I know there's about as much interest in ice hockey in these parts as team kite flying, but this turn in the Nashville-Hamilton Predators story just floors me.

There's this NHL team in Tennessee (honest, I'm not kidding), and the franchise is in the process of being sold to a guy who's a big shot with the company that makes those BlackBerry things. Anyway, it appears the new owner might move the team to Hamilton, a city in Canada where they actually give a hoot about hockey.

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None of this is my point, though. My point is that the BlackBerry guy is reportedly paying $220 million to $238 million for the team. Now, what's a hockey team worth? Well, two years ago, the Anaheim Ducks -- this year's Stanley Cup champions -- sold for $70 million. Forbes magazine estimated the value of the Predators at $134 million. And even the BlackBerry guy offered only $175 million for the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this year.

The lesson of this fascinating little numbers tale apparently is this: It does not matter how popular or unpopular a team is, or whether it makes money or not. As long as there are bazillionaires who want to sit in the owner's box of a so-called major league team, there will always be a profitable exit strategy for having invested in a sports franchise.

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