The Blackhawks are reportedly now the NHL's fourth billion-dollar franchise
Chicago becomes the latest NHL club to earn an evaluation of $1 billion or more
Those are the four NHL franchises valued at $1 billion or more, according Forbes' annual "The Business of Hockey" report. Chicago is the latest organization to join the exclusive Tres Comas Club, as the team's eight-percent growth from last year has bumped their estimated value from $925 million to $1 billion.
The Blackhawks continue to be one of the NHL's most successful, profitable and marketable American franchises in recent years. They've won three Stanley Cups since 2010 with some of the league's most recognizable faces -- including Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith -- on their roster.
Chicago also leads all NHL clubs with 17 nationally-televised games scheduled for broadcast on NBC and NBCSN this year. In addition, it was announced in November that the Blackhawks will host the 2019 Winter Classic -- the league's marquee outdoor game -- at Notre Dame Stadium next season. It will be their league-leading sixth outdoor game in total.
The Rangers ($1.5 billion), Leafs ($1.4 billion), and Habs ($1.25 billion) also saw significant growth in their estimated value this year, though their positioning hasn't changed as the league's top three most valuable clubs. The Boston Bruins round out the league's top five with an estimated value of $890 million, an 11-percent increase from last year.
On the flip side, the Coyotes ($300 million), Panthers ($305 million), Blue Jackets ($315 million), Sabres ($350 million) and Hurricanes ($370 million) comprise the league's five least-valuable franchises. Seven total teams (Coyotes, Panthers, Blue Jackets, Sabres, Avalanche, Lightning and Islanders) lost money operating this year.
And, for what it's worth, the league's newest franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, are ranked as the 14th-most valuable club at $500 million.
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