Annual Revenue Of The NHL
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Annual NHL Revenue: Revenue Source & Comparison

The NHL is the biggest ice hockey league in the world, and one of the wealthiest sports leagues in North America, as the NHL revenue, is currently at $5 billion. The annual revenue of the NHL comes from the sources it counts as revenue. In this article, we will be looking at the various source of revenue in the NHL. Also, we will uncover the major revenue sources and compare the revenue of the NHL and other sports leagues.

What Is The Annual NHL Revenue For The 2022-23 Season?

Annual NHL Revenue In 2023

The annual NHL revenue for the 2022-23 NHL season is projected to be around $5.7 billion, according to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. This projection is based on the success of the 2021-22 season, with a record-breaking $5.3 billion in generated revenue. 

The NHL has recorded a fairly stable increase in revenue with every passing season. However, the exceptions are the lockout seasons in the NHL, which saw a considerable decline in the league’s Hockey Related Revenue (HRR). 

With the new sponsorship and tv deals the NHL recently signed with ESPN, there has been a substantial rise in the HRR of the NHL.

What Counts As Revenue In The NHL

Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) refers to all the activities directly or indirectly attributed to NHL games that drive the generation of money into the league. The updated Collective Bargain Agreement between the NHL and NHLPA gives a clear list of sources that are counted as NHL revenue

  • NHL Regular Season & Playoff Gate Receipts
  • Pre-Season Games
  • Special Games (International Exhibition Games, etc.)
  • NHL National, International, and National Digital Broadcasts
  • NHL Networks
  • Local Cable Television Broadcasts
  • Local Pay-Per-View, Satellite, and Other Broadcasts
  • Local Over-the-Air Television Broadcasts
  • Local Radio Broadcasts
  • Club Internet
  • Publications
  • In-Arena Novelty Sales
  • Non-Arena Novelty Sales
  • Concessions
  • Luxury Boxes/Suites
  • Club/Premium Seats
  • Fixed Signage/Arena Sponsorships
  • Temporary Signage/Club Sponsorships
  • Parking tickets
  • Rink Board Advertisments

What Does Not Count As Revenue?

There are specific revenue generators in the NHL that are not counted as Hockey Related Revenue. Therefore, they are not included in the annual revenue for a season. Also, since these sources are not recorded as HRR, they are not shared among players and are kept among the league and its owners. 

Some of the revenue sources that don’t count as HRR include:

  • Money Teams Make From Waiver Claims On Players
  • Money NHL Makes From Moving Teams And Granting Expansion Franchises
  • Revenues That Teams Receive From Operating Other Clubs, Such As AHL Affiliates
  • Fines From Players And Teams
  • Money Teams Make From Financial Transactions (Loans, Interest Income, Or Investments)
  • Sale And Leasing Of Real Estate.

NHL Revenue By Year

The table below shows the annual NHL revenue for the past ten years. The revenue increase is shown to be progressive for every NHL season, with expectations for lockout seasons. The 2022-23 season is also predicted to record the highest revenue for the NHL so far. 

However, with the new television deal with ESPN, among other recently signed NHL deals, it is projected that the NHL would see a more significant increase in its revenue. 

NHL Season Annual NHL Revenue ($ billion)
Average 4.08
Data from

The average revenue of the NHL over the past ten years is $4.08 billion. Most of the revenue from the data above has been around $4 billion, with the revenue peaking at $5 billion occasionally. 

Major Contributors To NHL Revenue Growth 

Major COntributors To The NHL Revenue Growth

Although the NHL has various means of revenue generation ranging from sponsorship to ticket and advertisement, here are some of the major sources of revenue in the NHL. 

Media And TV Deals

The NHL currently makes over $1 billion (about 20-25%) of its annual revenue from media deals with television and media companies in Canada and the United States. These deals give the broadcasting media outlet the right to air their games on their outlet. 

  • NHL TV Deal In Canada
    In 2013, the NHL and Rogers Communication had the biggest television media deal in the NHL. The media organization signed a 12-year, $5.232 billion media deal which sums up to $436 million annually for the NHL.
    Even after ten years, this remains the biggest media deal the NHL has signed. It is also the largest sports media deal in Canada.
  • NHL TV Deal In The United States
    Even though Canada has the most significant single media deal, the U.S. National TV deals the NHL signed during the 2021-22 season beating Canada. Previously in 2011, the NHL signed a 10-year media deal of about $2 billion with NBC. The breakdown of the deal came down to approximately $200 million yearly.

