In the meantime, the asset you talk about is about $240 million, which means the profit of $4-$5 million per season equates to about 1-2% of the asset. Going to tell me that you can't get a better return on investment elsewhere?
Okay, where to start? I will assume you simply don't understand the finances or what the profits actually mean when using to assume a return on investment....because that is what it appears when you make that comment. However, it could be completely possible that you are presenting the information in such a way to make it look like the owners aren't making much at all (not sure why you'd do that...but it's possible).
1) I'm not sure what the $240 million represents....if it was the approximate team value, fine....doesn't seem too far off. However, I don't think I can recall any owner who has recently paid that kind of money to acquire a franchise (other than the recent Maple Leafs transaction....but we can all agree that is in another category). So when you are talking about return on investment, consider increases in market values of the franchises themselves, not just profits earned each year. Didn't Ilitch pay about $8M for the Wings....pretty decent return on investment he's been able to generate I think.
2) If you are looking at profits only, you will never be able to understand whether the players get a fair share vs. the owners. EBITDA is probably a pretty good guage to use. In a lot of cases, if the net profit of a franchise is close to nil....the owner could be getting a pretty good return on their investment, it all depends on how everything is structured.
So, let's start with your $5M profit per team. Then, we should gross it up for various items, but the 3 biggest being the following:
1) Taxes - assume taxes at about 30%....that will bring the $5M up to about $7M or so (remember, player salaries are pre-tax as well).
2) Interest or debt servicing costs - this is a real wild card. I would assume that the vast majority of franchises in the NHL are highly leveraged....they didn't simply take money out of their bank accounts and buy a franchise, they borrowed money. So, whatever interest they are incurring on that debt would decrase profits (amount of interest could be $10-20 million or more....based on $200M borrowing at a rate of 5-10%). It is very important to add this back because it is irrelevant from the players perspective. If an owner comes in with all their own money, they won't incurr that cost.
3) Depreciation (non-cash) - if a team owns the building, their profit will be less due to depreciation charges taken on the building....you'd need to add that back to get a true sense of the income being generated at the owners' investments.
So....in summary, I have no idea what the true average return on investment might be, but I do know for sure it is well in excess of what you have illustrated.
Based on these factors, it points to why splitting a revenue number is the most appropriate because everything below that is really a function of how the owner runs his business. I think the overall profits the NHL owners are generating are very good (this doesn't even consider their rising franchise values). Time and time again, I'll keep coming back to the problem being disparity of revenue generation amoung teams, not how much money the players are making.