Kukla's Korner

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Brooks campaigns for a 70-game season, reports that lockout did little damage to NHL’s bottom line

The New York Post's Larry Brooks' customary Slap Shots column involves his belief that the NHL should reduce its season to 70 games, because he believes that an 82-game season yields 12 games of too much of everything for each and every one of the NHL's teams, especially in October and November, when hockey's competing against the World Series, college football, the NFL and the hype surrounding the beginning of the NBA season...

But I think the most interesting part of his article addresses the league's estimated revenuesr the 48-game seaon seem to suggest that the damage the owners' lockout did to the NHL's "brand" appeal was much less than experts or fans anticipated--understanding of the fact that October and November can be "slow" months for the NHL included:

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.

Remember: HRR for 2011-12 hit a record $3.3 billion. That was for a 1,230-game regular-season, plus playoffs, preseason and special events — including the Winter Classic and All-Star festivities.

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..

It would be a mistake to extrapolate the $2.4 billion into its algebraic equivalent of $4.1 billion for a full and hypothetical 2012-13. That would equate to a 35-percent increase for a league that historically has annual bounces of approximately 7 percent per season, despite all the auxiliary nonsense from the Board of Governors that surrounds — but never is able to engulf — the great game.

It appears clear, however, the projected $2.4 billion represents a case of less being — or meaning — more to the consumers. It seems obvious, as long suspected, the NHL generates a comparatively small amount of revenue over the course of the first six weeks of the season, when it’s difficult to attract attention and sales in October.

Brooks obviously continues, and he weighs in on both realignment, the Flames' offer sheet to Ryan O'Reilly and Brian Burke being...Himself.

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I wonder if Brooks would consider writing 15-20% fewer pieces every year, just to make the ones he does write ‘better’, along with a similar reduction in his pay?


Then shut up.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 03/03/13 at 07:10 AM ET


I am a big believer in delaying the start of the NHL season until November with primarily weekend games for the first month, expanding around Christmas with more week day games and the media kickoff of the season with the Winter Classic. Push the season back in the spring ending the Stanley Cup Final just before July 1. There should be plenty of data around attendance and TV ratings to peg the season to maximize both. It would also reduce labor costs by reducing the number of games they pay players and maximize the revenue stream. There is likely a sweet spot at around 76 games.

Posted by timbits on 03/03/13 at 01:16 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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