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NHL projecting $5 billion in revenue

But don’t expect the salary cap to go up in a hurry.

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Today is the last of the NHL Board of Governors meetings in Florida. Gary Bettman met the media and said:

If this projection comes true, that will put the actual 2021-2022 revenues over what the forecast was from before the pandemic.

However, don’t get exciting and start planning for a rapidly rising salary cap. The CBA Memo of Understanding that is now in force requires the escrow debt the players owe the owners to be paid off before the salary cap can rise more than one million per year. This escrow debt is the shortfall in the amount deducted from the players’ salaries over the Covid-disrupted seasons. Under the 50-50 revenue sharing formula, the players were overpaid, and owe a great deal back to the owners.

There is a process in the MOU that allows the NHL and the NHLPA to accelerate that salary cap growth before the debt is fully paid, but it’s not very likely this will happen before 2023-2024 which is the first year the new formula for setting the salary cap will be put in place. That new formula uses actual revenues from prior seasons rather than projections, and it’s hoped this will cut down on overly optimistic salary caps and the attendant high escrow percentages the players really don’t like.

For now, it’s a tight cap for another year or two.

In other news: