What Are the Financial, Logistical Ramifications of NHL Coronavirus Suspension? An Expert Weighs In

March 18, 2020 – Media Mention

Irwin Kishner, co-chair of Herrick's Sports Law Group, was interviewed by on the logistical and financial challenges facing the NHL in light of suspending the 2019-2020 season due to the outbreak of coronavirus.  

Kishner noted that there are a number of "polycentric-related issues" associated with the suspension of play including "the resumption of season vantage to financial aspects to health and safety of the players and the fans and everybody else that is involved with putting on an NHL game." Kishner noted that "the sports business in total, has really stepped up in a very meaningful way to just say, ‘Look, we understand that we may be America’s or the world’s pastime, but at the end of the day, the health and safety of our players and our players’ families and our fans and our fans’ families and everyone else has to be paramount.'”

Kishner also discussed the hurdles that the NHL will face with scheduling games if the NHL does resume the season. Most of the venues have multi-purpose uses and while these stadiums are very efficient, it takes time, expertise and staff to ready the stadium for a game.

Kisher noted that he was confident teams and the league would be able to manage the financial ramifications of postponed and canceled games noting that "most teams have plenty of long-term financial deals, from TV to advertising to other sponsorships that will help." Moreover, most teams have a good credit facility that will help weather this level of disruption. With respect to the possibility of extending players' contracts in the event that the NHL has to extend play into the summer and beyond, Kishner is also confident that the players, the league office, the Commissioner's Office and the NHL Players Association will be able to reach an agreement.