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.
Each week at ProHockeyTalk we’ll have NBC on NHL’s Mike Milbury answers your questions on Ask The Expert to put you at ease with what you’re wondering about what’s going on in the NHL.
This week, Mike sits down with Tiffany Simons and answers your questions about the Philadelphia Flyers and whether or not he thinks they can win the Stanley Cup this year. Mike also tackles questions about whether the Winter Classic should have more than one game per season and more of his thoughts on hits to the head.
On a day that’s usually left off for the Super Bowl to take all the sports headlines, NBC’s Game of the Week will have a super clash of their own as the combatants from this year’s Winter Classic face off once again. On February 6 at 12:30 p.m. ET it’ll be the Pittsburgh Penguins squaring off with the Washington Capitals from Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
When these two met up last on the outdoor rink at Heniz Field, the Capitals were able to spoil the evening for the hometown Penguins coming away with a 3-1 win thanks to the efforts of unheralded forward Eric Fehr. In that game we also saw Pens captain Sidney Crosby get dinged up thanks to a collision with Capitals forward David Steckel. Will payback be on the mind of the Penguins as they square off with their heated rivals? Perhaps so, but at the least, we’ll see another intense game between these two top Eastern Conference squads.
The Capitals are led by captain Alex Ovechkin while the Penguins will hope to have their captain Sidney Crosby back on the ice in time to try and spoil the afternoon on Ovechkin’s home turf. It’s only fitting that two of the NHL’s most popular teams get to face each other on Super Sunday and give the NBC national audience a chance to revisit these two just a month after their epic showdown in front of 68,000-plus fans in Pittsburgh.
Doc Emrick, Ed Olczyk, Mike Milbury, and Pierre McGuire will all be on hand to bring you the action at 12:30 p.m. on NBC. With how these two teams are continuing to go through their own ups and downs in terms of success and injuries, the table is set for yet another dramatic reunion between these teams.