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NHL Should Capitalize on Olympics

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Gary Bettman is an idiot.

The commissioner of the NHL is threatening to prevent the league’s players from participating in the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia because the NHL has not received any bump in interest or revenues due to Olympic exposure.

Bettman was the captain of the sinking ship as they went through two work stoppages - the last one that cancelled an entire season - and expanding the league too quickly to the point of dilution. Bettman was in charge when the NHL got television contracts with a dying broadcast network and a niche cable channel that was most noted for airing Lance Armstrong riding his bicycle. Bettman was in charge during the dead puck era from the late 1990s until the lockout in 2004 that saw scoring plummet lower than the stock market did in 2008.

However with the Olympics, the interest in hockey in America has seen a huge uptick. The gold medal game drew a 17.6 rating with a 33 share in the overnight ratings according to Sports Business Daily, the highest rated hockey game since 1980. It beat every World Series game since 2004, every NBA Finals game since 1998 and every Final Four game since 1998. Basically the ratings have been up around 50% from the 2002 Salt Lake games and 2006 Torino games.