The World Cup of Hockey seems like a distant memory now, a dustbin of Canadian superiority, funky jersey designs and a brief acknowledgment of the sport from ESPN. But there are some lingering questions about the tournament, beyond what the next edition will look like.
For example: How much did the players actually make off this preseason event?
Ken Campbell of The Hockey News found out some approximate numbers from the World Cup shares:
Each of the 184 players who was on a World Cup roster projected to be paid between $75,000 and $80,000 (U.S.), while players who spent all 186 days on an NHL roster last season will be paid about $10,000 each. Players who were not on an NHL roster for the entire season will be paid a pro-rated amount. Players who were named to World Cup rosters and were injured before the World Cup will get less than those who played, but more than those who were not named to a roster.
On top of that, players on Team Canada will split another $500,000 in prize money for winning the tournament, with an additional $500,000 going to Hockey Canada. The players on Team Europe will split $250,000 for finishing second, with another $250,000 being split among each of the European federations that made up the team, with the amount being pro-rated based on the number of players from each federation who were members of Team Europe.
Campbell estimates that “a total profit of less than $40 million is significantly lower than was projected when the event was first conceived, perhaps as much as 50 percent lower.”
The NHL indicated during the tournament that the operational costs of the event were significant. It also struggled to sell ad space on jerseys for the event: Asking for $8 million, seeking $6 million and being unable to snag a sponsor for them before settling for SAP.
Which, as you know, the NHL is already paying to help run its data services. So this is, like, a rebate, basically.
But even if it wasn’t a cash cow, it was at the very least proof of concept, and that’s really important for a tournament that had been in mothballs for 12 years. And if the NHL puts up the rights to cities to bid on, that’ll immediately increase the bottom line for the next edition, too.
So it wasn’t a blockbuster, but it was a success, and it’s not going away.
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