NHL revenue grows


Despite television ratings that lag slightly behind re-runs of “Different Strokes”, the NHL is reporting a revenue growth of at least 5 percent according to “this report”:http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=article.main&articleId=55148&requestTimeout=900 in Sports Business Journal.

Outside of the fact that this is also a reflection of increased ticket prices, this has some positives for fans. For one, this means that the NHL is not preparing to sell its arenas and equipment on EBay before going out of businesss. For another, with the salary cap expected to increase to between $47-$49 million, it creates more latitude for the Rangers in their efforts to sign Chris Drury or Scott Gomez –or even to lure Ron Duguay out of retirement.


Also, I can’t confirm this, but word is the league will also begin serving caviar and lobster in all its press rooms.

It’s the least they could do…

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  1. Sam, any reaction to all the NHLPA happenings? Also, what was Mike Gartner’s role in all of that? Thanks.

  2. I don’t think that the increased revenue is that great of a thing. Owners jacked up the ticket prices and the increased revenue proved that we were willing to pay, so they will only increase prices for tickets and merch even higher … This league and its owners have no regard for the fans. They did just enough to kiss ass to get us back in the buildings after they stuck it to us by taking a year off with their petty squabble, and now are back to their old ways of making it difficult for the everyday man to be a fan by raising prices across the board. So yay, the cap is going up and teams will be able to give out more ridiculous contracts like Brad Richards’ and my season tickets will go up a couple of hundred dollars. Can’t wait …

  3. the bigger the cap the worse it will be because it means more mercenaries insteaad of developing from within.

  4. “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.”

    Yeah, that’s great news for fans. Tell me revenue is increasing because of advertising, sponsorships, partnerships, etc, and I’d gladly do cartwheels. But you’ll have to forgive me for being less than thrilled to learn that it’s coming out of my pocket. Yay! Owners make more money! Players make more money! Fans get screwed again! Woo hoo!

  5. a higher cap means the rangers have more cap space to go after guys like gomez and drury, but it also means that teams like nj & buffalo have more cap space to re-sign their players so it goes both ways…

    and from the rangers standpoint, i view the cap as a blessing in disguise cause it protects the rangers from themselves. it prevents them from going back and doing things the old way. the higher the cap goes, the bigger the temptation is to go for the quick fix. i’ll give the hockey guys (sather, maloney, renney, etc) the benefit of the doubt and say that they learned from their mistakes and know that the current gameplan is working. but everyone knows that jimmy dolan is dumb as a brick and the worst possible scenario is for jimmy to start butting in telling sather to spend more $$.

    as far as the league as a whole goes, my first question is what exactly is causing revenue to go up 2 years in a row? its not the tv revenue, attendance is only up slightly, and i really don’t see many ‘new’ revenue streams that you’d expect to bring in huge $$. so unless proven otherwise i’m thinking the answer is either 1)the nhl lied about revenue before the lockout and is simply unhiding it now or 2)the revenue increase is caused by ticket price increases, which means to drive the revenue up again next year ticket prices will go up again. that not only screws the fans but eventually you are gonna max out and prices will become too high and people will stop going again.

    also here is another little twist that seems to always get overlooked, when the cap increases it also means that the basement is gonna increase. as the upper cap approaches $50 mil, the basement is gonna be in the $35 mil range (in 2 years the basement has gotten to be almost has high as the ceiling was coming out of the lockout). big market teams like the rangers were spending $50+ mil before so they are fine. but what about the small market teams that before were going bankrupt with $18 mil payrolls and now you are FORCING them to spend double that. i guarantee you that the revenue in those cities hasn’t doubled. so remind me again how this is supposed to help those small market teams?

  6. “Yeah, that’s great news for fans. Tell me revenue is increasing because of advertising, sponsorships, partnerships, etc, and I’d gladly do cartwheels. But you’ll have to forgive me for being less than thrilled to learn that it’s coming out of my pocket. Yay! Owners make more money! Players make more money! Fans get screwed again! Woo hoo!”

    You’re right, Laurie, and I’m an idiot for not mentioning it earlier, but yes, this is a reflection of ticket prices having been increased as well. And that is NOT great news for fans.

    I guess I was looking at it from the macro perspective of at least seeing the game is not completely floundering, but it’s hardly ideal if it’s at the expense of its loyal fans base.


