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NHL to generate “well into US$5bn” in revenue for 2021/22 season, says Gary Bettman

League commissioner believes franchises are “in good shape” after Covid-19 disruption.

7 October 2021 Ed Dixon

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  • Projection dependent on NHL season not being affected by pandemic
  • League has signed new lucrative US broadcast rights deals and opened up sponsorship inventory to offset losses

The National Hockey League’s (NHL) commissioner Gary Bettman expects the competition to generate more than US$5 billion in revenue during the 2021/22 season.

Speaking to Sportsnet radio, Bettman said the league was on course to reach that number, provided the campaign is not disrupted by Covid-19.

“We are coming back stronger, or as strong, as when we had to take the pause and had to play an unusual season last season,” said Bettman. “But the vital signs are all very, very good, very strong, and all of our franchises are in good shape.”

The 2019/20 season saw the NHL bring in US$4.4 billion in revenue, down 14 per cent year-on-year (YoY), as the pandemic limited fan attendance.

Since then, the league has offset the losses with a new seven-year US broadcast deal with ESPN, which was signed in March and is reportedly worth more than US$400 million per season until the end of 2027/28. The NHL followed that up in April when Turner Sports secured the second US media rights package, also lasting seven years, which is purportedly worth US$225 million per season.

Furthermore, teams are now free to sell jersey patches for the first time. The Washington Capitals became the first NFL franchise to take advantage of the new inventory by signing a multi-year deal, reportedly worth US$6 million per annum, with casino company Caesars Entertainment.

The jersey patch space is the latest piece of sponsorship inventory to be made available by the NHL, which permitted teams to have helmet sponsors for the first time last season.

In other NHL news, the league has renewed its partnership with chemical company Chemours, extending a collaboration that started in 2018.

Meanwhile, online food delivery service SkipTheDishes has renewed multi-year partnerships with six Canadian NHL teams: the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, Montreal Canadiens, and Ottawa Senators.

The 2021/22 NHL season gets underway on 12th October.

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