The revenue question
A regular commenter took issue with just about every bit of info I put in this post, The search for a partner, and while I feel my assessment of the board of governors stands on its own, the one thing I've never addressed here is just how little the league has grown revenue the past three-plus years.
Or to reiterate some more colourful phrasing, the NHL "is off chasing Jerry Bruckheimer's loose change while hockey's revenue base sits at a standstill."
The league's revenue was reported to be $2.1-billion in 2003-04 the year before the lockout, and many reports had that figure at $2.2-billion using the CBA's new method of calculating revenue. And while the salary cap for the first postlockout season, 2005-06, was based on a low-ball $1.8-billion figure, NHL revenues remained relatively equal to what they had been two years earlier.
Last season, 2006-07, we heard that NHL revenue rose to about $2.32-billion, which was enough to push the salary cap up over the $50-million threshold (with help from an NHLPA-invoked boost).
It's a figure that's somewhere between $120-million and $220-million more than what the league generated three years ago, a number that when you take into account factors such as inflation, the rise in the Canadian dollar, and a large, league-wide ticket price increase last season, means the NHL hasn't really generated any new revenues.
Now, I'm no economist, but three years of inflation alone could account for as much as a $150-million increase, which would indicate the league has gained absolutely nothing in recent years. They may have even lost ground.
This post is still a work in progress, and I know Tom Benjamin's done some work on this in the past, but I'd be interested to see what others think.