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Gary Bettman On Numerous Topics

from Christopher Botta of the SportsBusiness Journal - Sporting News,

Bettman, who turned 60 on June 2, is approaching his 20th anniversary as NHL commissioner. While his supporters note his power and influence, observers watch as Bettman leads the league through one of the more important junctures in its history. The need this summer for a new collective-bargaining agreement tops the list of the issues facing the league.

Bettman doesn’t shy away from the challenges as he sits in his New York office. On a week in which he would participate in the NHL awards and a board of governors meeting in Las Vegas followed by the 2012 NHL Draft over the weekend in Pittsburgh, he took time to discuss areas where the league can continue to grow, how the postseason ratings decline was not a surprise to him—and the most imminent matter of the league’s CBA.

During the Stanley Cup Final, Bettman reported league revenue of $3.3 billion this season. In the 2006-07 season, the league generated $2.2 billion in revenue. Among the primary reasons for the leap have been increased attendance (the NHL brought in $1.2 billion from ticket sales in 2010-11); the 10-year, $2 billion deal signed with NBC last year; and a seven-year, $375 million deal with MillerCoors that is the most lucrative such deal in league history.

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Bettman said, noting the coverage that extended from NBC and NBC Sports Network to CNBC and NHL Network. “As we continue to grow, and based on everything NBC is doing for us, you will see our ratings grow.”

The fact is that the ratings were lower this year because the games were on NBC Sports Network which many people do not have as part of their sat or cable packages. I have DirecTV and NBC Sports Network is not in my package. I buy Center Ice and this year Center Ice didn’t have as many playoff games because they were on NBC Sports Network and this year I saw less NHL playoff games than any time in my life. That is why the ratings were low. If you don’t get NBC Sports Network you are not watching the game. Until the NHL & NBC get all satellite and cable companies to carry NBC Sports Network on their basic packages the ratings will continue to be low. There is no other reason. I watched a movie because the LA Kings/ Devils game 1 & 2 were not avalaible in my home. And I will not spend more money on a higher package that has 80 more channels that only five I would watch when I can spend the money on Center Ice and watch channels I want to watch throughout the year. As long as the games are on NBC Sports Network the ratings will be low.

Posted by Puckbubba from FL. on 06/27/12 at 01:54 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I have an extended cable package with Cox Communications and I get NBCSN, MSNBC, and the regular NBC channel so I was able to watch many NHL games on those networks.  Maybe it was Vegas because of the huge number of screens in the sportsbooks forcing Cox to offer a similar viewing package to its residential customers.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 06/27/12 at 02:15 PM ET

Heaton's avatar

Every single game after the 1st round was on national TV.  No other TV network would be able to offer that.

Posted by Heaton on 06/27/12 at 03:26 PM ET

Primis's avatar

The fact is that the ratings were lower this year because the games were on NBC Sports Network which many people do not have as part of their sat or cable packages.

Posted by Puckbubba from FL. on 06/27/12 at 12:54 PM ET

No, the ratings were low because many of the regular season games were stinkers/poorly-planned, and the playoff series’ also ended up being stinkers when it came to markets.

In regular season, NBC banked heavily on WAS (disaster of a season) and PIT (no Crosby, limped along at times) again and payed dearly for it.  That also banked heavily on playing up the Flyers and Rangers, and didn’t get great results there either.  CHI and DET were the 2 Western teams they focused on, and both had rough seasons.  Thus the punishment for putting all your eggs in a couple baskets.

As for the playoffs, look at the markets that were eliminated after Round 1, then Round 2.  By the time to Conference Finals came along, there wasn’t ever much hope for the TV ratings.

NBC needs to let go of the Crosby-Ovechkin thing and find a different way to sell games and teams.

Posted by Primis on 06/27/12 at 04:12 PM ET

cementslinger's avatar

NBC needs to let go of the Crosby-Ovechkin thing and find a different way to sell games and teams.

Posted by Primis on 06/27/12 at 03:12 PM ET

Need more and better rivalries.  There just seems to be less heated rivalries as this “league parity” thing grows.  Just my opinion.

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 06/27/12 at 04:59 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.

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