The concept of video games pitting the NHL in opposition to the Kontinental Hockey League will at all times generate fan curiosity. Opposite to fashionable perception, the 2 leagues aren’t truly direct opponents, although. Within the hockey world, there’s greater than sufficient room for each.
KHL vs. NHL?
Granted, hypothesis over potential conferences between groups from the respective leagues has ramped up not too long ago with the NHL reaching an settlement to broadcast video games in Russia. From KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko’s perspective, it merely boils right down to logistics.
“When the NHL finishes [the Stanley Cup Final], our gamers have already been [done their season] for one and a half months,” stated Chernyshenko in a candid assembly from one of many KHL’s a number of workplace areas in Moscow.
Dmitry Chernyshenko – (Picture courtesy picture.khl.ru)
“When [NHL players] end, KHL gamers are coming again to start out the preseason [in July/ August]. The one alternative that we actually see is that as a substitute of all-star video games in the course of January we manage one thing. It’s an issue with the calendar, nothing else. We might find it irresistible.”
Nonetheless, it could simply be one theoretical recreation in a packed calendar. The KHL has its personal schedule, its personal market, and its personal rabid fanbase. Any argument hypothesizing the KHL is chasing the NHL’s stage of success instantly contradicts the apparent: The NHL has its followers, nevertheless it fights tooth and nail to remain within the dialog as one of many prime 4 main sports activities leagues within the States.
In sharp distinction, in Russia, hockey and the KHL by affiliation are in little hazard of fading away. Admittedly nonetheless second to soccer when it comes to reputation, hockey is nonetheless so engrained within the tradition that there’s at all times going to be an urge for food for it, rating most likely someplace between vodka and caviar.
“Russia is a hockey nation,” Chernyshenko stated proudly. “It’s in our blood.”
KHL in Agency Management of State of affairs
In truth, it may be argued the NHL has an inherent advertising downside, with some work to do embracing analytics, amongst different points. Regardless that they’ve taken steps to implement puck and player-tracking expertise, the KHL is within the means of perfecting it. This season, the KHL turned the primary league to deploy an automatic platform and make obtainable to its golf equipment all of the real-time information tracked therein, together with puck and participant speeds and shift-specific statistics.
The probabilities are countless from a fan perspective and that of the league itself, monetarily talking. Sportsbooks trying to make the most of prop betting on who had the toughest shot in a recreation or which participant reached the quickest velocity? Simply certainly one of a number of enormous income streams within the making.
Dmitry Chernyshenko awards the Gagarin Cup to Pavel Datsyuk and then-SKA St. Petersburg teammate Ilya Kovalchuk – (Picture courtesy picture.khl.ru)
Admittedly, the NHL gaining broadcast rights in Russia will be seen as a serious coup, however not essentially an infringement on KHL territory. It’s akin to the Swedish Hockey League hypothetically trying to enhance its publicity in Finland. There’ll at all times be followers, many concentrated near the border, however they’re two totally different cultures in international locations with a historic rivalry. Patently absurd.
Now take that border and place a whole continent and ocean between the 2 international locations. Add in seven time zones (a minimum of) and NHL video games that broadcast at the hours of darkness for good measure. Put merely, the obstacles in entrance of the NHL coming into Russia are better than people who the NHL in Russia pose for the KHL.
The idea is easy: the KHL needn’t fear… on a number of fronts. Not solely is it a false impression that the KHL is solely Russian—it has groups spanning six international locations—however the league broadcasts in 34 international locations itself, rising its revenue margin in every of the seasons Chernyshenko has been on the helm, after ending within the purple underneath predecessor Alexander Medvedev.
So, the NHL including a single nation to its secure is a veritable drop within the bucket. It definitely gained’t damage the NHL, nevertheless it doubtless gained’t damage the KHL both; It would merely reinvigorate its efforts to up its recreation. And that’s saying loads. These efforts are already in full pressure.
The KHL Will get a Wage Cap
Certainly, the KHL has discovered renewed stability underneath Chernyshenko courting again to the beginning of his tenure as president in 2014. Virtually as if he have been an NHL common supervisor with a five-year plan for fulfillment, the KHL will introduce a tough wage cap for 2020-2021, after his fifth full season on the job. This after member golf equipment got time to transition, from the purpose at which he got here on. Then that they had a cap too, however an excessively excessive, fiscally irresponsible one, although. Since then, there’s been an ever-decreasing smooth cap paired with a luxurious tax.
The projected ₽900 million (~$14 million) new exhausting cap is 30% decrease than what it had been earlier than Chernyshenko began (ignoring the risky trade price). It’s an enormous distinction, with the NHL’s rising by simply over 1 / 4 from the identical place to begin thus far. It’s a distinct scenario, although. The decrease KHL cap is projected to assist enhance parity throughout the league when at one level there had been a payroll distinction of an element of eight between the richest and poorest KHL groups.
Dmitry Chernyshenko – (Picture courtesy picture.khl.ru)
So, clearly the KHL has its issues, nevertheless it acknowledges and is getting a deal with on them. The league additionally acknowledges the NHL for what it’s: a distinct product and model, one which’s undeniably nice, simply not a competitor, although. If the 2 have been to ever meet, it could be in regards to the grand spectacle of all of it… not the result. Everybody wins there.
“The KHL is a rising product, whereas the NHL has a construction that has traditionally labored properly for a protracted time frame,” stated Chernyshenko, arguing the 2 manufacturers should not meant to be in comparison with each other.
“We’re not making an attempt to repeat the NHL. Slightly, we need to make league with unique options that might enhance the recognition of hockey in Russia and different Asian and European international locations. General, each leagues are selling ice hockey as a sport beloved by tens of millions of followers everywhere in the world.”