SBD/Issue 161/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Bettman Says '10-11 NHL Salary Cap Will Be Flat With This Year

Bettman Calms Fears That
'10-11 Cap Would Drop

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday said the salary cap for the '10-11 season will be "flat or maybe up a tad" from the $56.8M figure used this season, according to Matthew Sekeres of the GLOBE & MAIL. Bettman's assertion "allays fears, which heightened last year during the global economic recession," that the '09-10 cap would be "ravaged by a drop in league revenues and leave several teams scrambling to get under the cap this summer." The NHL will formally announce the cap figure "no later than June 30, one day before the start of free agency." Bettman said that league revenues were up about 5% in '08-09, but that a "drop in the Canadian dollar, of roughly $0.12, contributed to the cap rising by just $100,000 for this just completed season." However, Sekeres notes the Canadian dollar is "making a comeback, closing at nearly $0.99 U.S. on Monday, and its rise will help float the cap next season." Bettman yesterday also noted that first-round TV viewership in the U.S. was the "highest it has been in 10 years." He said, "It’s the culmination of five years of growth and building that we’ve done together with Versus, in terms of their coverage of the game and their increase in distribution. It’s because they treat us so well that we’re seeing this growth." Meanwhile, Bettman also noted that he has asked all 30 GMs to "send him a letter after the playoffs with their observations on the effects of the two-week Olympic break" (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/4).

CHICAGO STYLE: Bettman last night said that the NHL's sale of the Coyotes to Jerry Reinsdorf is "getting closer to completion, but didn't give a timetable." Bettman said that Reinsdorf's acquisition would be "beneficial to the franchise and the league." Reinsdorf's group has said that it "intends to keep the team" in Arizona, and Bettman said, "There is much that has to be done with the city of Glendale, both with the league and the prospective owners" (CP, 5/3). More Bettman: "I think with new ownership and the right things, there's now a good foundation for the franchise to build from. Hopefully, we're in a position to put it all together so the team can stay put" (CALGARY SUN, 5/4).

HOLDING OUT HOPE: Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger said that he is "working with 'others' hoping to land an NHL team for the city" after failing to land the Coyotes in a bid with RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie. Eisenberger: "We continue with discussions with others about the prospects for the NHL in Hamilton and we're going to do it very confidentially until it's ready for prime time. I think the opportunity now is greater than ever, thanks to the work of Jim Balsillie." However, Bettman said of Balsillie, "The owners have been pretty clear based on their interaction, that he wasn't somebody that they were interested in having as a partner. I think there's a lot of water under that bridge. I can't predict whether the bridge has actually been washed out" (TORONTO STAR, 5/1).

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