Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/05/05 at 09:18 AM ET
National Hockey League officials are convinced their business is well on the road to a quicker-than-expected recovery after a devastating work stoppage that wiped out an entire season, embittered long-time fans and alienated advertisers and broadcasters. And there is some evidence to support their optimism, in the form of strong early ticket sales, renewed interest from sponsors and a new U.S. TV deal that could raise the sport's profile south of the border. Coming out of the lockout, both the league and the NHL Players' Association forecast that revenue would likely fall to about $1.75-billion (all figures U.S.) from $2.1-billion in 2003-04. Now they may be revising their estimates. "It looks like we've had a tremendous bounceback frankly, far better than anyone really was anticipating," said Ted Saskin, executive director of the NHLPA. "My expectation is that the decline is not going to be as significant as many were projecting. And we might actually see some upside off the conservative projections that we all put in place."
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