Trouble on Ice
By Jesse Freund

(Business 2.0) – The National Hockey League lost a whopping $273 million in 2003 as revenues plunged and TV ratings fell to the level of bowling and arena football. In desperation, the NHL agreed to a deal earlier this year that granted NBC broadcast rights for free, with any cash coming from shared advertising income. Meanwhile, salaries--which now average $1.79 million per player--consume 75 percent of league revenues. With owners seeking "cost guarantees" to stanch the bleeding, a lockout may occur when the players' collective bargaining agreement expires on Sept. 15. If the upcoming season is delayed or canceled, the NHL as we know it could face extinction.