Unlike the players who remain far from league play, the value of the National Hockey League's brand is currently taking a powerful hit.
According to a new study by Brand Finance PLC, which measures brand values for marketers around the world, the latest labour dispute has been bad news for the NHL image. As of the first day of game cancellations, its brand has lost more than a quarter of its value, falling to $1.15-billion (U.S.) compared to $1.6-billion when the brand value was last analyzed this summer.
The study analyzed the brand value for 250 teams in leagues around the world, including the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Indian Premier League Cricket, the National Basketball Association, and others.
Of the top 100 teams by brand value, only two NHL teams made the list, and they are nowhere near the top: the Montreal Canadiens came in at 81st place, and the Toronto Maple Leafs were at 82nd – a result likely to raise the ire of Vancouver fans who will quickly point out the distance of either of those two teams from a Stanley Cup run in recent years.
Essentially, the fight between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association has caused the league to have a higher risk profile, according to the study.
"The NHL's frequent strikes and lockouts have resulted in more missed games than any of the other major leagues in North America," Brand Finance Canada's managing director, Edgar Baum, said in the report. "The gains in brand value made over the past six years have been jeopardized by interruptions in the delivery of hockey to fans, sponsors, and media."
Here are a few of the stats:
TOP 10 MOST VALUABLE SPORTS TEAMS IN THE WORLD
Brand Value (US$ m)
Manchester United FC
FC Bayern München
Real Madrid CF
New England Patriots
New York Giants
Green Bay Packers
New York Yankees
TOP 10 MOST VALUABLE NHL BRANDS
Brand Value (US$ m)
Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Rangers
Detroit Red Wings
AVERAGE TEAM BRAND VALUE, BY SPORT
- NFL: $285-million
- Soccer: $229-million (based on the averages for the top 32 clubs, to provide a comparison with the top league, the NFL)
- MLB: $146-million
- NBA: $91-million
- NHL: $38-million
- Indian Premier League: $35-million