Originally Posted by DivineLegion
I thought some of the Russian leagues paid pretty well. At least a European league would generate more interest on an all inclusive base. The NHLs obsession with southern markets is ridiculous. Two teams in Florida? 06' cup finals I was at the RBC center for the first Edmonton game, and after Edmonton scored I heard a guy behind me scream " kill em dead"; that's southern Hockey fans. The overall fan base has grown exceptionally well in Raleigh, but it's still a struggling market. Peter Karmanos and Jim Rutheford had a self imposed cap 10 million below the cap until this year, because the Canes couldn't afford to be competitive in the free agent market. At least you could find a base of Hockey interested markets in Europe, and build off of what is already in place. So far every NHL game played in Europe has been sold out. Finland, Germany, Russia, Sweeden, Switzerland, and The Chech Republic are all primed for the foundation of a Eurocentric hockey league.
The Russian league pays stars pretty well because they pay no taxes and have very low expenses comparatively, but it is largely a money pit driven by Russian oil tycoons.
There is no infrastructure in terms of TV deals or even TV markets that would allow for a pan European league, the strength of the North American market is that 1 TV deal can cover everything - if you created a league with say 4 Swedish, 2 Finnish, 3 German, 2 Czech and 5 Russian teams you would need at least 5 national TV deals and with them sponsorships, you would need to sell the league to other nations including Denmark, Slovakia, Latvia, Switzerland and Norway as well.
I agree that the focus on getting into large TV markets in Florida, California, Phoenix, Dallas, Atlanta have really created a tiered situation and looking at the attendence problems of teams like the Islanders, Coyotes and Panthers really shows how important it is to catch up those small markets.
The NHL really needs to revamp the revenue sharing model, right now the big teams like Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, Detroit and Montreal are knee deep in cash while the small market teams, even the successful ones like Nashville are really struggling and taking losses. The idea of the last CBA was to create competitive balance to increase the value of the small market teams and it has worked, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Anaheim have taken home championships and the overall value of the league has inreased a lot including some sweet new TV deals. The next step has to be to share revenue to solidify the league - right now Phoenix, Dallas, New Jersey and last year Atlanta and fairly recently Tampa Bay have been in ownership limbo.
The owners have tried to redefine hockey revenue in a way that would allow the big market teams to push profit into those streams which would reduce the salary cap and the players compensation - Donald Fehr didn't go for it and has instead been pushing revenue sharing like the models used in NFL and NBA.