  8. Its nice to see that we the fans suffered a year without hockey just to make the rich richer. Right after the lockout coincided with me graduating college. Ever since I was a kid, i knew as soon as i had the funds i was going buy a season package. To my surprise the Rangers had a great year. This year they hiked the tickets from $22.50 to $26.00 a game. Plus they upped the # of games you have to buy to obtain playoff rights. I thought that was Dolan
    erasing the “Thank You Fans” from the ice last year after Game 4 vs. The Devils. He must have been thinking to himself: “Thank You You Suckers.”

    Then the owner we all love to hate then states in NOVEMBER that if the team makes the playoffs they will raise prices and if they lose they will stay the same…IN NOVEMBER YOU SAY THIS…I am anticipating atleast $30.00 a ticket next season which surprisingly is not that bad compared to the rest of the league… I’ve been to Toronto, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Tampa, Columbus, and NJ and they are all either comprable or more expensive. Atleast these cities have giveaway nights. A hat or crappy bobblehead or something. They gave nothing back to the fans this year.

    Though I may dive into season tickets next year I can’t help but think my loyality to the team I love borders on stupidity. These guys left us for a year and we came running back to them with open arms only for them to stick it to us in the pocket. I have no intention on buying anyone of these new jersey’s that are going to cost almost $500 just so that their revenue goes up again…which is the real reason behind these things…not once has anyone heard a player complain about the “wind resistance” of their jersey.

    Overall this league’s excutives and owners are destroying the game and filling their pockets at the expense of the fans. I will always be a fan of hockey, despite the best efforts of Bettman to dumb the sport down for a mass audience. God help us true fans if they ever take out fighting, increase the size of the nets, or bring the shoot out the playoffs.

    Anyway, I guess one can argue as the quality of the team goes up so does price. Atleast the players still appreciate us. I ALWAYS stay for the salute, it makes me feel appreciated for the undying and unquestionable support i show. I’ll be in Sec. 411 next season contributing to Dolan’s pursuit of the Yanks…imagine the damage he could do with that franchise…

  9. imagination on

    “Buffalo’s struggles only prove the Rangers really blew it against a vulnerable team.”…. that’s the story

  10. Glad to see that Aaron Ward could give his knowledgeable insight on the Versus intermission.

  11. 7.7 seconds and no call on zuberus holding gerardi is what blew it for them.

  12. imagination on

    sully why are you hiding now? you know your team should have lost to the NYR. Be a man and admit your team wasted their energy going for the presidents cup .

  13. The league’s revenue might be growing but there are some bad signs around the league. The league’s TV deal is a nightmare (it would be wise to take less money and head back over to ESPN and make Barry Melrose happy). The uniform change next year is likely going to get a lot of the traditionalists angry and make it too expensive for fans to buy jerseys. Ticket prices are getting too high. When I look at prices and realize that MSG is not the most expensive arena to go see a game, in terms of ticket price anyway if you’re willing to sit in the 400s, I know that there is a problem. The Devils’ and Islanders’ tickets are more expensive than the Rangers’ and unless those teams are playing the Rangers they can’t pay people to go watch.

    On a more problematic level nationally: I go to school in the Midwest and yesterday we decided to go to the Red Wings-Ducks game in Detroit since it was not sold out. I cannot imagine a Ranger playoff game not selling out within the first 5 minutes tickets go on sale. This isn’t New Jersey where no one shows up even for the Stanley Cup finals or one of the Southern markets where the league doesn’t belong (just my opinion) but Detroit! An Original 6 city! Maybe that’s what happens when a team makes the playoffs every year (see what happened with the Atlanta Braves when they stopped selling out baseball playoff games in the late 1990s/early 2000s) but if hockey isn’t thriving in what is supposed to be one of its most profitable and stable US markets then this league is a lot of trouble. Standing room tickets were 100 bucks and to get a seat, plenty of which were available, in the last row was $135. I know it’s the playoffs and tickets are going to be expensive but I remember that face value at the garden was a lot less than that for playoff tickets this year.

    By the way, have official TV ratings come out for the NHL playoffs yet? I’ve heard rumors that they’re creeping closer and closer to the NBA and maybe even beat it on a couple of occasions but I haven’t seen any numbers.

