The Biggest Losers in the NHL Lockout? Not Who You Might Expect

The NHL lockout sucks for the players. It sucks for the fans. It sucks for the bars that rely on game nights to support their business.

But it could actually be notoriously oligopolistic telecom companies who stand to lose the most from the lockout, an article from Bloomberg suggests. Bell and Rogers joined forces just this year to acquire the Toronto Maple Leafs, the most profitable team in the entire league. And now they may face an entire season lost.

Last year, the Maple Leafs franchise generated nearly $200 million in revenue with an incredible operating profit of more than $80 million—almost double the second-most profitable team, the New York Rangers. At least among the owners of sports team, Bell and Rogers have the most to lose.

Of course, this is speaking strictly without context. In the grand scheme of things, the Montreal and Toronto telcos are both multi-billion dollar giants with several massive revenue sources outside of live sports.

Still, “if all teams were like the Leafs, making stinking amounts of money, we wouldn’t have this problem, so certainly Rogers’ and BCE’s pain is greater than those owners whose teams are marginal,” Iain Grant, president of The SeaBoard Group, a Toronto-based telecommunications research firm, told Bloomberg.

Nonetheless, I doubt many diehard hockey fans will be shedding tears for Rogers or Bell if NHL hockey isn’t played this year.