Gary Bettman says NHL expected to set revenue record this season

NHL Commissioner WOODary Bettman said the league is projecting record revenue this season, an increase he credits to more points leading to higher TV ratings and more interest in the game.

Bettman at his annual tournament address the Wednesday before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, revenue is estimated to surpass $5.2 billion. He said he received information earlier in the afternoon indicating that it was a conservative estimate.

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“We were able to stabilize our business and power,” says Bettman. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges sometimes, it doesn’t mean we don’t have to adjust sometimes.

“Sometimes some of you say we’re preparing like that as we go along, and we did, but we did what we had to do to get through it.”

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The league generated $4.6 billion in its entire last regular season in 2018-19, before the pandemic devastated the sport and, more specifically, the NHL because of its greater reliance on revenue. ticket sales and other arena monies that wouldn’t be possible without fans in the building or limited capacity.

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The financial boost also stems from new US media rights deals with ESPN and Turner Sports that went into effect this season. The salary cap is expected to increase by $1 million to $82.5 million next season, although there are likely to be larger bumps in the years to come after the demands player completed paying off a substantial amount of debt to owners over the past few years to balance 50/50 hockey-related revenue.

A constant message from the league and the NHL Players Association is the desire to grow the overall pie for the benefit of all. Perhaps the highest scoring season since the middle of Bettman’s first year on the job is supporting that effort.

An average of 6.28 goals a game is scored in the regular season, the highest rate since 1992-93.

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“Everything we do, especially about the game, and from a business standpoint, matters only as far as the healthy game on ice and the healthy game on ice,” says Bettman.

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“The stars are younger, our competitive balance is unmatched by any other major league, and it gives us incredible races in the regular season and it brings left us with unpredictable playoffs like anything you can tell.”

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Speaking hours before two-time Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche face off in Game 1 of their first final in Denver since 2001, Bettman also expressed joy and relief. when back to normal in his first Cup Final speech. for three years.

“I’m happy because after two and a half years, things have really turned back to normal,” he said.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during a press conference ahead of Game 1 of the NHL Hockey Cup Finals between Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Denver.

(AP Photo / David Zalubowski)

The Canadian Hockey Inquiry

Bettman said the NHL was not aware of allegations by a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by multiple members of Canada’s 2018 world hockey team until Hockey Canada settled a lawsuit in September. before. The union has launched an investigation Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said is underway.

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“Obviously, we’ve been in contact with the Players’ Association,” Daly said. “Up to this point, they have been extremely cooperative in facilitating and arranging interviews with each player on this team.”

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The plaintiff, identified as “EM” in court filings, testified that she was repeatedly assaulted while drunk in her hotel room in London, Ont., following a Canadian Hockey event honoring the winning youth team gold medal.

In a statement issued May 26, Hockey Canada said the plaintiff chose not to speak to both the police and the independent investigator for Hockey Canada and that the woman did not wish to identify the players involved. mandarin.

Several players from that team are currently in the NHL.

“As we conducted our investigation, we had one-party allegations against eight anonymous parties,” Bettman said.

“This is a challenging situation, but we know nothing about it.”

No Stanley Cup in Russia

Daly said the federation informed Lightning and Avalanche that the players would not be allowed to bring the Stanley Cup to Russia or Belarus this summer, a product of the war in Ukraine. Tampa Bay has three Russian players, and Colorado has one.

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“We may owe a Cup trip in the future, just like we did with the pandemic,” Daly said. “But it’s not happening this summer.”

World Cup is still possible

Bettman and Daly said the federation is still in discussions with the International Ice Hockey League and Players Association about hosting the Hockey World Cup in 2024. The goal is to have it held in February, this caused some setbacks but not enough for the NHL to seriously consider another position on the calendar yet.

“We still prefer to come in February,” says Daly.

“We’ll see if we need an alternative to get there, but we think it’s very important to the long-term success of this property on a regular basis for about that time.”

© 2022 The Associated Press

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