The Ultimate Fantasy Hockey League continues to raise the bar for franchise valuations, with two recent sales setting a new benchmark ahead of UFF Sports’ official launch on the Zilliqa blockchain.
“It’s great to see everything trending up and to see some of our original franchise owners cashing in as early adopters,” said UFF Sports president and co-founder Tony Charanduk. “We are still on the ground floor in the big picture and the sky is the limit as our platform continues to grow and evolve from month to month and year to year.”
The reigning Klein Cup playoff champion Monarchs fetched a record-high $2K CAD ($1,518 USD), with Ashley Murray of Regina, Saskatchewan, selling to Joe Bauman from Kelowna, British Columbia. The Monarchs, led by nine Tampa Bay Lightning skaters including Conn Smythe Trophy winner Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov as franchise cornerstones, captured the inaugural Klein Cup in convincing fashion.
Led by several Lightning stars, Ashley Murray's Monarchs claimed the Klein Cup to become the inaugural UFHL playoff champions. This is the story of their success, their connection to the Stanley Cup champions, and their secret weapon behind the scenes: https://t.co/uaAoqq61XU pic.twitter.com/LeKp7vlXru— Ultimate Fantasy Hockey League (@ufhleague) September 30, 2020
“Sounds like Ashley got me off to a running start and in good standing. Can’t think of a better place to start than on top. No pressure, though — the only direction I can apparently steer this franchise is down,” joked Bauman. “With any luck, some of my own secret weapons (in the hockey world) will keep me competitive.”
It was quite the year for the Murray family, with Ashley’s father-in-law Al Murray crowned a Stanley Cup champion for the first time as Tampa Bay’s assistant general manager and director of scouting.
Ashley relished her championship with the Monarchs as a rare female franchise owner and general manager but couldn’t resist the opportunity to sell high. She was an original franchise owner, having participated in the initial mock draft last November and joining for real in January’s official draft. The average purchase price for the 31 original franchise owners was $200 USD less than a year ago, which included drafting their 23-man roster.
Franchise values have been soaring ever since, as evidenced by the Power Players franchise selling last month for $1,800 CAD ($1,366 USD). That franchise owner, Justin Davis of Peterborough, Ontario, also acquired $600 CAD ($455 USD) as cash considerations in a trade on the same day as his sale — thus earning a total of $2,400 CAD ($1,820 USD) on his $175 USD ($230 CAD) investment back in January.
“It’s great to join a league with so much momentum behind it already from what I see,” said Bauman.
The Power Players franchise, which might be rebranding under new owner Luke Shonwise, also of Kelowna, boasts a youthful roster with plenty of fantasy potential — led by the likes of Jack Eichel, Martin Necas and Cody Glass and backstopped by Tuukka Rask. Shonwise targeted that particular franchise for its upside in the years to come.
“My fantasy history is minimal, but I have always been a huge hockey guy. The Flames are my team and I know the NHL very well,” said Shonwise, whose brother-in-law already owned a franchise in the UFHL and sold him on the investment. “When this league first started up, I was interested but was working out of town and all the franchises were already awarded by the time I was thinking of joining earlier this year. As soon as I heard that someone was selling or considering it, I jumped on the opportunity.
“I like how the league works. Obviously still figuring things out, but I can’t wait to be part of this league for a long time,” added Shonwise.
Prior to those $2K franchise sales, the previous high had been $500 USD ($660 CAD) for Klein Cup runner-up Strong Island during the NHL playoffs earlier this fall. The former Lions franchise, rebranded as the Ice Vikings, had sold for $275 USD ($365 CAD) on the eve of July’s redraft that gave 12 franchises the chance to select their own players after inheriting auto-picked rosters.
The Vengeance and Dynasty franchises are presently for sale and the UFHL will be welcoming a 32nd franchise in 2021 — mirroring the Seattle expansion process in the NHL. That franchise auction will likely start in January and end in March on the same date that Seattle makes its final payment to officially join the NHL. The UFHL’s expansion draft will also take place on the same date as the NHL under the same rules, so that franchise promises to be in high demand with the newest owner getting the full expansion experience.
In the meantime, once UFF Sports and the UFHL transition to the Zilliqa blockchain this winter, the existing 31 franchises will all technically be for sale at all times. The current owners will be able to list their franchise for a set price on the sale block but outsiders will also be able to submit offers in the form of bids on any franchise at any time.
Turnover will be inevitable in the early years as this platform emerges as a leader in the fantasy industry for its unique appeal of digital asset ownership on the blockchain.
“Exciting times ahead — this is just the beginning of what’s to come,” said Charanduk. “These franchise sale prices could look like small money a year from now, but it’s great to see those valuations already up tenfold from Day 1. It’s great to see the new owners showing that belief and confidence in what we’re building with UFF Sports. I’m confident and truly believe that they will profit tenfold in time too.”
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