Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

NHL commish: Bigger not always better

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If you want a new National Hockey League team, you’ll definitely need a spanking new arena, or at least one that’s been gussied up in a significant way. But that doesn’t mean it need be a super-sized arena,  Commissioner Gary Bettman said at the Reuters Global Media Summit.

“While we play to 93 to 94 percent capacity, we’d like to play to 100 percent capacity,” Bettman said. “A 15,000-16,000 seat arena might work better in some markets than a 19,000 seat arena.”

That’s promising news for Quebec City  and Winnipeg, who were  once homes to the NHL’s Nordiques and Jets respectively, and are said to be on the league’s potential expansion shortlist. Bettman told Reuters that both cities, and “even Southern Ontario” would be given a serious look if the league were to expand.

Smaller venues are becoming common in pro sports: Major League Baseball’s New York Mets and New York Yankees moved into smaller stadiums this year, and the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes have thrived since moving in 1998 to a stadium a third the size of its original home.

NHL commish takes dim view of Canadian billionaire Balsillie

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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman all but ruled out the prospect for Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie one day owning a team in the hockey league.

Balsillie, the co-CEO of BlackBerry wireless device maker Research in Motion, failed in a bid to move the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario in September when a U.S. judge blocked the attempt.

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