Sun, Nov 14, 2004 - Page 23 News List

`Forbes' questions NHL's loss figures in upcoming report

AP , NEW YORK

The NHL suffered less than half the losses it has claimed the past two years, according to a report in Forbes Magazine.

In its Nov. 29 edition, the business magazine -- which did not have access to all of the 30 teams' financial records -- estimates the NHL lost a combined US$96 million last season, not US$224 million as the league said.

For the 2002-2003 season, in which the NHL stated losses of US$273 million, Forbes estimates losses of only US$123 million.

The discrepancy occurred because several NHL teams aren't accounting for all of their revenue, Forbes reported. The magazine said the NHL included only half of the US$17 million the New York Islanders got last year for cable broadcasts, for example.

William Wirtz, who owns the Chicago Blackhawks, also owns half of the United Center, where the team plays. Forbes said that the arena's 212 suites pulled in US$15 million last season, money that wasn't included in the league's numbers. The United Center is a separate corporate entity from the Blackhawks.

"The Forbes article is factually inaccurate in numerous respects and is not based on any of the actual information that would be needed to support its claims," Bill Daly, the NHL's chief legal officer, told The Canadian Press on Friday. "It is nothing short of irresponsible journalism."

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