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Volume 22 No. 48
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NHL’s pay to Bettman nears $8 million

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman received almost $8 million in salary and benefits during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, according to the league’s most recent tax filing, up from a total compensation of $7.5 million the previous year.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly (left) were the two highest-paid execs listed in the tax filing.
Photo by: AP IMAGES
At more than $7.98 million, Bettman’s salary has more than doubled since the lockout that canceled the NHL’s 2004-05 season. In that year, he made $3.7 million. The league’s total annual revenue, including its 30 member clubs and other business operations, has increased in that same time from $2.1 billion to $2.9 billion for the 2010-11 season, up 38 percent. The total grew further in the 2011-12 season, to $3.2 billion.

The tax filing does not include the revenue and expenses of NHL Enterprises and the NHL Network, which are not tax-exempt.

Bettman’s base salary for the 2010-11 season was $6,090,173. Other compensation was $1,711,930. He also received $155,782 in deferred compensation and $25,868 in benefits.

By comparison, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is believed to make more than $20 million annually, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this year signed a five-year contract extension that ultimately is expected to double his salary to about $20 million a year.

NBA Commissioner David Stern’s salary has never been made public

The NHL declined to comment on the filing.

NHL executive salaries

Gary Bettman Commissioner $7,983,753
Bill Daly Deputy commissioner $2,856,431
John Collins Chief operating officer $2,315,455
Colin Campbell Senior vice president $2,050,743
Craig Harnett Chief financial officer $1,544,084
David Zimmerman General counsel $975,037
Joseph DeSousa Executive vice president, finance $876,681
Michael Murphy Senior vice president, hockey operations $711,119
Stephen Walkom** Director of officiating $474,601

* Total compensation includes base compensation, bonuses, other reportable compensation, deferred compensation and non-taxable benefits.
** Left the position in 2009 and returned to refereeing
Source: Form 990, Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service

The filing reported compensation for nine of the NHL’s top officers. Several, including Bettman, received notable pay increases from the previous year. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly made $2.86 million in 2010-11 after making just more than $2 million the previous season. Chief Operating Officer John Collins received $1.25 million in bonus and incentive compensation directly tied to the league’s business growth. That bonus brought his total pay to $2.32 million, almost double his 2009-10 season compensation of $1.2 million.

On the whole, the league posted a loss for its business of $14.7 million for the year, according to the tax filing. Expenses rose 25 percent from $83.3 million to $103.9 million, while revenue declined from $91.4 million to $89.1 million.

As part of the tax filing, the NHL also listed its five highest-paid contractors. Of the top five, three were for legal services, totaling $8.8 million: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher — which represented the NHL when it acquired the Phoenix Coyotes in November 2009 — at $6.08 million; Proskauer at $1.74 million, and Covington & Burling at $979,589.