NHL COO John Collins Resigns, Leaves Lasting Legacy

Last night some rather surprising news came out of the league’s head office, as they announced NHL COO John Collins was leaving his post. The news was first reported by Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick.

Here’s the full press release via NHL.com:

NHL COO John Collins Resigns, Leaves Lasting Legacy

The National Hockey League today announced that Chief Operating Officer John Collins is departing the League to pursue a new business opportunity. Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.

“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”

Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be. The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”

Collins’ Legacy

Collins’ impact gets perhaps overlooked by many fans around the NHL, but he’s been the voice at the center of a number of huge changes across the league since the 2005 lockout, including:

The 10-year broadcasting deal with NBC Sports Group reportedly worth $2 billion, around $125 million a year more than the league’s previous deal with Versus.

A seven-year sponsorship agreement with Coors worth some $375 million, at the time the biggest corporate sponsorship deal in NHL history, according to The New York Times. Under Collins the league has also struck deals with SAP, Adidas, DraftKings and GoPro.

The massive 12-year, $5.2 billion Canadian media rights deal with Rogers Coummunications, the largest media rights arrangement in NHL history.

The partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) which was said at the time to “transform the fan experience” across all digital platforms.

The expansion of the NHL Winter Classic to an annual event which also includes the NHL Stadium Series and the NHL Heritage Classic, a massive revenue boon for the league.

The Sports Emmy Award winning “HBO 24/7: Road to the NHL Winter Classic,” an expansion of the initiative he started when he was involved with the NFL’s “Hard Knocks” and “Inside the NFL.”

The revival of the World Cup of Hockey, where Collins played a crucial role in organizing the eight-team tournament set for Toronto in September 2016.

An increased NHL presence on all digital platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and the NHL Network Online, in addition to NHL GameCenter LIVE.

While not all of Collins’ initiatives have been empty-netters (such as the new “enhanced stats” on NHL.com), they have been largely credited around the league for the NHL’s rising popularity.

Since joining the NHL in 2006, the league has grown from a $2 billion industry to a $4 billion industry averaging 18% annual revenue growth and 28% annual operating profit. Not only is the league poised to top $4 billion in revenue this year, but it is forecasting it could reach $4.5 billion by 2017-18, largely on the back of Collins’ many initiatives and deals.

NHL teams have also seen a huge increase in their valuations with Collins in the fold. The Toronto Maple Leafs were valued by Forbes in 2008 at $448 million, a number that has increased to $1.15 billion this year.

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