Toronto Maple Leafs valued by Forbes at $1 billion

Jim McIsaac

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been valued at $1 billion dollars, according to a report by Mike Ozanian of Forbes.com on Wednesday. Toronto is the first NHL franchise to be estimated at a worth of $1 billion.

According to the report, the sale of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan to Bell Centre and Roger Communications for $2.05 billion in June is what pushed the franchise's value to the $1 billion mark. In addition to the Maple Leafs, MLSE also includes the NBA's Toronto Raptors and Air Canada Centre.

The New York Rangers were estimated as the league's second most valuable franchise ($750 million), followed by the Montreal Canadiens at No. 3 overall ($575 million).

The average NHL franchise is worth an estimated $282 million, which is an 18% increase from last season. However, there is a considerable gap between the top and bottom valuations. The top-five teams (in terms of value) are worth an estimated average of $605 million, while the bottom-five are valued at an average of $145 million.

In addition, 13 teams are estimated to have lost money in 2011-12, including the Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Nashville Predators and New York Islanders.

According to the report, the Maple Leafs, Rangers and Canadiens accounted for 83% of the league's income.

For a complete list of team valuations, click here.

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