By STEPHEN WHYNO, AP Hockey Writer
DENVER (AP) — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is anticipating record revenue this season, an increase he attributes to more points leading to higher ratings and more interest in the game.
Bettman during his annual state of the league address on Wednesday ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals estimated revenue will top $5.2 billion. He said he received information earlier in the afternoon indicating that this was a conservative estimate.
The league generated $4.6 billion in the last normal full season in 2018-19, before the pandemic wreaked havoc on the sport and specifically the NHL given its greater reliance on ticket revenue and other arena backdrops that weren’t possible without fans in the building or limited capabilities.
The financial increase also stems from new US media rights deals with ESPN and Turner Sports that came into effect this season.
An average of 6.28 goals were scored in each game during the regular season, the highest goal rate since 1992-93. Bettman also expressed his joy and relief at a return to normal in his first speech at the Cup final in person in three years.
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