  14. czechthemout!!!!! on

    the glass is always half empty to some on this board.the league IS GROWING and yet some people here are looking for
    reasons to knock it anyway.what do you guys expect,this is a buisness,did youguys think the owners would subsidize the
    fans ticket prices?i mean many teams cut or held prices firm last year.some teams cut prices by as much as ten percent last year,now they are recovering those lost revenues.i for one am glad the league is back to almost pre strike numbers.i think what needs to be done is for the league to cut a deal with espn like they have with nbc and hire a pro mkt firm to help grow this great sport.all in all despite aholes like fat mike and the dick head,luprica,and all the other hockey haters,the demise of the nhl is gretaly exagerated.i will make a preditiction,the league will break 2.5 billion in revenue next year and will only get more popular as the rangers and other teams like chi and la,bos,philly get better and better.

  15. Obviously marketing has been a big problem for the NHL. Between the “300” tie-ins and the weird ones with that woman and the sort of knight theme, it seems as if the league thinks they have to push some warrior mystique that is just plain dumb and not about the game itself. I like the comedy ones (Ovechkin ordering pizza, the “just like you only good at hockey,”) but i suspect those only appeal to people who are already fans.

    I’m curious what people think would be a good way to market the game, especially to non-fans. And, no, i don’t work for the league.

    Thoughts? Sam? Josh? Everyone?

  16. have buttman do a commercial, he can be a goalie in one of his cheap suits with an apple on his head like bobby granger, except let it hit him in the head or mouth and knock some sense in him while losing a few teeth.

  17. Drury’s play vs. OTT hasn’t exactly hurt the arguments of those who hope Gomez will be the NYR’s target this July.

    Gomez is 27, and is one of the top five skaters in the league, and shows up huge in the playoffs. Even in the later rounds. (What a concept)

    This is not a close call, sports fans. Get Gomez.

  18. On the ledge on

    Gomez has said he doesn’t like the Rangers and wouldn’t come here. We’re not getting him.

  19. If Gomez had said that, it would be all over the news. And as far as I know, it isn’t.

  20. Sam: at some point could you give us your breakdown of Drury vs. Gomez- in terms of who you think would be the best fit for the Rangers, how each player would fit in on this Rangers team, and if possible maybe give us an idea of what the feeling is inside the organization towards them (are they already leaning towards someone?)…my thoughts…

    Drury: maybe I’m crazy, but I think he’s slightly overrated…I know he’s scored big goals in high pressure situations, but 6-7 million per year for a guy who’s never scored more than 69 points in any season? just because he’s “clutch”? I’m totally against overpaying anyone because of a “clutch” or “winner” factor…if we’re going to pay 1st Line Center-type money, I want that type of production…outside of Drury’s Game 5 goal (which I know was a killer, but it was basically a lucky rebound chance more than anything) he didn’t really do that much to stand out to me in the NYR-Buffalo playoff series…and he’s not looking too great vs. Ottawa either…also, does he really make anyone around him better? and he did a nice job defensively when matched up against Jagr’s line, but I’m not spending 6-7 million per year for a “two-way center”…he will be 31 in August, and he’s going to want a 5+ year deal, so when Nylander/Jagr/Straka/etc. are gone or finished in 2-3 years, is Drury going to give you Top 2 Line-level production in his mid-30’s? don’t get me wrong, I think he would definitely help this team now, but he would also be extremely overpaid for his production level…and I also think that of the Big 3 free agent centers (Drury, Gomez, Briere), Drury will be the least productive in the final years of his deal…

    Gomez: Nylander/Gomez would be a great 1A-1B punch down the middle…he’s the youngest of the Big 3 free agent centers, his speed/puckhandling/passing are all huge assets, and he definitely makes the players (wingers) around him better…imagine him setting up Shanahan, Prucha, Callahan or Avery…

    1. Jagr-Nylander-Straka
    2. Shanahan-Gomez-Prucha or Callahan
    3. Avery-Cullen-Prucha or Callahan

    those are three VERY solid/deep lines that can all provide offense (with Gomez on the 2nd PP Unit we would also have two excellent PP Units)…and if you want to throw in a “winner” or “clutch” factor, he has rings…also, because of his age, he’ll probably be better during the final years of his deal than Drury…is he worth 6-7 million per year? I don’t think Gomez, Drury, OR Briere is worth that much, but the Salary Cap is going up, and that’s the going rate right now, it is what it is…I do think that Gomez is a safer bet to keep up his production level over the life of whatever deal he gets than 31 year-old Chris Drury at 6-7 million per year over 5+ years…

    so I’d probably lean towards Gomez as of right now

  21. ORR kicks Ying Yang on

    Honestly…I dont wanna sound like an A hole…but

    Shut Up….No offense…i dont mean that in a negative way…But please people….dont get excited over these two.


