SBJ/Sept. 2-8, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Bettman’s pay up slightly in fiscal ’12

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s salary and benefits climbed to more than $8 million for the 2011-12 season, the most recent full season prior to the 2012-13 lockout, according to the league’s newly available tax filing.

Bettman received more than $8.3 million in salary and benefits during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. His total compensation the previous year was $7.98 million.

By comparison, the salary of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is close to $30 million, according to that league’s most recent tax return. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, whose salary is no longer publicly available through tax filings, is believed to make more than $20 million annually. NBA Commissioner David Stern’s salary has never been made public.

Bettman’s base salary for the 2011-12 season was $6,395,521. Payment defined as other compensation was $1,816,628. He also received $65,795 in deferred compensation and $28,800 in benefits.

Bettman’s salary has more than doubled over a period that has seen the league’s total revenue increase from $2.1 billion in 2003-04 to $3.2 billion for the season of this latest tax filing. In the lockout-canceled season of 2004-05, Bettman made $3.7 million.

In March, the league projected $2.4 billion in revenue for last season, which was shortened to 48 regular-season games for each team because of another lockout.

The annual tax filings cover the NHL’s central business operations and do not include the team-level and other businesses that play a part in totaling projected league revenue each season. Additionally, the filings do not include the revenue and expenses of NHL Enterprises and the NHL Network, which are not tax-exempt groups and therefore do not have the same IRS filing requirements.

The NHL declined to comment on the latest filing, which reported compensation for nine of the league’s top officers. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly made $3.26 million in 2011-12, a $400,000 increase from the previous season. Chief Operating Officer John Collins saw a $600,000 increase, to $2.9 million, which included $1.75 million in bonus and incentive compensation that is directly tied to the league’s business growth.

On the whole, the league posted a loss for its business of $3.6 million for 2011-12, versus a loss of $14.8 million the previous season. Expenses rose from $103.9 million to $106.0 million, while revenue increased from $89.1 million to $102.5 million. One source said factors such as club dues, interest on loans and royalty payments to NHL Enterprises are among the elements that affect the league finances annually.

As part of the tax filing, the NHL also listed its five highest-paid contractors, which were paid a total of just under $10 million. The top two were for legal services, totaling $6.5 million: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom at $4.3 million, and Proskauer at $2.2 million.


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