So you’ve got an extra $500M hanging out in your bank account and you have an interest in owning a franchise in the best league in professional sports? You are presented with two options. 1) Buy an expansion team and bring them to Las Vegas. 2) Buy the Hurricanes and keep them in Carolina. Which way should you go? (Spoiler: This is a website that covers the Vegas Golden Knights. You already know our answer.)
The rumors are swirling in Carolina that Peter Karmonos Jr. is close to selling the team to former Texas Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg. The asking price should sound very familiar for Golden Knights fans. Of course while writing this article Forbes put out a story calling the Bloomberg report fake news, but who are we to get in the way of the McGregor/Mayweather battle of business website reports.
The first thing to realize when comparing which franchise is the better buy is the fact that $500M does not equal $500M when it comes to these two organizations. There’s a massive operating cost to get an expansion team to the same organizational framework as a team that’s been in Raleigh since 1997 and been in the NHL since 1972. Vegas needed a staff, an office, a practice facility, retirement plans, health care options, and a ton of “start-up business” marketing. It’s just an estimate based on what we know about the organization, but we believe The Creator is over $1 billion into the Golden Knights franchise, and their first game is still 84 days away.
Back to the Hurricanes. In cutting a check to the Karmanos family for $500M, what are you actually getting? First, a fully operational organization from team president to street teamers. Next is a hockey history. Now I’m not about to go out and say it’s a rich one, but the Hurricanes do have more Stanley Cups than the Capitals, Sharks, Senators, Predators, Panthers, Sabres, Canucks, Blues, and… the Golden Knights. Last is a roster of players and a pretty solid one at that.
But, the Hurricanes are ranked last in value on the Forbes “Business of Hockey List.” According to Forbes, they operate at a $15M a year deficit. They have the worst attendance in the NHL, filling just 64% of the building a night, and the team hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2009.