DENVER — NHL Commissioner Gary Pittman said the league will generate record revenue of more than $5.2 billion this season. This total may be conservative.
Held court Wednesday with NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daley ahead of Game One of the Stanley Cup Final between the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittman praised the league and its partners in general for completing their first 82 regular season games in two years. That provided the basis for a much-needed financial recovery.
“What we did is we [continued to operate]We’ve done the basics of our business, Bateman said. We have seen a significant increase in national media revenue in the United States. Our buildings are back to where they were originally [with attendance]And maybe a little better. In this year’s qualifiers, the first two rounds generated 88% of the revenue we had in the first two rounds the last time we ran a regular qualifier. [in 2019]. We kept putting NHL hockey through the toughest times. …we were able to bring business stability and strength through.”
Bettman expects the NHL to continue to thrive. Revealing the October 11 start date for the next season, he said the entire 2022-23 schedule would be revealed in early July.
“We expect revenue growth to continue at a healthy rate,” Bateman said. “Two years, maybe three years is my expectation [for paying off our debts]. I can’t really do a very good job of predicting next year or the year after until we have a solution for this year. But things are very strong, very strong.”
The commissioner said he believes the increase in league scoring this season is linked to the increased revenue being generated.
“I think it’s related to the increased interest in the game,” Bateman said. “Everything we do matters only to the extent that the game is healthy on the ice. The game is healthy on the ice. Our competitive balance is unmatched by any of the other major leagues, gives us amazing races in the regular league season, and gives us unpredictable playoffs. Like anything you can say.”
In addition to the league’s positive returns, Bateman and Daly addressed recent highlights. Most pressing was the NHL’s response to a recently settled lawsuit brought by a woman against Hockey Canada in 2018.
Late last month, the National Hockey League pledged to investigate the details behind the young woman’s claim that she was sexually assaulted by eight Canadian Hockey League players, including some members of the Canada World Junior Hockey Team. TSN first reported the lawsuit, and a moratorium was filed with the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice in May.
The NHL released a statement calling the alleged behavior “disgusting and disgusting” and Daly confirmed that the league’s investigation is continuing.
“We’re on our way,” Daly said. “We have been in contact with the players’ union. They have cooperated up to this point in facilitating and arranging interviews with every player and we expect to be able to interview every player on that team. We’ve also been in contact with Hockey Canada as well.”
Bateman said the NHL was not aware of any allegations when they occurred.
“[We knew] Exactly when we became aware of the lawsuit.”
The NHL is also still in the process of resolving its legal issue with Evander King. The NHL Players Association filed a complaint on Kane’s behalf in January after San Jose Sharks unconditional waivers were made for breach of contract and violation of COVID-19 protocols.
Kane was in the fourth season of a seven-year, $49 million deal, and lost nearly $22.9 million from the termination of his contract. He is a suspended unrestricted free agent after spending the second half of last season with Edmonton Oilers.
The resolution of Kane’s issue has been delayed due to scheduling conflicts with the case arbitrator, and may not be reached before the free agency opens on July 13.
“[The arbitrator] Not available for us through June unfortunately,” Daly said. So, we have to work on some dates early in the summer. We’re currently in discussions with the players’ union about what this all means, in terms of Evander’s status. I really have no basis to say [when the case will end]. If I move to the second day of the hearing and wait for a decision by the arbitrator, who would want a written award, I think that would be beyond the history of free agency.”
By then, the NHL will have been crowned cup champions. But Daly also emphasized that in the midst of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, no Russian-born player would be allowed to take the hockey cup home.
“We have already informed both clubs regarding this summer, that the cup will not go to Russia or Belarus,” said Daly. “We may owe a cup trip in the future, like we did with the pandemic. But that won’t happen this summer.”
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