The NHL Business Report: Who’s Broke?

You know, some days I’m just really glad I listened to Sally Struthers and got my MBA through the mail.
Today is one of those days.
The Florida Panthers might be the latest NHL team with financial problems.
Broward County, the team’s governing county I’ll assume, says they’re concerned about the Panthers’ parent company’s $64.7 million in losses last year.
The Panthers are saying they only lost $17.5 million, which still sounds like a lot to me. And I have student loans, so I know about large debts.
The team is also saying they’re in no danger of bankruptcy. Which, if I recall, is what they said in Buffalo and Ottawa, too.
Turning to other financial news this morning, yesterday’s Times had a really nice overview of the financial state of the NHL. There’s no real new information here, but it’s very significant that a national US newspaper like the Times has picked up on this story. It means the NHL’s financial comings and goings are going to be under a microscope. Whether this will straighten out NHL business practices or just put a huge strain under the upcoming contract negotiations, I can’t say. But I will note that Pittsburgh’s bankruptcy was partially caused by the 1994 lockout, so even if they won’t say it publicly, owners might be pushing NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to reach the best agreement possible without causing a lockout. Or they might be hoping a lockout will cause a league contraction. You can never tell with these people.