    Ive never heard that quote from Gomez…and he would never say that cause hes not that type of guy.

    Drury WILL be re signed by the Sabres…If anything then Briere might get traded…But i think they’ll both stay

    Gomez WILL be re signed cause he was the BEST player for the devils in the playoffs…and the only one who showed up…Parise showed up then left after the 1st round…

    My guess is if anything NJD will let Rafalski go…They have some good youth d men…Like Andy Greene…etc.

    Another thing is….Why would Gomez come to a rival team…If he leaves the Devils….a team that if it were up to him…he’d play there forever…then he wont come to a team that has to verse them 8 times a year….He’ll most likely go out west…But i still say he gets re signed.

  22. Orr, I won’t stoop to name calling, but let’s just say you don’t sound particularly enlightened. Gomez has made it clear he is going to test the free agent market. I seriously doubt his plan is to use whatever offer he gets to try and jack up what the Devils will pay him. It isn’t as simple as asking why NJ would or would not re-sign him. Of course they want him back – the issues are whether or not he wants to stay there, and can they afford him. The notion that he’d stay there forever if he could is flat out wrong. Why would he want to play here instead of the swamp? Are you kidding me? Why would he rather play for a team that has the most rabid fans and sells out every game whether they’re good or not as opposed to playing for a team that falls 5,000 seats short of selling out their playoff games? The rumors that I’ve heard have him wanting out of there and thinking about Detroit, LA, Rangers and Philly as possible places he’d go.

    And as for Drury and Briere, the same applies – Buffalo simply cannot afford to keep both of them under any circumstances. Of course Buffalo wants to. And then it also boils down to whether or not those guys want to stay there and live and raise their families in Buffalo. Drury is originally from this area, so it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he decided he actually wanted to play here.

    It isn’t going to be about the money. These guys are going to get similar offers from every team interested. It will be about length of deal and where these guys actually want to live and play, and I think the Rangers have done a great job of making this a great placen to want to play for years to come.

  23. Before the Rangers JUMP all over Drury. Watch some of the Ottawa series. Ryan Smyth is the player that is on the radar. As is Sheldon Souray. Trade Montoya to the Blackhawks or the number one pick.

  24. On the Gomez issue, is it just me, or do you get the reeling that even if he does come to the Rangers, he’ll ALWAYS be a New Jersey Devil? (Remember Holik?)
    And on a lighter note, thank you, Sam, for the photo reminding me of just why I started watching the Rangers in the first place!

  25. Sam, gut feeling, who will be the Rangers No. 1 target in free agency, besides their own players?

  26. Karimack, I’m with you about Gomez. That Holik situation never sat well with me. Ditto LaFontaine and Lindros. Of course, I’m sure there are a million examples of the opposite (Shanny?).

    I do think Ryan Smyth would be a pretty sweet addition (I know, he’s an Islander per my immediately previous remarks, but not really). Does anyone know if he likes NY, or is truly just waiting to go back to Edmonton or Canada?

  27. Mort U. Wary on


    Is it me or is there a TREMENDOUS opportunity for the Rangers to get better at Center and get scoring depth beyond Jagr, but nobody is mentioning it? The Lightning are crunched cap-wise and need to make a serious run at J.S. Giguere to fix their goaltending situation, which is making Tororella sick.

    Being as Richards (7.8 million), St. Louis (6 million) and Lecavalier (7.1 million) make up nearly 45% of Tampa’s cap! Wouldn’t it make sense to offer our 1st round pick, Montoya, Dubinsky and either another prospect/pick/defenseman off of our roster (MALIK!!!) in a package to get Vinny Lecavalier on Broadway?

    FYI, if this happens I’d like to see the Rangers make a run at a 1A goalie as a backup to lighten Hank’s workload to 60 games. Aebischer or Thibault come to mind as UFAs who were starters elsewhere during the past three seasons. Your thoughts???

