Chicagoans have seen first-hand the rise in hockey's popularity as the Blackhawks' fanbase has grown tremendously throughout the last few years. But that growing interest isn't only seen in the Windy City; it's been seen throughout the entire league.
Now it's paying off in big numbers.
According to a report from Chris Botta of Sports Business Journal, the National Hockey League's revenue hit $3.7 billion, also noting that Canada's new TV deal (which kicks in at the start of the 2014-15 season) will likely bring that number to $4 billion next year.
Which means the original estimate of the league's salary cap hitting at just under $70 million will actually be higher. James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail said the cap will likely be around $70.6 million next year, adding:
NHL's cap could well rise $6-million+ both this summer and next, hitting $76-million by 2015-16. Floor would be about $20-mil less.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) June 9, 2014
That's a lot of money. Plus some good timing for the Blackhawks, who are expected to re-sign Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews this offseason.