SBJ/May 14 - 20, 2007/This Weeks News

NHL revenue tops $2.2B

NHL regular-season and preseason revenue grew 5 percent to 7 percent this year, putting total revenue on track to grow to between $2.2 billion and $2.25 billion for the entire season.

The Carolina Hurricanes’ ticket revenue jumped
nearly 33 percent from last season.

Such growth would deliver a $100 million to $150 million increase on last year’s revenue of $2.1 billion, which was equal to pre-lockout levels. It also would push the salary cap from $44 million to between $47 million and $49 million this offseason and entitle players to between 55 and 56 percent of revenue in 2007-08.

“The percentage increases were across the board across all lines of our business,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said.

The revenue growth is largely attributable to increased ticket prices. Ticket revenue rose 5.7 percent this season largely due to a 5.9 percent increase in ticket prices. Paid attendance rose only 0.2 percent across the league.

The league was led in ticket revenue growth by Carolina (32.7 percent), Nashville (24.1 percent) and Edmonton (21.8 percent), all of which saw major increases in paid attendance from 2005-06. Carolina’s average paid attendance grew from 13,258 to 15,315, while Nashville’s grew from 12,629 to 13,589.

Growth in digital media and advertising also contributed to the rise in revenue. The league signed several agreements this year for online distribution with Google Video, Amazon.com, Akimbo, Joost and others. Though terms are not available, those types of agreements typically involve revenue sharing.

Daly said NHL Enterprises and broadcasting revenue were also up double digits, adding, “We’ll have to see how they normalize going forward, but we’re pleased with the growth.”

Future revenue growth will continue to be driven by traditional and digital media, Daly said, with long-term growth coming from expanded international business.

Both sponsorship and licensing have returned to pre-lockout levels, he added, and should be strong going forward as the league looks to add new corporate partners and brings in new Reebok uniforms in 2007-08.

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