Bettman earned $9.6 million in 2013-14 season

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman earned more than $9.6 million in salary in benefits during the 2013-14 season, according to the league’s U.S. tax filings, as first reported by Sports Business Journal on Monday.

Bettman, 63, earned approximately $800,000 more in 2013-14 compared to the previous season. His compensation for 2012-13, which included the full lockout-shortened season, was $8,854,610.

For comparison, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell earned $44 million in 2012 and $35 million in 2013. Former MLB commissioner Bud Selig reportedly earned $14.5 million back in 2006.

The NFL, like the NBA and MLB previously, dropped their tax-exempt status in 2014, which means they no longer must publicly file financial information. That leaves the NHL as the only major professional sport in North America still tax-exempt.

Bettman’s $9.6 million figure included salary, deferred compensation, other compensation and nontaxable benefits. His base salary was listed at $9,490,438, according to the filing.

Only four NHL players earned more than Bettman during the 2013-14 season: Shea Weber($14M), Sidney Crosby ($12M), Ryan Suter ($12M) and Zach Parise ($12M), according to

The NHL employed 669 people during the 2013-14 season. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly was the next highest earner at $3.1 million, up from $2.98 million in 2012-13.

As a whole, the NHL reported a loss of $8.47 million for the fiscal year, but the figures do not include team-related business or revenue from NHL Enterprises or NHL Network, which do not require tax-exempt public filings. In this filing, the NHL reported $124.4 million in operating revenue, compared to the approximate $3.7 billion the league generated overall.

During the 2013-14 NHL season, the NHL spent nearly $20 million in legal services on four different firms.

Last week at the PrimeTime Sports and Entertainment conference in Toronto, Bettman said he had no plans to retire any time soon. He has been the NHL’s commissioner since Feb. 1, 1993. Under his watch, annual league revenues have grown from $400 million to a projected $4 billion this season.

“That’s not on my radar screen,” Bettman said of retirement.

High-ranking 2013-14 salaries reported in the NHL’s filings, as per Sports Business Journal:

Gary Bettman (commissioner): $9,617,464
Bill Daly (deputy commissioner): $3,121,594
John Collins (chief operating officer): $2,209,569
Colin Campbell (senior EVP, hockey operations): $1,620,004
Craig Hartnett (chief financial officer): $1,279,276
David Zimmerman (EVP, chief legal officer): $951,006
Joseph DeSousa (EVP, finance): $742,274
David Proper (EVP, media distribution): $602,922
Stephen Walkom (SVP, director of officiating): $547,955

All figures are in U.S. dollars.


Frank Seravalli (TSN)

Photo: The Canadian Press