The NHL’s World Cup of Hockey reboot, rumored for Sept. 2016 in Toronto, is a business decision wrapped up in the flags of several nations. It’s a way for the NHL to create an ATM machine of a tournament, spitting out money to the League and its players in ways that the Winter Olympics never could or will.
How much are we talking about here? Abraham D. Madkour, the executive editor of Sports Business Journal, thinks it’s a tournament with some risks but with some very palpable rewards:
You can see why the league is bullish about re-creating the World Cup, which sources believe has the ability to generate more than $100 million in revenue for the league and players, and it’s revenue that sits outside of the league’s definition of Hockey Related Revenue, meaning the 50/50 joint venture would be split.
And that, friends, is why players would be OK with facing their own nations on “Cut Team” or “YoungStars” teams …
Madkour’s piece gets into some of the problems the NHL has had with the IOC regarding its Olympic participation. In essence, it seems everyone gets to promote their brand except the NHL:
In a recent interview in Toronto, Bettman was asked why global sponsors pay hundreds of millions of dollars to be associated with the Olympics, yet the NHL seems nonplussed by it. “They [sponsors] get to market and promote their association with the Games,” he said. “We have to fight to get access to footage of our players playing in the Olympics. At one time, we even had to fight to get access to a press availability I was having. They’ve loosened it up a little bit, but face it, if you’re a TOP sponsor, you get to market and promote your brand. We don’t.”
Madkour doesn’t see it as an “either/or” for the World Cup vs. the Olympics, and it isn’t, especially when NBC has the Olympic rights. The players will do this for the money, but essentially it’s a preseason tournament that exists not for glory but for treasure.
The Olympics are always going to be more meaningful to them, no matter their nationality. Not only because of the legacy of the Winter Games, but because the World Cup of Hockey doesn’t exactly offer the same once-in-a-lifetime Olympic Village experience as the Games do. I mean, they’re all a little more familiar with Toronto than they are Pyeongchang. And the Australian snwoboarders aren't going to be there either.