1. Phoenix Coyotes
> 10-year change in attendance: -16.40% (third-biggest decline in NHL)
> W-L record 10 years: 329-310-38-61 (sixth worst in NHL)
> Operating income (2010): -$20 million
> Year founded: 1972 (moved to Phoenix in 1996)
> Value: $134 million (the least valuable in the NHL)
The Coyotes are one of the newest teams in the NHL, having moved from Winnipeg in 1996. According to Forbes, the Phoenix franchise is the least valuable in the NHL, worth just $134 million as of 2010. In contrast, the New York Rangers are worth more than three times as much. Between 2001 and 2010, the Coyotes lost money every single year, or a grand total of $118 million in losses over a nine-year period. In 2009, the losses were so high that the team declared bankruptcy. Eventually, the NHL ended up buying the team. Despite the fan draw of coach and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, as well as making the playoffs two years in a row (after missing them six seasons in a row), attendance remains low.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
> 10-year change in attendance: -12.88% (sixth biggest decline in NBA)
> W-L record 10 years: 339-481 (sixth worst in NBA)
> Operating income (2010): -$7 million
> Year founded: 1989
> Value: $264 million (second least valuable in NBA)
The Minnesota Timberwolves have missed the playoffs seven years in a row now, and with the NBA season in jeopardy, that streak could extend to eight. Looking at the past decade, the team has the sixth worst cumulative record in basketball. In the past few years, the team’s performance has been even worse. The team has won 56 games combined in the past three seasons, a number that five teams have surpassed in past season alone. Minnesota has lost money every year but one since 2004, and it is bound to lose a lot more if the lockout continues.
3. Sacramento Kings
> 10-year change in attendance: -19.79% (third biggest decline in NBA)
> W-L record 10 years: 410-410 (12th best)
> Operating income (2010): -$10 million
> Year founded: 1945 (moved to Sacramento in 1985)
> Value: $293 million (seventh least valuable in NBA)
Compared to the other NBA teams on this list, the Sacramento Kings still have a legitimate shot at recovery in the next few years, but their past few seasons have certainly put the team in a tight spot. At the beginning of the decade, the Kings were in the middle of an eight-season streak of making the playoffs, and during the 2001-2002 season were considered one of the best teams in basketball. The team has not made the playoffs since 2006, however, and increasingly poor performance has been a major drain on ticket sales. Since the 2000-2001 season, attendance has dropped nearly 20%. Net income has dropped four years in a row, and the team lost money in 2009 and 2010.
4. Indiana Pacers
> 10-year change in attendance: -24.32% (second biggest decline in NBA)
> W-L record 10 years: 399-421 (15th worst)
> Operating income (2010): -$17 million
> Year founded: 1967
> Value: $269 million (fourth least valuable in NBA)
The Indiana Pacers have not been in the black since 2005. Including 2010’s $17 million net loss, the team has cumulatively lost $52 million in five years. The team made the playoffs last year, ending a four-year drought, but then lost in five games to the Chicago Bulls. Attendance has declined precipitously since 2001, when the team was two years removed from a six-game loss in the championship to the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2001, the team averaged attendance of 17,888 per home game. In 2009, the team cut ticket prices by 30%, hoping to attract fans, but so far it has had little success. Last year, the Pacers averaged 13,538 people per home game, easily the worst in the league.
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