As NHL revenues have grown over the years, so has the salary for Commissioner Gary Bettman. Back in 2009, his salary with benefits hit $7.1 million. That number has only gone up, even with a lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.
According to Chris Botta of Sports Business Journal, Bettman pulled in $8.8 million in salary and benefits during the 48-game campaign, which was a half million dollar raise from the $8.3 million he earned for the fiscal year ending in June 2012. During Lockout II in 2004-05, he made $3.7 million.
Botta also notes that among the NHL’s top executives, Bettman was one of the few to see their salary rise. His two right-hand men actually saw decreases in pay.
The NHL declined to comment on the filing, which reported compensation for nine of the league’s top officers, including Bettman. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly made $2.98 million in 2012-13, according to the report. That’s down $280,000 from the prior year, with Daly having received a $400,000 increase in 2011-12. Chief Operating Officer John Collins saw a $500,000 decrease, to $2.33 million. Collins received $1.75 million in bonus and incentive compensation in 2011-12 that was tied to the league’s business growth.
On the whole, the league posted a loss for its business of $71.9 million for the lockout-shortened season versus a loss of $3.6 million the previous season. Expenses rose from $106 million to $113 million, while revenue decreased from $102.5 million to $41.2 million.
According to Botta, almost $17 million of that $71.9 million loss went toward legal services as the league worked out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Players’ Association.
So where would Bettman rank among the top-earners in the NHL for the 2012-13 season? Higher than Stamkos and right near Malkin and Ovechkin.
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators $14 million
Brad Richards, New York Rangers $12 million
Tyler Myers, Buffalo Sabres $12 million
Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild $12 million
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild $12 million
Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils $11 million
Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning $10 million
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins, $9 million
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals, $9 million
Gary Bettman, NHL $8.8 million
Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes $8.5 million
Mike Richards, LA Kings $8.4 million
Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators $8 million
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks, $8 million
Christian Ehrhoff, Buffalo Sabres $8 million
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning $8 million
Over a ten-year span, the NHL’s revenues have grown from $2.1 billion to $3.6 billion. Bettman has had a lot to do with that. From the outdoor games to new sponsorship and television deals (once the Canadian deal kicks it, that number will likely surge over $4 billion), the league is doing pretty well financially less than two years since its most recent lockout.
Bettman’s salary, of course, pales in comparison to those of his colleagues around sports. The NFL’s Roger Goodell ($44.2 million) and Major League Baseball’s Bud Selig (reportedly more than $20 million) see their leagues bring in greater revenues than hockey, which equals an even bigger smile on pay day.
But only Bettman has been put in a headlock a member for Kiss, so he's got that going for him.
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