Bettman pointed to the league’s season ticket renewal rate, which at 83 percent is above this time last year, as a sign of the league’s health. He said he expects season ticket sales for the coming year to be “at least at high as last year’s levels.”

Game seven of the Stanley Cup Final captured the biggest NHL audience in 36 years.

Advertiser interest was evident in the most recent Winter Classic game, which saw more sponsors and more money spent than in 2008, Bettman said. The game, at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, sold out all of the nearly 41,000 tickets in less than an hour.

Bettman declined comment on either of the team’s financial situations.

Gary Bettman was paid $7.1 million in salary and benefits for the 2007-08 season, according to league tax filings and reported by Sports Business Journal.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, Bettman earned $4,197,694 from the NHL and $2,911,550 from NHL Enterprises, the league’s business arm, according to the report. The total package represents a 27-percent raise over the previous season and the highest level of compensation Bettman has received in 16 years as commissioner.


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