IIHF President Doesn’t Believe That the NHL Could Make It in Europe

August 25th, 2010 by Steve Thompson Leave a reply »
International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel doesn't believe the NHL will be successful if it tries to set up a European branch.

Speaking at a hockey summit conference in Toronto, Fasel vowed to fight any attempt to start up a European branch of the NHL. He also claimed that the NHL doesn't have the marketing strategy to appeal to Europeans.

I beg to differ with Mr. Fasel, because he's only 50 percent right.

He's correct that the NHL doesn't have a good marketing strategy.

Trying to win a lucrative American television contract, the Gary Bettman-led league expanded into unfamiliar American markets, in hopes of making hockey a big-four American national game.

Instead, the league failed to land a big contract, and now several teams are suffering, losing money every year. Meanwhile, cities like Hamilton, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Portland, which have natural hockey markets, go without teams.

But Mr. Fasel is wrong when he says the NHL could not make it in Europe.

Fasel cites the recent demise of NFL Europe as his main example of North American failure. But he ignores the huge difference betwee ...

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