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SBD/June 13, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Gary Bettman Addresses NHL Revenue, Attendance, Olympics, Coyotes Ownership
Published June 13, 2013
OTHER ISSUES: Bettman said that the 48-game, lockout-shortened season “played to 97 percent capacity during the regular season, and more than 100 percent capacity during the playoffs.” ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside reported NHL revenues are “projecting higher than a straight percentage of the games played during the truncated season that began Jan. 19.” Bettman: “We played 58 percent of our season but we did better than 58 percent of our revenues, we believe. It’s not done yet, and there’s still some more revenues to be generated over the next couple of weeks. But we believe we did better than a strict percentage would have you think" (ESPN.com, 6/12). In Chicago, Mark Potash notes TV ratings are “strong across the board.” Bettman said of fans, ‘‘We thank them for that. The good news (is) we have a long-term agreement, up to a decade of labor peace” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/13). Bettman also suggested that concussions, on a “per-game basis, are down ‘slightly’ year over year and they anticipate league revenues to do well.” The GLOBE & MAIL’s Eric Duhatschek notes Bettman “dropped one other interesting tidbit of information -- the NHL has settled on the names of the new divisions under the agreed-upon realignment plan, along with the new playoff format.” But Bettman said that he would “wait until after the Stanley Cup final to unveil their choices” (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/13).
END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS? In Vancouver, Cam Cole writes maybe a “few of the sellout streaks around the league had to be artificially inflated, maybe the claims of boffo crowds leaguewide didn't exactly correspond to what met the naked eye in some buildings.” Cole writes, “Maybe no one really missed the Winter Classic or the all-star game except for the markets involved. Maybe HBO's 24/7 series, like the New Year's Day outdoor game it promotes, will simply carry over to next season and the ticked-off corporate partners will be pacified and no one will be any the worse for wear. And maybe Gary Bettman was betting on all of the above.” Still, it is “difficult to look back now on those four-plus months … without feeling that it was all choreographed, and we were all played like stringed instruments.” But the league has “bounced back pretty much exactly as it was pre-lockout, albeit with some temporary downgrades” (VANCOUVER SUN, 6/13).