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How much are Calgary Flames home playoff games worth?

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
10 months ago
Part of the fun of doing our regular mailbag columns is our readers send us all sorts of interesting questions. From time to time, we get questions that we can’t immediately answer because they require a bit of research.
Earlier this month, we were asked how much money the Calgary Flames make off a home playoff game.
Obviously, as a private company we don’t have any hard numbers on the Flames’ revenues or how much they clear on any particular games. But we do have something almost as good: the annual revenue estimates from Forbes’ annual franchise valuations. They’re not precise, but they’re good enough for a rough estimate like we’re doing. The Flames still have expenses for playoff home games, so post-season revenue isn’t pure profit, but since players don’t get their salaries in the playoffs, those games are much more profitable than regular season dates are.
To eyeball this, we’re going year by year in non-pandemic years and comparing revenue changes with how many home playoff dates the Flames hosted.
YearRevenueHome Playoff Games
2022$178 million7
2019$138 million3
2018$132 million0
2017$129 million2
2016$121 million0
2015$130 million6
2014$122 million0
There’s some variation – there’s a big revenue jump in 2022 from previous years due to the new TV deal – and then they got a Battle of Alberta in the playoffs on top of that – but it generally seems like a home playoff game is worth somewhere between $1.6 and $2 million, depending on various factors.
In this lens, the apparent “just try to get in” philosophy from Flames’ ownership makes sense. If you host a few playoff rounds, a season where your club is (from a business sense) breaking even or clearing a little bit of money suddenly can become really profitable.

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