For anyone who was staunchly against the NHL lockout that lasted into January and killed half a season won't like reading what Larry Brooks of the New York Post has to say in this morning's weekly Slap Shots column.
Slap Shots has learned the NHL recently informed the NHLPA the projected hockey-related revenue (HRR) for this truncated season will reach $2.4 billion, a staggering number with implications far beyond the obvious that the league essentially suffered no damage by locking out the players for more than three months.
This $2.4 billion projection is for a 720-game regular season plus the playoffs. Thus, the NHL expects to generate 72.7 percent of last year’s revenue in 58.5 percent of the season — and without the benefits reaped from the money-printing outdoor game.
Most clamored the sport would suffer irrevocable damage to the tune of millions of lost revenue from games not played, including the Winter Classic, and fans who were fed up with another work stoppage and wouldn't come back.
Not the case. Fans are back in droves, ratings are up locally and nationally and all is well in the hockey world.
Brooks also calls for the NHL to reduce the number of its regular season games to 70 to enhance the product:
The lesson here for the NHL (and NHLPA) is reducing the schedule to 70 games in a season that begins in the final week of October — it would be important to get a jump on the NBA — very well could and almost certainly would not only produce better hockey but generate more interest and thus more revenue.
This morning's revelation solidifies an ugly truth: the NHL knew exactly what it was doing by locking out the players and benefited quite nicely from doing so. This is why Gary Bettman, vilified by fans, is loved by his owners and will not be dispatched from his post anytime soon.
– If it doesn't anger you that the NHL's lockout antics actually made their pockets deeper, I'd question your love for the game. Sickening, but that's how big business operates. Hate Bettman all you want, but he's a shrewd business man. He's the Emperor Palpatine of sports commissioners.
– I'm with Brooks on reducing the amount of games. The season can start late October/early November and not miss a beat (apparently). I'm all for whatever makes the on-ice product better. Except, of course, work stoppages that make money-hungry owners richer.
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