The NHL is no longer part of the 'big four' sports and Gary Bettman is to blame

C. Ritchie
August 23, 2022  (8:27)

The NHL is bringing in record revenues, Gary Bettman will tell you that any chance he can. What he forgets to mention is that every professional sports league in North America has been seeing record revenues. So how does the NHL match up to the other big four sports?

Gary Bettman and the NHL had one of the worst media deals in history when their main broadcaster in the United States was NBC. That contract brought in roughly $300 million per year. That doubled with their latest contract between ESPN and Turner sports that is now paying the NHL approximately $625 million per year. A huge win for Bettman and company... until you start digging into the numbers.
Last year, of the big four majour leagues in the United States, the NHL was fourth in media revenue and it wasn't even close. The leagues each brought in the following revenue this past season.
NFL $10 Billion
NBA $2.6 Billion
MLB $1.96 Billion
NHL $625 Million

The NHL is even falling behind NCAA Conference powerhouse the Big Ten, and the SEC is right behind them. The English Premier League with it's new deal has moved into second place in the United States media war. So what about total revenues?
Let's take a closer look at total league revenues and their growth. We'll only go from 2014/15 up to the 2018/2019 seasons as those are pre-pandemic and every league was affected differently after that. Obviously all 3 of the other leagues will have much higher revenues than the NHL as they are more prominently spread out throughout the USA. However, growth should be the majour sticking point here.
Growth from the 2014/15 seasons to 2018/2019
NFL $11.09B to $15.26B Growth rate of 38%
NBA $4.8B to $8.8B Growth rate of 83%
MLB $7.86B to $10.37B Growth rate of 32%
NHL $3.98B to $4.4B Growth rate of 10%

As you can see revenue is growing in the NHL so Bettman isn't lying. But when the other majour sports are growing by minimum 30% in revenue and that NHL is at 10%, frankly its embarrassing. Not only does the NHL have the lowest revenue by far, it's not even keeping pace with the other leagues' momentum. The new TV deal will help increase revenue obviously, but the NHL still isn't keeping pace with the rest of the sports world.
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The NHL is no longer part of the 'big four' sports and Gary Bettman is to blame

Should Gary Bettman be replaced as commissioner?

Yes, he's run his course105694.5 %
No, he still has good ideas625.5 %
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