Forbes has released their annual sports franchise valuations for 2019, with NHL teams being revealed today. The new rankings place the Anaheim Ducks in the number 21 spot, ahead of the Colorado Avalanche and behind the Calgary Flames.
With a Forbes-designated valuation of $480 million, the Henry Samueli-owned team saw a 4% rise in value compared to 2018. While the Ducks were 18th last year, their drop in the rankings despite the increase in valuation is due to the higher-value jumps from teams like the New York Islanders who now have a path forward with a brand new arena under construction.
Despite Anaheim’s standing in the bottom third of the league combined with the majority of hockey team valuations being much smaller than any of the other four major North American sports, the Samuelis have proven that buying a professional sports franchise usually provides a tremendous return. The Samuelis purchased the team in 2005 from the Walt Disney Company for $70 million. With the new $480 million valuation, the Ducks owners have seen a 686% return on their investment. Those kind of gains are nearly impossible to find elsewhere.
While the Ducks appear to operating at a slight loss of $3.1 million in operating income, the franchise is overall financially healthy with one of the league’s smaller debt/value ratios of just 5% (the amount of debt the team has compared to their total valuation). For reference, the average NHL team debt/value ratio is 19%.
The Ducks are positioned very well for their valuation to continue to increase in the future. In November of 2018, the City of Anaheim sold the parking lots surrounding Honda Center to Anaheim Arena Management, the Samueli-owned company that manages the arena for the city, as part of an agreement to keep the Ducks in Anaheim for at least another 25 years. The plan is for the company to build homes, offices, and stores/restaurants surrounding Honda Center to increase the appeal of the area for both fans and business alike. Developing the land in an area that is currently mostly offices and industrial facilities would provide a significant boost to the team’s value.
The valuation report for the Anaheim Ducks as well as the full rankings can be found here.