On the road with NHL chief Gary Bettman
Seeing 60 games a year keeps the league's commissioner on the go. Here's how he manages.
(Fortune Magazine) -- Going to 60 hockey games a year might sound like fun, but for Gary Bettman it's just another day at the office. In 15 years as NHL chief, he has more than quadrupled revenues to $2.6 billion, added four teams and, more recently, signed TV deals with NBC and Versus, and led the league to record attendance levels even after the 2004-05 lockout season.
But meeting with team owners, business partners and season ticket holders keeps Bettman, 55, on the road shaking hands, doing deals and catching scores on his cellphone. Fortune caught up with him in his New York office to see how he pulls it off when not on home ice.
1. Days on the road: Roughly 100.
2. Game gadgets: I track scores all the time on my handheld devices. I have a Samsung cellphone, a BlackBerry (RIM), and a Motorola (MOT, Fortune 500) Q. In my office the Q is hooked up to a Slingbox so I can watch games on the phone.
3. In the bag: I use a Tumi one-suiter for overnight, but I have a Tumi attaché case where I keep a variety of things I could need at any time: phone books for league and club personnel, official league rules, a media directory, and general manager phone numbers.
4. Dream trip: I'd like to go to Australia.
I was supposed to visit my son there when he was studying abroad, but it was in the middle of our work stoppage.
5. Jet lag tip: I leave my watch on Eastern time and I just ignore it. Sleep, when you get to a certain point in your life, becomes irrelevant.
6. Comfort food: I have an insatiable sweet tooth. Everyone knows it. If you put Hershey's Kisses anywhere near me, no matter how many there are, they will all get consumed. Frozen Milky Ways are a close second.
7. Favorite hotel: You always get a good night's sleep at any Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, or Westin. I'm not in hotels as much as I'm catnapping on an airplane.
8. In-flight entertainment: On long trips I'll have my iPod Nano and Bose headphones. I'll do classic rock - Grateful Dead, the Doors, Allman Brothers. I'm just a function of my age.
9. Beer: I drink Bud Light - and I prefer it from the tap. I probably couldn't taste the difference, but psychologically I like it from the tap.
10. Wardrobe trick: If I have to go on TV and my hotel can't do a quick suit press, I turn the shower on hot, close the door, hang up the suit, and steam it for five minutes. My suits come back to life very quickly.
12. Arena eats: The hot dogs on a toasty bun in Montreal are a fan favorite and one of mine too. You can't go wrong with the cheese steak in Philly.
13. Airline of choice: I mostly fly private, but I like the DirecTV (DTV, Fortune 500) availability on JetBlue. They also have XM Satellite Radio (XMSR). I flew JetBlue (JBLU) a couple of weeks ago, and I was listening to our games the entire flight.