Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, commissioner Gary Bettman, and the NHL were on the precipice of reaching $5 billion in revenue.
After two straight seasons where the league was unable to play a full 82 games, they are back on track.
Bettman praised the league and it’s partners before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Avalanche and Lightning.
“We had a major increase in our national media revenues in the United States. Our buildings are back to basically where they were, and maybe a little better. Our playoffs this year, the first two rounds generated 88% of the revenues that we did in the first two rounds the last time we had normal playoffs (in 2019). We continued to put on NHL hockey under the most difficult of times. … We were able to stabilize the business and power through.” Bettman said in a statement.
Bettman and the NHL were also extremely optimistic about the future of the sport.
“We anticipate revenues continuing to grow at a healthy rate,” Bettman said. ” I can’t really do a very good job of projecting next year or the year after that until we get a fix on this year. But things are very strong and very solid.”
Bettman’s deal to get the Most out of the NHL
The NHL had agreed to a seven year media rights contract with both ESPN and Turner Broadcasting for over $1 billion.
With the new tv contracts bringing the league into a larger network, hockey has continued to grow a massive following in recent years.
It also helps that goal scoring is up as well.
“I think it’s (scoring) correlated to increased interest in the game,” Bettman said. “Everything we do is only important to the extent that the game is healthy on the ice. And the game is healthy on the ice. Our competitive balance is unmatched by any of the other major leagues, and it gives us incredible races in the regular season, and it gives us playoffs that are as unpredictable as anything you can say.”
Like the steroid-era brought back fans in baseball, so to have an increase of goals brought back the fans for hockey.
As the game continues to get more and more popular, the revenue sharing will only continue to grow as well. And that is good for both the NHL, and it’s players who earn 50% of the revenue for the league.
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