    However, after the agreement’s expiration in 2021, the NHL bagged two deals: ESPN and Turner Sports. ESPN signed a 7-year deal of $400 million annually, while Turner Sports signed a 7-year deal of $225 million annually.

    This eventually sums up to $625 million from media deals in the United States. 

Sports Betting

Although sports betting is a new ground the NHL is diving into, and it has shown promise to be lucrative in the long run. The NHL has signed a partnership deal with MGMSports allowing the company to use the logo of the league and its team on odd boards

The multi-year deal in 2018 is also envisioned to generate up to $216 million for the league and has recorded success with the revenue increase of the Vegas Golden Knights. 

NHL Expansion Fee

NHL Expansion Fee

The NHL Expansion fee is the monetary requirement for an ice hockey franchise to join the NHL. Expansion fees paid to the NHL are very high and could count as a significant source of revenue in the NHL if only they were counted as part of the HRR

Expansion fees are controlled by the league and are not shared with players. This is something that some players think should be renegotiated whenever there is another CBA between the NHL and NHLPA. 

The two most recent teams in the NHL: Seattle Krakens and Vagas Golden Knights, paid $650 million and $500 million, respectively, to the coffers of the NHL as an expansion fee

Game Tickets

TIcket To An Ice Hockey Game

It is not exaggerated to say more than 50% of the NHL revenues come from sales of tickets in the form of game tickets and parking tickets. The price of a ticket to a regular NHL game ranges from $30 to $300, depending on the teams and location of the game. 

Also, the price for seating locations differs as tickets for a seat closer to the ice rink are more expensive than seats at the top. This price, multiplied by the number of attendants in each arena and the 1,312 games in a regular NHL season, makes up a substantial portion of the NHL revenue.

  • Parking Tickets
    Parking tickets in NHL arenas can be as low as $15 and as high as $45 or more, depending on the NHL arena.
  • Luxury Box
    Arenas in the NHL also have what is known as a Luxury Box. These luxury boxes are exclusive suites that offer premium services and comfort to NHL players, such as food, alcoholic beverages, a personal attendant, etc.

    They are a separate accommodation for those who want comfort as they ensure the game. The price for a Luxury box in an NHL arena varies based on the arena, game type (regular, Stanley finals, All-Star Game, etc.), and the number of guests.

    These boxes may range from $2000 to as high as $22,000 or higher. Every NHL arena has these luxurious boxes in multiple locations within the arena.
  • Stanley Cup Finals
    Tickets for the Stanley Cup finals are the most expensive game tickets in the NHL. The finals comprise seven games, and the ticket to each game may range from $700-$3000 per seat. The finals game of the Stanley final (Game 7) usually has the most expensive ticket as tickets may start around $2000 up to $3000 or more. 

Licensing Royalties

The royalties the NHL earns from giving organizations the license to use its name, logo, or image on its product or promote it is another source of income for the NHL. Examples are NHL Lego characters and EA creating an NHL Video Game.  

Concessions And Merchandise Sales

Concessions and merchandise sales include money from the sales of jerseys, caps, hockey sticks, collectibles, headwear, apparel, gifts, and other souvenirs of NHL teams. 

How Does Revenue Sharing Work In The NHL

All the revenue that counts as Hockey Related Revenue in the NHL is split between the NHL and its players. According to the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHLPA, the annual revenue is split 50/50 between both parties. 

Related Topic: Are NHL Contracts Guaranteed?

The 50% that goes to the players is used to pay off their salary while the remaining percentage is used for paying the league officials, sports promotion, transportation (players and staff), arena maintenance, league operations, and much more. 

NHL Revenue Comparison

Here is a table showing the NHL, NBA, and NFL revenue data for eight consecutive years. Compared to the NBA and NFL, the revenue of the NHL is not as much as the other sports league. The revenue of the NFL consistently stood as one of the highest revenue from a sports league in the United States.

NHL Revenue Vs NBA Vs NFL Revenue (2013-2021)

Data Compiled By Cleatshub


The NHL spike in its revenue is only projected to grow over the years thanks to its new TV and media deal in the United States. With its popularity and expanding reach, the revenue of the NHL will very soon be able to compete with the likes of the NBA and NFL.

Thanks for reading.

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