The Islanders' planned move to Brooklyn is already paying dividends, according to Forbes magazine. The publication valued the Islanders at $155 million in its annual list of NHL franchise valuations, up 4 percent from last year's number.
The Islanders' revenues during in the 2011-12 season, Forbes found, rose to $66 million from $63 million in 2010-11, another reason for the uptick in value. However, the magazine said, the team took a $16 million loss, twice as much as the previous season. But the future looks brighter, not just with the promise of new revenue streams and potentially better ticket sales at Barclays Center.
NHL owners have locked out the players and have canceled 422 regular-season games for the 2012-13 season, but the Islanders are likely to benefit from a revenue-sharing proposal when the lockout is settled.
The Islanders, who declined to comment on the Forbes report, were barred from receiving revenue-sharing money under the previous collective bargaining agreement because of their relatively large market. The new proposal would benefit teams struggling the most.
"You can see how the new CBA in the NBA helped smaller-market team values, like in New Orleans and Memphis," said Mike Ozanian, the Forbes writer who puts together the list.
The move to Brooklyn comes with some drawbacks, notably the small capacity for hockey -- the Islanders are hoping for a seating capacity of 15,000 once some reconfigurations are made before they move in for the start of the 2015-16 season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs lead the Forbes list with a $1 billion value, and the Rangers were second at $750 million.
But for the first time in years, there's promise.
"It's not an emerging market they're moving to -- Brooklyn's hot," said Andrew Zimbalist, sports economics expert and a professor at Smith College. " . . . It's already emerged."