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Thursday, June 13, 2024

NHL Looks to Expand in Media, Not New Teams

  • NHL commissioner Gary Bettman believes complementary programming has become increasingly important.
  • He noted that streaming services could look to live sports to grow their audiences.
James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman thinks his league is ready to cash in on streaming.

Bettman told Bloomberg that it’s “exciting” to see big tech companies like Amazon and Apple bidding on sports rights.

Bettman attributed much of the NHL’s recent revenue growth to its seven-year media deals with Disney and Turner for a respective $400 million and $225 million per season, both signed in 2021.

  • He noted that streaming services could look to live sports to grow their audiences, saying “cable and satellites got their penetration because of the appetite for sports.”
  • The commissioner believes complementary programming that takes fans inside locker rooms has become increasingly important. 
  • “The millennials and Gen Zs, they want more than just the games now. They want behind-the-scenes,” said Bettman.

The league is also considering schedule adjustments that would add more rivalry games.

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Just Big Enough

While the other major U.S. leagues have all discussed adding teams, Bettman is content with the NHL’s current set of 32.

“We’re not looking to expand,” Bettman said. “We are getting expressions of interest, which we always listen to, as you should. But I don’t see anything in our immediate future.”

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