The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league in North America. Founded in 1917, the league initially comprised five teams; all of which were located in Canada. The teams were the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Arenas and the Quebec Bulldogs. The Quebec Bulldogs though did not play in the 1917/18 season. Today the NHL encompasses 30 franchises, of which seven are located in Canada and 23 in the United States. The Montreal Canadiens are the most successful franchise in the league in terms of championships, having won the Stanley Cup 24 times.
The NHL as a whole generates more than four billion U.S. dollars in revenue each season, an average of 136.7 million U.S. dollars per team in the 2015/16 season. The New York Rangers were the highest grossing team in the NHL with 219 million U.S. dollars in revenue in 2015/16. The Rangers are also the most valuable franchise in the league according to Forbes, with a value of 1.25 billion U.S. dollars. Only two other teams besides the Rangers have a value of one billion U.S. dollars or more - the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. On average, franchises in the NHL were worth 517 million U.S. dollars in 2016.
In the regular season, a league wide total of 1,230 games are played that are attended by more than 20 million people in total each year. In the 2012/13 season, total attendance was at just 12.76 million due to the lesser number of games played caused by the labor dispute and the ensuing lockout. The average attendance in 2015/16 was at about 17.55 thousand, in line with the averages of prior seasons.
Tickets to NHL games cost 62 U.S. dollars on average in the 2014/15 season, the third time the average ticket price was at more than 60 U.S. dollars. Based on the average ticket price, Toronto Maple Leafs games were the most expensive, with an average of 113.66 U.S. dollars, while the Florida Panthers charged the least with an average ticket price of around 33.39 U.S. dollars.
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