Over the past decade there have been many National Hockey League (NHL) teams in financial turmoil. For what is a multi-billion dollar industry there are many teams who barely scrape by and even loves millions of dollars yearly. This has caused the NHL executives to look at possible cities for relocations and new ownership groups. This article discusses how the City of Markham is planning on building a $325-million arena to house an NHL team for expansion of the league or a relocation of a team that is in financial difficulty. They are planning to do this with both public and private money, but with absolutely no guarantee or even possibility of getting team in the near future.
An important point not mentioned in this article is that the Toronto Maple Leafs own the City of Markham’s rights and earn revenues from the city. An NHL team in Markham would cause the Toronto Maple Leafs, the league’s most profitable team, to lose numerous fans and money. This money would come not only in the form of ticket sales, but sponsorship, advertising and memorabilia as well. I do understand how large the hockey market is in the Greater Toronto Region; however, from a league and policy view, I think if Ontario was to receive another NHL franchise a city like Hamilton or London should receive more attention than another team in the vicinity of Toronto. There are even hockey markets in the United Sates, where the NHL would like to increase revenues from, that could house an NHL franchise, such as Seattle or Las Vegas.
I would personally love to see another NHL franchise in Ontario, or in Markham, but from a league view on the situation, it does not make any sense. Why the City of Markham would even attempt a project of this financial magnitude confuses me, even more so since Gary Bettman has publicly told the city that they will not be receiving a team.