Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames open their season with their highest ever franchise valuation

The Calgary Flames opened their season last night with a huge 5-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. On the ice, the team looks very different from how they have in the past, but they are very much in their window to win the Stanley Cup right now. Having signed Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, and Nazem Kadri to long-term deals, the Flames have pushed all their chips into the middle of the table to win.

Off the ice, the Flames franchise is looking prettier than it ever has. Forbes released their annual Business of Hockey List, breaking down the financial position of each NHL franchise, and put the Flames at 18th with a valuation of $680 million. This is up by $200 million from $480 million last year.

Flames franchise valuation

An NHL valuation is simply what is the franchise worth if it were to be sold. Similar to a real estate agent assessing the value of a home for sale, there are numerous factors that go into developing this number, but the actual price that is paid depends on the deal that is struck between the buyer and seller.

For the NHL, Forbes assesses the value of the Flames by valuing the worth of four factors: sport, market, arena, and brand. These are not revenues, like how much the team makes per game or per year but rather the value of these items to a potential buyer. Here’s how it breaks down for the Flames:


This is the part of the team’s value that accounts for its revenue as part of the league. This includes factors like the value of the NHL’s new television deal and other hockey related revenue that is shared between teams. The Flames are right around the midway mark across the league at $277 million.


This is the value of the Calgary market to the team, and what the team earns from being in the city. This includes factors like average ticket sales, revenue per fan, and other factors. The Flames’ valuation in this category is $273 million. Markets like Toronto and New York are over $750 million, while Arizona is under $100 million.


This is the value of the franchise attributable to the arena. Because the Scotiabank Saddledome is owned by the City of Calgary and not by Calgary Sports and Entertainment, the value of the stadium accounts for very little to the value of the franchise. For the Flames, this accounts for $34 million.

In comparison, the Edmonton Oilers with their new arena added $208 million to their franchise value in this category alone. They are now worth over $1 billion.


This is the value of the brand of the Calgary Flames. What value this holds to consumers is what is estimated here. The Flames’ brand is valued by Forbes at $97 million. The Leafs’ brand is worth $360 million dollars, which makes sense given the storied history of the franchise as an Original Six team.


What is not calculated here is the actual revenue that the team took in last year. With the pandemic and the team having to play in front of an empty stadium at times, the team ended 2021 with $71 million in revenue. However, their operating income, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) was negative $39 million. This is the first time in a long time that the team has ended in a negative position.

This is understandable with the confluence of the pandemic and the team spending heavily on salaries to stay competitive. When the revenue is calculated for 2022 and includes playoff revenues from last year, it’s hard to see the Flames being in a negative position again.

What the valuation means for the Flames

The Flames ownership bought the team for $16 million in 1980, and have seen an insane increase in the value of their investment in 40 years. It is worth noting that this is all imaginary money until the franchise is sold or the internal partnership structure changes and someone sells their shares.

For fans it’s good to know that the Flames’ franchise financially seems secure. As much as the team or some in the media may speculate about the Flames moving to a city like Houston, it’s hard to see them doing so when they continue to see double digit year-over-year returns even without a new arena.

Love it or hate it, hockey is a business, and franchise valuation growth is good for all of our continued enjoyment of the sport we all love.

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