[Ed. note: NSFW: language]
The NHL was never more popular in Europe than in the fall of 2011. The NHL launched their official European language site and GameCenter Live was made available for international viewers, but the bigger news was the havoc regarding NHL TV rights in Europe– from UK to Russia.
It was the perfect time for the Swedish betting company Oddset to launch their “Let Europe Watch” campaign, whose mission is to make NHL weekend games watchable for European countries. The spokesman for the movement? NHL legend Peter Forsberg.
It’s hard to watch NHL hockey over here [Ed note: Fedor lives in Moscow]. Consider that most NFL games start in the afternoon, the NBA has at least 4-6 games during “watchable” times during the weekend, and baseball has those early games even on weekdays. But the NHL? They’ve got maybe 3 or 4 afternoon games each week. And the NHL may have more Europeans than any other American professional league – only 76.6% of the NHL players in 10-11 season were born in Canada or the US.
7PM EST is 12PM in the UK, 1AM in central Europe, and 3-4AM here in Russia. Those are the three biggest European hockey markets. But 1PM would be 6, 7, and 9-10 respectively.
Why would this work for the NHL? Having a large, solvent fanbase in an entirely different market would give the NHL a little extra economical security– a safety cushion in these economically-challenging times.
I’m grateful to Sweden for starting the campaign. Somebody should’ve done this already, and Sweden was a perfect fit. They have the third most NHL players (6.4%). So now 22,609 signed letters are on their way to the NHL’s headquarters in New York. Hopefully the message will be received, and changes will be made soon.
You can like the “Let Europe Watch” campaign on Facebook. Sharing is caring. Thank you.