The 2013 Stanley Cup Finals reached an average of 5.76 million viewers. The concluding Game 6 was watched by 8.16 million people, a 66% increase over 2012. Game 6 was the third-most watched NHL game since 1995 and a Game 7, which seemed probable until a fateful 17-second span at the end of Game 6, would likely have broken more records.
Next year, the NHL hopes to capitalize on higher fan interest by expanding the number of outdoor games from one to six. In addition to the Winter Classic, which has been a bonanza for television ratings and ticket sales, there will be a new, four-game Stadium Series sponsored by Coors Light, flagship brand of the Molson Coors Brewing Co. (TAP) as well as a Heritage Classic between two Canadian teams.
With more fans than ever donning oversized jerseys to support their teams, either at the rink or at home, NHL revenue has climbed accordingly. NHL revenue for 2013 is expected to be about $2.4 billion, down from last year's $3.2 billion, but a significant number considering fewer than 60% of regular-season games were played.
Over the next three seasons, the league expects to add another $1 billion, thanks largely to the new outdoor games, renegotiated media rights deals, and increased sponsorships.There once was a time when the NHL was considered a poor, distant cousin to the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and the National Basketball Association. Though it will be a while before the NHL comes close to generating annual revenue on par with the top moneymakers, the NFL ($9.5 billion) and MLB ($7.5 billion), the league is coming closer to the NBA ($5 billion). Clearly, "poor" and "distant" no longer apply. And for that, the NHL has to thank its legions of devoted and deep-pocketed fans. Despite lengthy lockouts and jacked-up prices, hockey fans have shown they can take a significant amount of abuse. Just like those dasher boards. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned. Follow @DrD This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV