NHL Fleshes Out Three-Year Plan

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(from Sports Business Journal, September 9-13, 2013) The reorganization of the staff for the NHL has led to some new goals for the league beginning with one billion dollars in additional national revenue, sharper international focus with more events, a major broadcast rights deal, and another “24/7”-style show. John Collins, Chief Operating Officer, stated in a memo to the employees, “By the end of this three-year period, we expect annual gross national revenue will approach $1 billion, accounting for nearly 20 percent of league-wide hockey-related revenue.” That statement confirmed what league sources stated during the Stanley Cup Final in June about the projected revenue growth (Sports Business Journal, June 24-30 issue).

This increase in revenue would be welcomed by the individual club owners including Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, and New York Rangers. These clubs are nearly maxed out on the streams of revenues. Having sold out season tickets with long waiting lists for more, sponsorship sales are strong which leads revenue to be more driven.

There are four keys to developing increased revenue for the NHL:

·         Expanding the core businesses: media and sponsorship

·         Big event strategy including more outdoor events, such as the Winter Classic and the Heritage Classic

·         More regular-season overseas games in Europe

·         Securing new Canadian media rights deal

The biggest expected financial boom would be the Canadian rights deals. There are negotiations with CBC and the competitors Bell Media, which owns TSN and CTV, and Rogers Sportsnet for the broadcasting franchise. Right now the NHL is bringing in nearly $200 million a year in those rights from Canada and is expecting a healthy increase since there is a market for live sports rights.

The plans to enhance the storytelling and programming begin with HBO producing another “24/7” series based on the Winter Classic. NHL also has plans for a documentary surrounding the Heritage Classic and the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. This will be an eight-part series that will take you behind the scenes with the players and teams before and after the games and the Olympics. The series will be shown in the United States on NBC Sports Network and both CBC and Sportsnet in Canada.