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Buffalo Sabres in Bottom Third of NHL with Worth of $175 Million

December 1st, 2012 at 9:00 AM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101

The Buffalo Sabres – in spite of numerous big investments – are one of the NHL's least valuable franchises.

Forbes' annual valuation of the NHL's 30 teams found the Sabres to be worth $175 million, 22nd in the league. That's up 1 percent from 2011.

'Buffalo Sabres vs. Tampa Bay Lightning - March 27, 2010' photo (c) 2010, Doug Kerr - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The Sabres lost $10.4 million last season, the magazine reported. The team generated $95 million in revenue – $34 million from ticket sales in the nearly-to-capacity First Niagara Center, which failed to sell out only one game. The team hasn't made money since 2006, losing at least $4.9 million every year since that President's Trophy season.

Owner Terry Pegula bought the team for $165 million in February 2011 and then ballooned the payroll to nearly $70 million for 2011-12.

"The Sabres missed the playoffs under Terrence Pegula's first year of ownership," the magazine said. "Despite the team's cable rating on the MSG network falling 6 percent last season from 2010-11, it still clocked in at an average of 6.6, second-highest in the NHL. The Sabres also sold 15,500 season tickets last year, almost 700 more than two years ago, and have reported a waiting list of 3,000."

The average team in the NHL is worth $282 million, up a healthy 18 percent from a year ago. The Toronto Maple Leafs topped the list at $1 billion – the NHL's first-ever billion-dollar squad, followed by the New York Rangers ($750 million) and Montreal Canadiens ($575 million).

Buffalo was one of 13 teams to lose money last season – including the Phoenix Coyotes, who went to their first-ever Western Conference Finals last season yet are worth a second-worst $134 million.

Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL

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