  28. Mort, the Lightning already have a good prospect in goal named Karri Ramo, who produced numbers in his rookie AHL season this year similar to those Montoya put up in his rookie year, despite playing for a much worse team. They don’t need another unproven AHLer, they need a goalie they can depend on now. Moreover, it’s gonna take a lot more than a couple of unproven AHLers and a mid-round 1st pick to move Lecavalier — if they decide to do it at all. Last I heard, Feaster was on record saying he intended to keep the big three (actually, big four, because Dan Boyle was part of the conversation), and the only thing that would change that would be if his player payroll budget were to be cut.

  29. Couple things. First Detroit apparently gets the best ratings on VS and while it is disheartening that they aren’t selling out all the games, it makes sense given the serious financial trouble Detroit is in due to the situation of Ford, GM, Chrylser, etc.

    As far as free agent centers, the only one I would consider is Gomez but the ’08 free agent class is much stronger with Iginla, Heatly, Marleau and Thorton amongst others. Though you cannot gurantee any of these players will be available next year, I’d hate to be locked into three years of nylander/gomez and not have a chance to get an Iginla or Marleau.

    I did read if Tampa did not make it to at least the second round of the playoffs the owner was going to look at trading one of the big four, but that would lead me to believe it would be Richards and I don’t think he is worth Montoya, Dubinsky, picks etc. I think you hold onto Montoya and let him be a backup and trade him in a year or two. Florida would be a better fit than Tampa as it would be great to have a cuban-american hockey player in Miami.

  30. Mort U. Wary on

    Thanks laurie. I hear ya, but stranger things have happened. I know that they need to get Torts a proven goalie (before he kills Denis) and my wishful thinking is that they’ll have to move someone. Richards probably isn’t going anywhere, so that would leave Vinny or St. Louis. I appreciate the insight on Rammo. I didn’t know that he was thought of so highly.

  31. Looking at the lines that Rich proposed, I would like to tweak that a little. I really enjoyed watching the Prucha-Cullen-Callahan line play together, and also really liked the way that having a big man such as Hossa or Isbister made room for Jagr on the top line. Maybe Shanahan could fill that role, and provide a little bit more offense It would be a really hard decision but I’d say keep those 2 lines together.
    Scratches: Orr (play him with more physical teams)
    Hossa (fills in at first injury)
    Dubinsky, Immonen, anyone from Hartford

    On defense:
    Roszival-Malik (you know he’s not going anywhere)
    Mara-Staal or Pock

  32. Sorry, I don’t know why that extra CCP line is at the bottom.. I thought I had lost it. There it is.

  33. ORR kicks Ying Yang on


    Like i said…I didnt wanna sound like an A hole…But in the past i always used to say go for this guy go for that guy…Like before this season i was saying Hopefully NYR goes after Gionta Gomez Drury or Briere…But it didnt happen..and at the deadline i thought NYR would go for Smyth …a player who i really liked…But NYI got him…now i can care less for him…

    BUT……Has anyone heard any rumors about The rangers looking for a trade for Patrick Marleau…and Oli Jokinen..Ive been hearing about it but is there any truth to it.

  34. “Karimack, I’m with you about Gomez. That Holik situation never sat well with me. Ditto LaFontaine and Lindros. Of course, I’m sure there are a million examples of the opposite (Shanny?).”


    Hated this guy for years, couldn’t wait for rags to dish him off until the guy started chasing Gravy’s record.

    I think we could make Gomez comfy.

  35. czechthemout!!!!! on

    i for one don’t want any free agent here.i say first to give your own kids a try.avery,dubinsky,cullen should be on the third line.second line should be shany,nathan horton (who should be aquired for prucha and montoya) and callahan.
    the fourth line should be korpikoski,betts,byers.

  36. onecupin67years on

    I think the rangers beat the hell out of the sabres,the sabres stanley cup was against NY,too bad ,another Wide right field goal attempt.Ala Scott Norwood.
    if the rangers didnt blow the gane with 7 seconds I think they wouldve won the cup,but thats life.

  37. czech- i agree with you no free agents.Look what happened last year,most of them didn’t work out, Shanny did but it took Matt Cullen most of the year to start playing well and Adam Hall never did and last but not least Aaron Ward ,we all know what a great team guy he turned out to be ,not to mention how bad he played.This team gets along very well and you need to be careful not to add another Aaron Ward to the mix. Besides all the guys everyone is talking about bringing in will want to much money none of them are worth it to me.

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