Sporticast: Blackhawks Hit NHL Lottery Jackpot, NFL Schedule Mania

On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams discuss some of the biggest sports business stories of the week, including the Chicago Blackhawks winning the NHL draft lottery. The team will pick first in the draft later this year, and are expected to draft Connor Bedard, one of the most hyped hockey prospects in recent memory.

The business ramifications for the Blackhawks were immediate. In the 24 hours after the lottery, the team sold more than $5.2 million in season tickets. The anticipation for his NHL debut will also likely drive corporate partnerships, free agent signings, national TV scheduling, and a whole host of other commercial metrics for the team.

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It’s also a big win for the NHL. The Blackhawks are one of the league’s “original six” franchises, and Chicago is one of the league’s most important markets. The team was headed for a significant rebuild after more than a decade and multiple Stanley Cup titles with stars like Duncan Keith (retired), Patrick Kane (traded) and Jonathan Toews (future unclear), and Bedard should accelerate that timeframe significantly.

Next the hosts talk about the NFL’s 2023 schedule, which is being released in drips over the course of the week. The league is playing its first Black Friday game—on Amazon, no less, which has helped make Black Friday an online shopping holiday—and also playing a larger slate in Europe. The schedule release also shows how successful the NFL has been at generating attention for what were once mundane announcements. Over the past few years, the release has become a critical moment for each team’s social media department, with franchises tapping celebrity fans, former stars and owners to create the most compelling announcement.

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Lastly, they talk about the latest in the Phoenix Suns television legal drama. The team recently announced its plans to abandon the RSN model for free TV next year, but Diamond Sports Holdings, its partner this past season, sued the Suns and Mercury saying that the new deals violated its contractual rights to match. A judge on Wednesday put the deal on hold pending more conversations with Diamond.

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