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Bettman is grateful and excited about early ratings

Jan 23, 2013, 7:52 PM EDT

Gary Bettman AP

By just about any standard, the ratings and turnout for the NHL’s return have been impressive. Gary Bettman expressed relief and delight regarding early post-lockout successes to the Sports Business Daily on Wednesday.

“We could be hopeful all we wanted, but we didn’t take anything for granted,” Bettman said. “We are grateful and we are excited.”

The NHL’s long-standing commissioner credited fan outreach programs and discounts (the Ottawa Senators gave out free beer, for instance) as a big reason for the bounce back.

“We really thought that it was most important initially that the fans reconnect with their teams,” Bettman said. “We took out ads in every market nationally in Canada and the U.S. But we thought it was more important initially that all of our efforts be focused on backstopping the clubs as they reached out.”

It’s probably wise that he didn’t trot out his “greatest fans in the world” line again, though.

  1. puckdog - Jan 23, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Really? One story I could have done without….

  2. steelers88 - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    In the picture it looks like Bettman’s at a birthday party.

  3. thailer35 - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    I’ve got two words for you, sir. Middle. Finger.

    Technically only one word in sign language.

  4. gbar22 - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Wow such poignant and insightful comments please do continue with your ever original commissioner bashing remarks. We are all so enthralled by your remarks.

    • bennywuh - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      shut up crosby

  5. phipfwe76 - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Good for him. Now he can go suck an egg.

  6. sampulls - Jan 23, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    We all knew this would happen.
    Same thing as the nfl after the lockout.
    Everyone missed watching.

  7. soj83 - Jan 23, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    i keep tuning into the NHL games to watch Bettman and the owners, but they keep showing the players…what is up with that

  8. bluesfanman - Jan 23, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    and this is news? This guy must go. He’s a lightening rod for all the hate that goes with 3 lockouts in a decade. No other professional team has done this.

  9. gbditka - Jan 23, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    How many lives/careers were affected by the lock out by those who support the NHL and rely upon it as an income source. Although I don’t fall into this category, Gary Bettman failed in so many ways as the Commissioner to the owners, players & fans buy yet still holds his position!

  10. gbar22 - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    I find it rather comical how most fans like to proclaim that bettman is this horrible man who ruined the sport over and over again. They claim they want a new face except there is a problem to this logic and that is fans in every single sport hate their commissioner. No matter who it is people are always going to hate the man in charge. People hate bosses. Take Bud Selig and all of baseball’s growth under him not to mention the labor peace and people still proclaim he is the worst thing to happen to baseball since the white sox scandal. Of course the facts completely refute these erroneous claims but no one seems to care they just hate the boss. As far as lockouts go its a business at the end of the day and a business cannot thrive without a proper working arrangement between employer and employee and what makes this more complicated is it’s the entertainment business where the players are the product as well as the employee. Lockouts and strikes will continue to occur over our lifetimes and fans have to have the maturity to set aside their raw irrational emotional feelings and just accept the business side of the sport. I understand this is a near impossibility with fans as the very nature of fandom defies most logical principles. When Bettman retires the very same fans who hated him will hate the next guy just as much. It’s a never ending cycle and some people just cannot be pleased.

  11. mjasper24 - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    Gary Bettman can shampoo my crotch.

  12. woodstakes - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    While I agree with many of the sentiments here… I have a few questions for all of you who are complaining… Are you attending games? Are you buying merchandise? Did you buy the Center Ice Package? NHL Live?

    The reason I ask is pretty simple. You all want these lockouts to stop and yet with the only vote you have you fold it up, put it in your wallets and walk right up to the ticket office and hand it over. There is only ONE way to make them stop.. to make them realize that they can’t keep doing this.. DON’T SPEND YOUR MONEY ON THE NHL!!

    It’s pretty simple, I remember my father saying to someone who was complaining about a president back when I was a kid, my father asked him if he voted and he said no.. my father simply said “Then SHUT UP!”. IF you don’t vote than don’t complain. Moreover if you’re going to complain about the lockouts and yet you come running back after they do it.. Then SHUT UP! Because you haven’t shown them one reason not to do it, they have suffered no real loss to change their minds for next time.

    See it’s goes like this; they lockout the players, they get most everything they really wanted, they tell the fans “We are really sorry…” and the REVENUES just keep going up. So, why exactly would they change that scenario?? Until fans and a large group of them take a stand and stop spending their money on the product it will NEVER EVER EVER change. Period!

    Those of you who have seen me post all through this lockout know that I have said that I will not attend any games, buy any merchandise or any TV packages for the same amount of time they locked out the players. I made a promise to myself and I am trying to keep it. I also said that I had one thing going for me and my team is on a local network that I pay for through my cable affiliate so I do have the luxury of that (and I’m not pretending to be holy than thou), BUT I am a huge NHL fan and I like to watch games every night if possible so I usually get the Center Ice Package as well. Now, I don’t blame anyone for running back, this was a personal choice that me, my wife and the friends we usually get season tickets with decided on and we are trying to stick to it. I don’t blame people for running back, because I WANT to be there to, so badly.

    My ONLY complaint is if all the people who whine and cry about Bettman (who is just simply the whipping boy for the owners) yet don’t do anything with the only vote they have (their almighty dollar because that’s ALL they really care about is your money) then just shut up!

    ** For those who have been boycotting and are complaining obviously this does not pertain to you.**

  13. badintent - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:07 AM

    my homestay student from Japan went to a hockey game Saturday. He came home and asked me “Why are so many people acting stupid ? ” I didn’t have an answer for him.

  14. 87eatsyourmom - Jan 24, 2013 at 7:15 AM

    ratings are good cus you have hockeytown pittsburgh ripping a 19.8. meanwhile everyone else is 7 and below. true hockey town

  15. wallio - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    I cannot believe how high the ratings are. After all the calls of a “fan boycott” (which admittedly only someone as naive as Te’o would actually think would occur) ratings are through the roof! You guys realize this is only going to set up another lockout, right? I am the only one who stopped supporting the NHL? (yes I read a hockey blog, and even then not nearly as much as I used to, but the NHL makes no money off of it, so its not support. If they start to cash in, I’m out)

  16. sampulls - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    So many ignorant complaints here…..Bettman took the nhl and made it grow in revenue over the past 5 yrs. Every other major sport in North America has seen their revenue decline at the same time (save the nfl).

    Ya that man deserves to be fired (queue the dripping sarcasm).

  17. bennywuh - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    please get this guy’s ugly prick of a face off my news feed

  18. 87eatsyourmom - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    benny, be jealous that our city rules the nhl. obviously by the tv stats and superstars. we OWN you bro

  19. steelers88 - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    I like Gary Bettman he was the one who saved hockey in Pittsburgh not Mario Lemiux.

  20. mrhyperpants - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Bettman is a c*ck

  21. Jeff - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Nothing for this disgruntled fan.

  22. namriverrat69 - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    I didn’t know Resident Evil had feelings.

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