Photo by ericabreetoe.

Sabres fans get poor return on investment

It turns out Joe Friday is a hockey fan. Who woulda thunk it, Joe being from Los Angeles and all.

Detective Friday realizes that while Terry Pegula owns the Buffalo Sabres, the team’s fan base pays the bills. What kind of return on investment did they get this season?

When you consider the Sabres ranked No. 2 for payroll and No. 18 for points, the ROI was among the worst in the league. Only two teams spent more per point.

Here are the facts:


  • Team payroll for 2011-12 season: $69,830,000.
  • Rank in league: Second highest after the Philadelphia Flyers and its payroll of $71,072,500.
  • Average team payroll: $56,657,728
  • Lowest team payroll: New York Islanders, $29,573,500
  • Sabres point total in regular season: 89
  • Rank in 30 team league: 18.
  • Points per dollar of team payroll: $784,607
  • Rank in league: Third worst, after Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs (see chart below).
  • League average for points per dollar of team payroll: $616,068.
  • Best return on team payroll per point: New York Islanders: $374,348.


Ticket prices

  • Sabres average ticket price: $38.25
  • Rank in league: Fourth cheapest.
  • Most expensive: $123.77, Toronto Maple Leafs.

Sabres spent more in payroll to earn their points than all but two teams in the NHL this season

Note: NHL salary cap is $64.3 million per team. The average of long-term player contracts is applied to team cap, thus allowing, for example, Enrhoff’s $10 million salary to count only $4 million against the cap for this season.

Sources: USA Today, ESPN, Team Marketing Report,, New York State Department of Labor.

Have an idea for a future Joe Friday? Send us an e-mail, along with a link to any possible source documents.