The NHL resumes play Saturday within its Canadian bubbles: the Eastern Conference in Toronto and the Western Conference in Edmonton. There’s plenty at stake for the league as it looks to complete the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In a normal season, approximately 1.8 million fans go through gates during the playoffs, bringing in between $150 million and $200 million. Without that revenue, teams are in desperate need of the roughly $500 million in TV revenue from the playoffs.
It is estimated that the NHL has brought in $3.9 billion in revenue so far this season, compared to more than $5 billion last season.
Format: Like the NBA, an already reduced pool of teams will compete for the final 16 playoff spots. The top four teams in each conference will play a round-robin tournament to determine seeding, while the remaining eight teams will vie for the last four spots in best-of-five series.
Schedule: The first week will be non-stop hockey action. Each day will feature three games in one bubble and two in the other, starting at noon ET.
Broadcast: In the U.S., coverage will be carried by NBC networks, while Sportsnet will carry games in Canada. NBC is producing the broadcast in Toronto, while Sportsnet takes care of Edmonton. Without fans, broadcasts will feature 32 cameras, rather than the normal 20.
Bubble Life: Unlike the NBA which spent weeks in the bubble and allowed a vibrant social ecosystem to develop, NHL players arrived at their respective bubbles on July 26. There were no positive coronavirus tests upon arrival.