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Seven Pro Teams on the Brink of Collapse

5. New York Islanders
> 10-year change in attendance: -2.40% (eighth biggest decline in NHL)
> W-L record 10 years: 316-322-30-70 (fourth worst in NHL)

> Operating income (2010): -$4 million
> Year founded: 1972
> Value: $151 million (fifth least valuable in NHL)

The New York Islanders have the fourth-worst record in the NHL over the past 10 seasons, winning just 316 of their 738 games in regulation time. On top of this, the Islanders compete in a regional market with the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils. Both teams have had far greater success and are profitable. In 2001, the Islanders netted a profit of $1 million, compared to $6 million by the Devils and $60 million by the Rangers. Since that year, the franchise has failed to make a profit, losing $64 million cumulatively through 2010.

6. Detroit Lions
> 10-year change in attendance: -25.18% (the biggest decline in NFL)
> W-L record 10 years: 39-121 (the worst in NFL)
> Operating income (2010): -$8 million
> Year founded: 1929 (moved to Detroit in 1934)
> Value: $844 million (seventh least valuable in NFL)

While Detroit has certainly experienced increasing financial troubles, the team may be in the midst of turning its fortunes around. The Lions are currently 6-2, and the team is tied with several others for the third-best record in the NFL. If they continue to win, they could become a profitable NFL franchise again. However, stepping back from this year for a moment paints a less rosy picture. In the previous 10 seasons, the Lions have won just 39 out of 160 games, easily the worst record in the NFL. This includes the 2008 season, when the team became the only franchise ever to fail to win a game in the 16-game schedule. The team moved from the Silverdome in 2002 to Ford Field, hoping to save money, but even in the smaller stadium the team usually averages well below the 65,000 person capacity. While the franchise was profitable for the first half of the decade, the Lions lost money in four of the past five seasons, including the $8 million lost last year.

Also Read The 12 Major League Sports Teams Running Out Of Fans

7. Columbus Blue Jackets
> 10-year change in attendance: -23.67% (biggest decline in NHL)
> W-L record 10 years: 285-356-24-73 (the worst in NHL)
> Operating income (2010): -$7 million
> Year founded: 2000
> Value: $153 million (sixth least valuable in NHL)

The Columbus Blue Jackets joined the League in 2000, the same year as the Minnesota Wild. Since they joined, the Jackets have won just 38% of their nonplayoff games in regulation time, and have not won a single playoff game (despite making the playoffs once in 2008-2009 season). In its first few years, the Columbus franchise managed to record profits, but as one disappointing season after another set in, attendance has begun to decline rapidly. This season, even after the team added several expensive players in marquee trades, they are off to another horrible start, with just two wins in 14 games.

Michael B. Sauter

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