramento Kings – $293 million – NBA
93. Pittsburgh Pirates – $289 million – MLB
94. Charlotte Bobcats – $281 million – NBA
95. New Orleans Hornets – $280 million – NBA
96. Indiana Pacers – $269 million – NBA
97. Memphis Grizzlies – $266 million – NBA
98. Minnesota Timberwolves – $264 million – NBA
99. Vancouver Canucks – $262 million – NHL
100. Milwaukee Bucks – $258 million – NBA
101. Pittsburgh Penguins – $235 million – NHL
102. Dallas Stars – $227 million – NHL
103. New Jersey Devils – $218 million – NHL
104. Los Angeles Kings – $ 215 million – NHL
105. Calgary Flames – $206 million – NHL
106. Minnesota Wild – $202 million – NHL
107. Colorado Avalanche – $198 million – NHL
108. Washington Capitals – $197 million – NHL
109. Ottawa Senators – $196 million – NHL
110. San Jose Sharks – $194 million – NHL
111. Anaheim Ducks – $188 million – NHL
112. Edmonton Oilers – $183 million – NHL
113. Buffalo Sabres – $169 million – NHL
114. Florida Panthers – $168 million – NHL
115. St. Louis Blues – $165 million – NHL
116. Carolina Hurricanes – $162 million – NHL
117. Columbus Blue Jackets – $153 million – NHL
118. New York Islanders – $151 million – NHL
119. Nashville Predators – $148 million – NHL
120. Tampa Bay Lightning – $145 million – NHL
121. Atlanta Thrashers – $135 million – NHL
122. Phoenix Coyotes – $134 million – NHL

Overall NFL franchise value – $32,718 million
Overall MLB franchise value – $14,741 million
Overall NBA franchise value – $11,063 million
Overall NHL franchise value – $6,843 million
Overall Big 4 franchise value – $65,365 million

Average (mean) NFL franchise value – $1,022 million
Average (mean) MLB franchise value – $491 million
Average (mean) NBA franchise value – $369 million
Average (mean) NHL franchise value – $228 million

Most average (mean) NFL franchise – Green Bay Packers (-4 million below mean)
Most average (mean) MLB franchise – St. Louis Cardinals (-3 million below mean)
Most average (mean) NBA franchise – Golden State Warriors (-6 million below mean)
Most average (mean) NHL franchise – Dallas Stars (-1 million below mean)

Highest/Mean (high = unbalanced)
MLB – 325.20%
NHL – $221.49%
NBA – 177.51%
NFL – 176.14%

Lowest/Mean (low = unbalanced)
NHL – 58.77%
MLB – 58.94%
NBA – 69.92%
NFL – 70.94%

Highest/Lowest (high = unbalanced)
MLB – 551.72%
NHL – 376.87%
NBA – 253.88%
NFL – 248.97%

As with yesterday’s post, a lot of information can be gleaned from all of this, so let’s go through a few things that I noticed right away.

First of all, this past year had several big winners and several big losers.  While the Cowboys and Yankees saw very noticeable, $100 million boosts to their overall franchise values, there were other teams that were the even bigger winners, some of whom you might not expect.  In baseball, the Rangers and the Twins saw large boosts to their value, thanks in no small part to their successful regular seasons and subsequent postseason appearances (not to mention the Twins’ new ballpark, Target Field).  The Marlins also benefited greatly, jumping an impressive 15% in franchise value, thanks primarily to the opening of their new stadium looming ever larger on the horizon.  In the NBA, teams that made splashes in the free agent market saw impressive increases, with the Knicks and especially the Heat greatly increasing their overall franchise value.  Additionally, the Warriors and the Nets saw big jumps thanks to new ownership that have expressed an actual willingness to spend some money.  Finally, in the NHL, we saw a bunch of teams benefit in what was one of the strongest hockey seasons in recent memory, with the Rangers, Blackhawks, Canucks, Bruins, Oilers, and especially the Canadiens all showing incredibly strong growths in their overall value.

But, where there are winners, there have to be losers, and there were a lot of losers in the world of professional sports in 2010.  In the NFL, three of the most discussed candidates for relocation all saw major drops in value, with the Bills, Rams, and Jaguars all dropping by double digit percentiles.  In baseball, there were no real losers per se, but there was a lot of stagnancy as a great deal of the league saw only tiny increases or small to mid drops in value.  The NHL saw several teams lose value, but no more than the Tampa Bay Lightning, which saw their value drop by an astonishing 24%.  It’s been said that the Tampa Bay area has been hit especially hard by the recent recession, and it looks like the Bolts were the main team to feel the cut as a result of it.  But when we’re talking about big losers this past year, look no further than the NBA, which saw two teams take a bath.  The Pistons lost fully 1/4 of their overall value in a single year, due to questions over their ownership and difficulty in selling the team and the fact that they’re competing in a busy market against the Wings and Lions.  But it was the Cleveland Cavaliers that saw the biggest nosedive in franchise value, losing 26% of their overall worth in 2010 thanks to losing LeBron James and their subsequent… um… let’s just say less than stellar season so far.

Remember when Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cavaliers, was practically foaming about the mouth when LeBron James left?  I think you would too if you figured that your overall worth was going to drop significantly as a result of the decision, and especially when you figure that it’d be by $122 million!

Finally, we have to look a bit past the individual teams and see how the leagues fared this past season.  At first glance, it appears as if MLB and NHL are the winners as their overall franchise worth increased while the NFL and NBA were the losers as they saw their values drop.  And you’d definitely have an argument for this.  The NBA is in pretty bad shape, with the profitability of a number of teams in question and the likelihood of a lockout increasing every day.  The NFL, despite a strong year and great ratings (especially for the Super Bowl, which might have been the most watched program in American television history), is facing uncertainty over their labor situation as well.

But if you dig down a bit, you’ll see that the NHL’s situation is at best a wash.  While the league saw several big winners, it also saw it devolve into a league of haves and have-nots.  While Major League Baseball remains the most top-heavy league in professional sports thanks to the New York Yankees, the NHL actually surpassed the MLB as the most bottom-heavy league, with the bottom quarter of the league either showing drops or inconsequential gains.

More analysis might come later, but as it is now I think that’s more than enough!  If you notice anything else, please say so in the comments.

Pittsburgh Penguins 235
Dallas Stars 227
New Jersey Devils 218
Los Angeles Kings 215
Calgary Flames 206
Minnesota Wild 202
Colorado Avalanche 198
Washington Capitals 197
Ottawa Senators 196
San Jose Sharks 194
Anaheim Ducks 188
Edmonton Oilers 183
Buffalo Sabres 169
Florida Panthers 168
St. Louis Blues 165
Carolina Hurricanes 162
Columbus Blue Jackets 153
New York Islanders 151
Nashville Predators 148
Tampa Bay Lightning 145
Atlanta Thrashers 135
Phoenix Coyotes 134