Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 01/30/11 at 09:32 AM ET
In his weekly NHL notebook, the Boston Globe’s Kevin Dupont reveals two significant items of note, with the first involving the dollars-and-cents reason why the NHL’s All-Star Game will never go away:
In a telephone interview last week, NHL CEO John Collins noted that the league in the last four years has brought in some $330 million in new advertising revenue and sponsorship commitments, a sizable chunk of that stemming from the huge success of the Jan. 1 Winter Classic.
It’s events such as the Winter Classic, All-Star Weekend, and the upcoming Heritage Classic (Feb. 20, Canadiens vs. Flames at Calgary) that build the “hockey-related revenue’’ coffers and boost the cap. Roughly half of that $330 million is returned to the players in the form of some $5 million a year built into each club’s maximum cap (now just under $60 million). More guys should be like Thomas, sporting wide smiles as they make their way to hockey’s annual hootenanny.
“We know our game resonates with Madison Avenue,’’ said Collins, who spent years in the NFL before making the switch to the ice game. “And we’re seeing it more and more now, with companies like Verizon, Anheuser-Busch, and Pepsi buying into our initiatives — Stanley Cup, Winter Classic, Heritage Classic, regular season, NHL.com, NHL Network.’’
Now comes the true test for the NHL, which for decades has trailed North America’s other three major sports dramatically in TV revenue. The league’s current TV deals with NBC and Versus expire at the end of this season. Comcast’s recent takeover of NBC Universal has delayed NHL talks with Versus (owned by Comcast) and NBC about extensions, but word around the industry for months has been that the league finally stands to make a breakthrough score when a deal gets finalized. Collins sounded confident that the new deal could be in place by March 31, end of first-quarter business.
“NBC and Comcast see it as something important to them,’’ said Collins, “and it’s important to us.’’
I can’t quote the entire article, but Dupont also suggests that the NHLPA will p*** off the NHL, I mean rock the boat by announcing a new initiative aimed at stemming the flow of concussions in the NHL…
Unless there is a sudden reversal in plans, the union this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday, is expected to reveal details of a significant player safety initiative, one almost certain to focus on concussions. Donald Fehr, the Players Association’s new executive director, has a son who is a neurologist. Let’s all hope a son’s words to his father amount to good news for the many concussed NHLPA members.
Continued, a conversation with Connecticut Whale owner Howard Baldwin included…
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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.
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