I know this is a long shot, but I continue to root for an NHL-first scenario for the SoDo arena proposal.
One thing I'm always told is that, even though the NHL matches and even exceeds NBA game attendance at times, it wouldn't work because NHL franchise values aren't high enough to risk opening the city's bond capacity for that league alone.
Well, according to a Yahoo Sports article, the value of NHL franchises are on the rise.
"Fueled by a new Canadian media deal with Rogers Communications that begins with the 2014-15 season, the average NHL team value rose 18.6% during the past year, to an all-time high of $490 million. The 12-year, $4.6 billion agreement, which gave Rogers rights to all NHL games in Canada, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, on all of its platforms, in all languages, is worth 2.6 times more annually than the league's previous Canadian deals."
So the average value of an NHL team is now $490 million? If you remember, Hansen's original offer for the Sacramento Kings was based on a valuation of $525 million. At that time, which was only months after the original approval of the MOU, Hansen was offering a ton more money than the Kings were worth.
In other words, if the Yahoo story is correct, NHL franchise values are higher than those of the NBA teams at the time the original MOU was voted on.
The article does offer a caveat.
"The Rogers media deal notwithstanding, the NHL remains the most tribal of the four major North American team sports because the NBA, NFL and MLB still have much bigger equally-shared national media and sponsorship deals."
The NHL will likely never catch the NBA in TV revenue. Nonetheless, the values of the franchises have gone up considerably since our MOU was first enacted. It seems to me the risk to the city has gone down and that an NHL first scenario should be seriously considered.
But I know many disagree with me and I know I'm not a financial expert. I also know that this will likely never happen and that the potential NHL owners would have to make a significant cash contribution to even start the conversation.
But I'm rooting for it.