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Rocky Wirtz, NHL bullish on NHL’s revenue growth going forward

Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz insists that his team is still losing money on its hockey operations, but he's bullish on the NHL's potential for growth, as he told SportsBusiness Journal's Christopher Botta (in an article penned for the Sporting News)...

While enjoying his team’s run to the Stanley Cup finals, Chicago Blackhawks owner and chairman Rocky Wirtz spoke optimistically of the league’s overall business last week—to the tune of an additional $1 billion coming to the NHL.

“We’re going to add another billion dollars in gross revenue in the very near future,” Wirtz said while with his team in Boston. “The CBA is long-term (10 years, with opt-outs for the league and players after eight), and now the focus is on growth. I’m extremely happy about the future of the NHL.”

And Botta found that Wirtz's bluster's backed up by several sources in an exhaustive analysis of the NHL's finances, sponsorships and biggest revenue-driving events:

Wirtz isn’t alone in having that billion-dollar vision in this first year under the new collective-bargaining agreement. According to sources at the team and league levels, NHL executives informed the league’s audit and finance committee at a meeting on June 10 that the league projects bringing in an additional $1 billion of cumulative revenue over the next three seasons.

In 2011-12, the NHL’s last full season prior to this year’s lockout-shortened campaign, revenue totaled $3.2 billion. This year, with teams having played 48 regular-season games each, revenue is expected to be $2.4 billion. That’s 72 percent of the revenue with 58 percent of the games played.

The league has reason to be confident in the potential for that billion-dollar jolt. The NHL is producing six outdoor games next season: the Winter Classic, the Heritage Classic in Canada, and four games branded as the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. League officials are poised for sponsorship additions (see item below). And by the end of this summer, negotiations are expected to begin for Canadian media rights deals. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s agreement for the iconic “Hockey Night in Canada” expires at the end of next season. With TSN and Sportsnet looking to bid, the price is expected to rise significantly from the current six-year pact that pays $100 million annually.

Botta continues while offering "must-read" material.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com