NHL Commissioner Bettman inducted into Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame
Lauded for pioneering efforts to raise hockey's profile on television, behind the scenesNHL.com @NHLdotcom
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame on Tuesday to celebrate his more than a quarter-century of raising the game's profile on television and for the pioneering work the League has done under his leadership.
"This (honor) is a testament to progress and innovations our game has made and on my 26-year journey with and through the broadcast industry -- it is really about the people I've met along the way," Commissioner Bettman said in his induction speech.
Commissioner Bettman pointed to the 10-year broadcasting and media rights deal the NHL signed with NBC on April 19, 2011 as a big step for the League.
"I became Commissioner on Feb. 1, 1993. It took almost 20 years for me -- and 81 years for our League -- to get to a place where every single Stanley Cup Playoff game was broadcast nationally in the U.S.," Commissioner Bettman said. "That occurred in 2012, and has been the case ever since, on the NBC family of networks.
"And, for all that we've accomplished over the air, on the ice and off over the last 26 years, I owe thanks to my two teams -- my NHL team, in particular deputy commissioner Bill Daly and, of course, the NHL owners… and my family, especially my wife and partner of 43 years, Shelli. I get to stand up here on nights like this because they make it possible."
The Commissioner also spoke about the NHL's massive TV presence in Canada.
"Our story there is far more imposing and required far less trailblazing," Commissioner Bettman said. "'Hockey Night in Canada' is an institution equivalent to 'Monday Night Football,' 'Football Night in America' and all of the Sunday afternoon NFL broadcasts rolled into one. During our playoffs, for almost two months, we are the No. 1 rated show in English in Canada virtually every night."
In a video shown during the ceremony, some of the top names in broadcasting discussed the impact Commissioner Bettman has had in growing the game through television and other media outlets.
Video: Bettman honored into Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame
"He was a visionary," said John Shannon from Sportsnet. "Nobody pushed high definition more than Bettman. Whether it be on satellite radio, the NHL Network, hockey is a broadcast spectacle because of Bettman."
Ross Greenburg, producer of the NHL's 24/7 all-access programming, said Commissioner Bettman was a visionary when it came to behind-the-scenes shows surrounding the League's premier events like the Winter Classic and Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"When Gary actually wanted to try and develop a 24/7-style program for the NHL, we figured we could tie it around the Winter Classic," Greenburg said. "No other league had allowed cameras into the locker room pregame, postgame or on the ice. It was a very bold move by Gary Bettman."
Commissioner Bettman was one of 11 professionals from across the industry in the 2018 induction class, which was honored during a ceremony at the New York Hilton Hotel in Manhattan. The honor comes one month after Commissioner Bettman was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 12.
"This has been a thrilling journey critical to the growth of the National Hockey League and the game of hockey,"' Commissioner Bettman said. "And it could not have been made without each and every person I mentioned tonight -- and countless more."
Joining Commissioner Bettman in the 2018 class were tennis commentator Mary Carillo, longtime NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas, sports documentarian Bud Greenspan, veteran broadcaster Jim Nantz and ESPN college basketball announcer Dick Vitale.
"I am overwhelmed by this honor and delighted to be included among this class of inductees," Commissioner Bettman said.