The Toronto Maple Leafs franchise is now the most valuable team in the NHL, worth an estimated $2 billion. It’s not surprising considering the recent, increased exposure. The organization secured a new primary sponsor, has a show streaming on Amazon Prime, celebrity fans, and three of the top five highest-earning players in the NHL wear blue and white. A Stanley Cup drought doesn’t seem to matter; the team is winning big on the bottom line.
Sportico released its franchise values showing the Maple Leafs have surpassed the New York Rangers as the most valuable team in the NHL. The Rangers are worth $1.87 billion, and the Montreal Canadiens round out the top three with a valuation of $1.58 billion. The new $2 billion price tag is a significant jump from Forbes rankings last December that pegged Toronto’s worth at $1.5 billion.
Sponsors are Lining Up for the Maple Leafs
The value is derived like anything else by using supply and demand. If this valuation isn’t enough to prove the worth, then check out the latest sponsor. TikTok has well over 1 billion users worldwide. Yes, one in every 7.8 people on the planet uses this social media app. Yet, despite that kind of exposure, the company paid enough money to put their logo on the side of the Maple Leafs’ helmets for the 2021-22 season.
In a news release, the two companies commit to working together to: develop initiatives that combine the best of content, innovation, technology and community, making TikTok a go-to platform for Maple Leafs’ fans from coast to coast and around the world.
As much as they are valued now, the Maple Leafs will only get more exposure with this kind of partnership. Daniel Habashi of TikTok Canada stated, “Hockey content has had a meteoric rise on the platform, with #hockey garnering over 8 billion views on TikTok. We’re excited to partner with MLSE and the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the largest NHL franchises, to open up the sport and team to our more than one billion users globally through new and innovative experiences, both on and off the platform.”
Maple Leafs Have Star Power and Celebrity Status
One of TikTok’s stars and social media’s biggest influencers, Josh Richards, has been promoting his favourite team, the Maple Leafs. The Torontonian has 25 million followers on TikTok, 7 million Instagram followers and 2.36 million subscribers on YouTube. In addition, the 19-year-old recently partnered with Mark Wahlberg to launch a new Gen-Z-focused production company. Yet another sign the franchise will see expanded reach to a whole new generation.
Of course, there is Justin Bieber, one of the biggest music stars in the world, writing songs to and about the Maple Leafs. Bieber, who has a friendship with Auston Matthews, has been an adamant team supporter for years. He recently released Maple Leafs-inspired clothing in his Drew line. Consumers had to get on a waiting list to buy the limited merchandise, including items like a t-shirt for $100 bucks, while a hoodie was more than $300.
Outside of the organization, sponsors are lining up for Maple Leafs’ players. Matthews is the highest-paid player in the NHL when adding sponsorship deals. While appearing on the cover of EA Sports NHL games for two of the last three years, he’s lent his name to Apple, Nike, Scotiabank, Verizon, CCM, Dream Water and Marsblade. He seems to be wearing a different logo on his hat for every interview. Mitch Marner and John Tavares are also in the top five for highest-paid when including endorsements.
Oddly, the Maple Leafs season opener, and first game with fans in more than a year, was not sold out. 18,493 was the announced attendance for the 2-1 win over Montreal. However, the demand for the Maple Leafs is high as sponsors and big stars continue to link with the team, resulting in even higher future values.
Kevin Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience. He’s been rink side for World Juniors, Memorial Cups, Calder Cups and Stanley Cups. Like many Canadian kids, his earliest memories include hockey. Kevin has spent countless hours in arenas throughout the country watching all levels of the game.