If Gary Bettman was a hockey player, his 2009-10 “cap hit” would have been higher than Brian Campbell’s controversial annual average salary. The NHL’s commissioner made $7.5 million during that span, according to the Sports Business Daily, which based those numbers on the league’s tax filing. That amount represents a four percent increase in pay for the oft-criticized executive.
His 2009-10 takeaway included a base salary of more than $5.78 million, deferred compensation of more than $877K, “other” compensation of a bit more than $826K and almost $26K in benefits, according to Fred Dreier. Bettman’s salary has reportedly more than doubled since the lockout, when he was paid $3.7 million.
That being said, league revenue ballooned from $2.1 billion to an estimated $2.9 billion. Dreier also points out that Bettman’s compensation pales in comparison to many other pro sports commissioners, with MLB’s Bud Selig leading the pack by receiving more than $18 million. (That sound you heard was many baseball fans closing their laptops in anger.)
The Sports Business Journal put together this handy guide of the top 10 highest paid NHL executives from the 2009-10 season.
(Say what you will about some of Colin Campbell’s decisions, he probably deserved to be one of the league’s highest paid executives considering all the abuse he took for his suspension/fine verdicts during the last few years.)
Obviously, a lot of people will react with disgust when they hear that Bettman made $7.5 million in 09-10 (especially since it’s logical to think he made/will make more for 10-11), but it’s not outrageous compared to other league commissioners. Bettman survived the lockout and so did the league, which means that he’ll probably be around for quite some time – but hopefully not for another lockout anytime soon.
If I were him, I’d probably take a vacation around the time the 2012 Stanley Cup is handed out, though.