Today is one of the most exciting days of the hockey year for fans, but it also marks a celebration for the NHL itself. The 2010-11 season produced record-breaking business for the league for the fifth straight season, with estimates of about $2.9 billion in revenue by the end of the 2011 playoffs, according to the NHL’s press release.
There are plenty of reasons why the league keeps humming along at the bank. The 2011 Winter Classic was a slam dunk, with the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins captivating audiences even after a rain delay pushed the game into primetime. The 2011 NHL All-Star Game was a also a smash hit compared to previous years, thanks in some part to the ingenious fantasy draft.
Naturally, there were other big sponsorship deals, with the most notable moment coming with the league’s seven-year contract with Molson Coors. That mammoth contract is worth about $375 million during the span of those seven years.
It seems like the NHL achieved increases in almost every category, from sponsorships to TV ratings to merchandise and online categories. To get the lowdown regarding all the details, click here.
The NHL announced the alternate captains for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game this morning, as Eric Staal’s squad added defenseman Mike Green and forward Ryan Kesler while Nick Lidstrom’s side added forwards Patrick Kane and Martin St. Louis.
The four alternate captains will assist Staal and Lidstrom respectively, especially during the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft on Friday, January 28th. The league mandated that each group of three captains must include two forwards and one defenseman.
These additions might be especially valuable from an entertainment standpoint, as Kesler and Green should provide some personality for Staal’s side while Kane’s wise-cracking nature should spice things up for Lidstrom. Both Staal and Lidstrom can be a little dry, so the influx of quip ability will be great for a televised event.
Not that it is especially urgent, but Lidstrom’s side might end up getting the better of Staal from a pure puck perspective. Lidstrom’s a perennial Norris Trophy winner, Kane scored the 2010 Cup winning goal and St. Louis is a former Hart Trophy winner to boot.
It should be fascinating to watch the fantasy draft next Friday; these additions should make it that much more fun to see what happens.
After getting you up to date regarding NBC’s plans for the 2011 edition of Hockey Day in America, we also thought you might want to know about some of the other news regarding puck coverage.
- Versus announced today that the network will carry a substantial seven hours of coverage on the 2011 NHL All-Star Game during the weekend. The network’s coverage begins on Friday, January 28th with the Fantasy Draft, continues with the SuperSkills Competition on that Saturday (more on that later) and then the actual game on Sunday the 30th.
They also apparently plan to premiere their “Imovix replay system,” which reportedly slows down in-game action to 500 frames per second, offering replays that can “even show the rotation of a puck during a shot.”
Of course, the contest already happened as Team Orr earned a 7-1 win over Team Cherry (labeled Team “CHE” in the clips below, which is funny since Don Cherry probably isn’t a fan of a certain Che). You can read about the game here and watch highlights at the bottom of this post.