Gary Bettman was named Commissioner of the National Hockey League (NHL) in February, 1993. Under his stewardship, NHL revenues have grown from $400 million to more than $4 billion.
Bettman has overseen the League's expansion from 24 to 30 franchises. He made television coverage deals with Fox at $155 million for five years, followed by an ABC/ESPN five-year pact for $600 million. By 2011, the NHL TV package reached $2 billion with Comcast/NBC, plus an additional $2 billion Canadian broadcast agreement in 2013.
Among the advancements to the game under Bettman, the NHL implemented overtime and the 'shootout', which eliminate tied games. And, the introduction of a two-referee system revolutionized hockey officiating around the world. Other Bettman innovations include development and advancement of video review, which was later replicated by the National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association.
Commissioner Bettman has also focused attention on the NHL's international make-up and appeal. Since 1998, NHL players have stocked the rosters at each of the succeeding Olympic Winter Games. And, NHL games are televised in more than 160 countries in seven languages: Czech, Finnish, French, German, Russian, Slovak, Swedish and English.
Prior to his joining the NHL, Bettman was the NBA's (National Basketball Association) senior vice-president and general counsel where, in 1983, he developed the "soft salary cap" that continues in effect to this day.
Bettman was named "Sports Executive of the Year" in 2014 by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily.