Would investing in a 7th Canadian NHL franchise be a waste of government money? I hear a lot of people saying that, so let's take a look at the revenue that the Canadian NHL franchises generate. In 2008, the Toronto Maple Leafs sold an average of $1.9 million dollars in tickets to each home game, which works out to roughly $78 million dollars per season. The other Canadian franchises were not far behind, with Montreal at 1.7, Vancouver at 1.4, Calgary at 1.3, with Montreal and Ottawa rounding out the list at 1.2 per game. The federal government earns $4 million dollars per year in GST revenue just off ticket sales at the Air Canada Center. The financially weakest NHL franchise, Ottawa, generates $2.5 million annually in tax dollars. That does not count concession sales, merchandizing, or advertising revenue.
And how about employment income? Between office staff, concessions, janitors, hosts, conversions, security, et all, an NHL arena would employ between 300-500 people. These people collectively would earn several thousand dollars in income each game, which over a 41 game home schedule would translate to millions of dollars in employment income annually which produces even more tax revenue for the government. I would estimate that each franchise generates 10-20 million dollars in tax revenue for the Canadian government each year. They employ hundreds of people, and provide a product that Canadians want to pay to see, from which they derive pleasure.
And how about those rich millionaire athletes that everybody loves complaining about? They buy expensive houses, expensive cars, and other luxury items that are...you guessed it...taxed by the government. They pay income tax, a lot more than the janitor mopping the floors after the game. Franchises generate revenue and jobs, certainly a lot more than an art gallery, bike path, bridge to nowhere, or dog park. Helping bring the NHL back to Quebec City is not a waste of government money, it is an investment in future earnings.