from Jonathan Wills of The Cult of Hockey,
There is a strange dichotomy in NHL ownership. The owners, whether as companies or individuals, are extremely wealthy. Yet many teams reportedly lose money every year, and with few exceptions even the profitable clubs don’t make that much money. Why would phenomenally successful men sink money into a black hole like that? Is it simply a case of viewing hockey teams as luxuries where they can afford to bleed red a little?
While non-financial considerations undoubtedly come into play, the simplest explanation is that the financial picture for various NHL teams is a lot healthier than it is typically reported to be.
Take the Florida Panthers as an example. For many, the Panthers are a great case in point of what went wrong with the NHL’s expansion into the Sunbelt. Attendance has improved of late, but on a percentage basis still easily falls into the NHL’s bottom-third. The team has struggled for respectability on the ice, and off...