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The Business of the NHL As Hockey's Popularity Slips In U.S.

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Welcome to the latest episode of Full-Court Finance, the podcast from Zacks Investment Research focused on the intersection of sports, business, and the stock market. This week, with hockey’s biggest stars set to take to the ice this weekend in Tampa Bay during the Honda (HMC - Free Report) NHL All-Star Game, we dive into the business of the NHL as the sport’s popularity in the U.S. begins to waver.

Hockey might be the most expensive sport to play in the U.S., giving it the biggest barrier to entry. This has hurt the NHL’s popularity as it loses fans every year. But it’s not all bad for the biggest hockey league in the world.

The NHL just kicked off the first year of a jersey deal with Adidas (ADDYY - Free Report) . What’s more, the league’s new expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, have dominated in their first season in the brand new T-Mobile Arena (TMUS - Free Report) .

The NHL’s salary cap is also on the rise and team valuations are up—with four franchises valued at $1 billion or more. On top of that, NBC (CMCSA - Free Report) spends billions to broadcast the league. Canadian broadcast giant Rogers Communications’ (RCI - Free Report) national TV rights deal nearly doubles its U.S. counterpart’s on a yearly basis. And the NHL also recently secured a contract with Disney’s (DIS - Free Report) streaming firm BAMTech.

Still, despite the NHL’s substantial TV deals, both local and national TV ratings sunk in the U.S. last season as the sport slips further behind its peers in terms of popularity. The company’s followers on Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) and Instagram (FB - Free Report) fall way below the NFL and NBA and even look poor compared to slumping MLB.

If you have any questions about this episode of Full-Court Finance please feel free to shoot us an email over at Please also make sure to check out all of our other podcasts at, and remember to subscribe and leave a rating on iTunes.

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