DENVER — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman predicts record revenues of $5.2 billion for the league this season. That number could be conservative.
On Wednesday, Bill Daly, the NHL deputy commissioner, was in court before Game 1 of this Stanley Cup Final.And the Bettman gave a standing ovation to the league and its partners for having completed the first 82 game regular season in just two years. This provided the foundation for financial recovery.
Bettman stated, “What we've done was we've (continued operating), we've completed the fundamentals of [our] business,”. “We saw a substantial increase in our national media revenue in the United States. With attendance, our buildings are almost back to where they were. Maybe even better. This year's playoffs saw 88% of the revenue generated by the first round this year compared to the first two rounds in 2019 (normal playoffs). Even though it was difficult, we kept playing NHL hockey. … We were capable of stabilizing the business and powering through.”
Bettman believes the NHL will continue its boom. He announced that next season would begin on October 11, with the complete 2022-23 schedule to be revealed in early July.
Bettman stated, “We expect revenues to continue to grow at an healthy rate.” My projection (for paying down our debts) is for two to three years. I don't know how to project next year and the year after that. We need to fix this year. But the foundations are very solid and strong.”
Even the commissioner stated that he believes higher revenue generation is linked to increased scoring in the league.
Bettman stated that he believes it is correlated with increased interest in the sport. “Everything that we do is only relevant to the health of the game on the ice. The game is healthy on the surface. Our competitive balance is unmatched in any other major leagues. It gives us amazing races in the regular season and makes it possible to have playoffs that are as unpredictable and exciting as anything you could imagine.
Bettman and Daly also addressed other recent issues. Most important was the NHL's reaction to a 2018 settled lawsuit brought forward by a woman.
The NHL promised to investigate the details of the young woman's alleged sexual assault by eight Canadian Hockey League players, as well as some Hockey Canada World Junior Team members, late last month. TSN reported the news of the lawsuit in May. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice filed a discontinuance of the case.
The NHL issued a statement describing the alleged behavior as “both abhorrent” and “both repulsive”, and Daly confirmed that their investigation is ongoing.
Daly declared, “We are underway.” “We have been in touch with Players' Association. They've been helpful to this point in facilitating interviews with all of the players. We expect to be interviewing each of those players. Hockey Canada has also been in touch.”
Bettman also stated that the NHL didn't know of any allegations.
He said, “(We knew) exactly what we did when we heard about the lawsuit.”
The NHL remains involved in the resolution of its legal problem.. After Kane was placed on unconditional waivers in January, the NHLPA filed a grievance. for breach of contract and violations of COVID-19 protocols
Kane was in his fourth season of a seven year, $49m deal and would lose $22.9 million if his contract was terminated. After spending the second half last season with the team, Kane is now a pending unrestricted agent..
Kane's case has not been resolved due to scheduling conflicts. A resolution may not be possible before July 13th, when free agency opens.
Daly said, “The arbitrator” is unavailable to us during the month June. We need to start working on dates in the early part of the summer. We are currently talking to the Players'Association about Evander's situation. I don't know when the case will be closed. If the case goes to the second day, and we wait for the decision of the arbitrator (which will want a written award), my guess is that the date of agency will have passed.
The NHL will then have named a Cup champion. Daly did confirm that Russian-born players won't be allowed to bring hockey's chalice home due to the ongoing Russian invasion.
Daly stated, “We made the clubs aware about this summer. The Cup isn't going to Russia or Belarus.” “We might owe a Cup tour in the future, much like we did with pandemic. However, it is not happening this summer.