SBD/Issue 90/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • Call It A Comeback: Bettman, Daly Discuss Post-Lockout NHL

    Bettman Says NHL To Benefit From
    NBC’s Coverage Of Olympic Hockey
    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman appeared on ESPN’s “Jim Rome Is Burning” Thursday, where he discussed the state of the NHL since returning from the lockout. Bettman said, “In terms of having the best competitive balance, the best product on the ice, we’re in the best position that we’ve been in probably as long as anybody can remember and maybe ever.” Bettman, on interrupting the season for the Olympics: “Our players ... very much wanted to play in the Olympics, and in the spirit of our partnership, this is something that we’re doing because it was important to the players. I also think it’s going to be good for the game because NBC -– who’s our broadcast partner –- is covering the Olympics in the (U.S.) and they do such a great job of storytelling. And hockey, which will be inundated with NHL players, is going to be a very important part of the Olympic story” (“Jim Rome Is Burning,” ESPN, 1/26).

    DALY DOSE: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, on the state of the league: “The game is good, the fans have embraced it, business is good. That’s because of what we were able to do with the [CBA].” Daly said the NHL and cable partner OLN are “working on increasing distribution.” He added that cable ratings are “‘comparable’ to what they were on ESPN2 before the lockout.” But while marketing and licensing revenue is “‘comparable’ to the pre-lockout era, corporate sponsorship has been ‘soft.’” Daly: “It has a lot to do with the timing of [the new CBA]. Companies had to plan their budget, and they didn’t know if we’d be playing (this season).” Sports Business Group President David Carter said of the NHL’s return, “I am surprised at how resilient the fans were, how quickly they came back. People who love hockey are filling the arenas right now. The key for the sport is to embrace the casual hockey fan” (Carol Slezak, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/27).

    Print | Tags: CBA, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBC, NHL, Versus, Walt Disney
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