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Second NHL team in Toronto won’t happen because of payment to Maple Leafs?

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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The Toronto Star's business section published a piece on Sunday with the subtle, humble headline of "Can Canada save the NHL?"

Its thesis: That the Winnipeg Jets were such an overwhelming success, how many more "nonviable" Sun Belt franchises in the U.S. could become Canadian cash cows?

Two interesting bits buried at the end of the piece, both of which quite surprisingly do not support the idea that we should "Make It, Like, 15" north of the border. From the Star, on what we feel is an eventual second team in Toronto:

The other problem, experts say, is that Canada's various hockey hotspots aren't as profitable as they seem. Are there enough fans in corporate dollars to support a second team in Toronto? Sure. But finding an owner willing to pay the Maple Leafs for the privilege of setting up shop in their territory is something different.

Er, what?

That the ante for the owner of a Toronto NHL team will be too high for any takers is a preposterous idea. There's enough corporate support, fan support and revenue streams in that market to potentially cover that bribe to the Leafs' ownership in a miniscule number of seasons.

Besides, wouldn't it be in the best interests of the Leafs' media moguls/owners to have a second team in the market to fill time between the TML Cup chase?

The other interesting bit, via the Star and University of Ottawa economics professor Norm O'Reilly:

"Even the smaller-market U.S. teams would get more regional TV dollars than any small market Canadian team," he says. "(Moving teams to Canada) would be a pretty modest influence on the overall revenues of the league. If you're the owner of the L.A. Kings and a team moves from Phoenix to Quebec City, it really doesn't change your world."

The value of the ThrashersJets was up by $65 million after one season in Manitoba, according to Forbes. Every Canadian team save for Winnipeg was in the top 15 in revenue generated. A team in Toronto or Quebec City couldn't move the needle on overall revenues of the League, if it was relocated from a struggling U.S. market?

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