Five months before the 2012 NHL lockout began, the League boasted about being on pace for record total revenues for a seventh straight year. Projecting over $3.2 billion, it was, according to the League, a 195 percent increase in about a decade.
Between sponsorships, the success of the Winter Classic and television ratings, you can see why the money was/is rolling in.
Big NHL revenues also means big money for its employees, with Commissioner Gary Bettman being atop of that list as League leader.
According to Chris Botta of Sports Business Journal, Bettman's salary for the fiscal year ending June 2012 reached the highest of his tenure at $8.3 million, according to a most recent tax filing.
(This is certainly why Bettman is smiling in the photo above.)
(That, and meeting Lisa Leslie.)
But while Bettman's total compensation has continually increased over time, it's still nowhere near his counterparts in the other major sports leagues.
By comparison, the salary of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is close to $30 million, according to that league’s most recent tax return. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, whose salary is no longer publicly available through tax filings, is believed to make more than $20 million annually. NBA Commissioner David Stern’s salary has never been made public. [Ed note: SBJ reported it to be around $10 million in 2008.]
Bettman’s base salary for the 2011-12 season was $6,395,521. Payment defined as other compensation was $1,816,628. He also received $65,795 in deferred compensation and $28,800 in benefits.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly ($3,263,004) and NHL COO John Collins ($2,917,751) saw nice raises, while senior EVP of hockey operations Colin Campbell's salary ($1,684,698) decreased since the end of 2011's fiscal year.
So where would the Commissioner rank among the NHL player salaries? Here, via CapGeek, are the top 15 2013-14 salaries with Bettman right in the middle:
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators $14 million
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins $12 million
Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild $12 million
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild $12 million
Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes $9.25 million
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals $9 million
Brad Richards, New York Rangers $9 million
Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner $8.3 million
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins $8 million
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning $8 million
Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks $7.9 million
Rick Nash, New York Rangers $7.8 million
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks $7.65 million
Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings $7.6 million
Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings $7.5 million
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins $7.5 million
When the league does well, everyone does well. Until the next lockout, then, well, we know what happens then.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy