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Revenue Sharing and North America's Major Pro Sports Leagues


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Revenue Sharing in the National Hockey League
Boston's Zdeno Chara holds the Stanley Cup

Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final

Getty Images / Bruce Bennett
The National Hockey League implemented a new revenue sharing system in the aftermath of the lockout that forced the cancellation of the 2004-05 season. About.com's hockey guide, Jamie Fitzpatrick, takes us through the basics:
  • The top ten money-making teams contribute to the pool. The bottom 15 money-making teams are eligible to collect from it.
  • The amount of money contributed by the top ten teams is set by a formula that includes a percentage of overall league revenues and some playoff revenues. The exact number isn't worked out until the season is over and all revenues have been counted.
  • For a bottom-15 team to collect a full revenue sharing cheque, it must reach at least 80% capacity in home attendance (last year that meant averaging about 14,000 per game) and show revenue growth that exceeds the league average. Missing either threshold means a cut in the share.
  • In 2010, a full share of revenue sharing was about $10 million.
  • Teams in markets with more than 2.5 million television households cannot qualify for revenue sharing. By my unofficial estimate, that means the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Flyers, Blackhawks, Ducks, Sharks, Stars, and Kings are ineligible.
It seems reasonable to expect any new NBA revenue sharing system to borrow heavily from the NHL's; there are several voices in management that own teams in both leagues, including James Dolan (Knicks/Rangers), Ted Leonsis (Wizards/Capitals), the Kroenke family (Nuggets/Avalanche) and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (Raptors/Maple Leafs). Plus, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is a protege of David Stern, having served as the NBA's senior vice president and general counsel.
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