Why isn't Hockey big in Britain or France?
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10-01-2012, 08:52 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Originally Posted by
If you take into account the populations of the countries in which MLS is played compared to the population of the UK, and compare the attendances for MLS and EIHL ice hockey as a ratio drawn against the relevant populations, then EIHL ice hockey doesn't stack up too bad. Yes MLS still comes out on top but this is hardly surprising given the ease at which a spectator can become familiar with the sport, which in turn may drive their interest. I can kick a soccer ball about on just about any patch of grass near my home, how many cities in the UK even have ice rinks, let alone ice rinks featuring any ice hockey?
When the absolutely dominance of soccer in the UK as the number one team sport is taken into account and the ease by which individuals in any country can play/become familiar with it (boys in the park using hoodies as goal posts) the attendance figures for ice hockey in the UK aren't so bad.
I understand that soccer has natural advantages that contributes to its popularity. And I also understand that hockey does really well considering how many barriers are involved in playing the sport. So we're agreed there.
However, the population thing isn't really a good comparison. If NFL averages 60,000+, and EPL averages 35,000, does it mean that EPL would be averaging 200,000+ if it was the same size as the US? The clear answer is that it wouldn't. There is a limit to what leagues can average regardless of the size of the country. In the case of hockey and basketball, the main barrier is the dimensions of rinks/courts that limit arena sizes to the upper limit of 20-23,000.
Don't get me wrong, MLS is small time if we're comparing it to the Big 4 leagues, but its still further ahead than EIHL. Other than attendance, I'll cite a few other examples: its invested over $1.4B in stadiums over the past decade. Adidas sponsors MLS to the tune of $200m over 8 years. Many clubs have shirt sponsorships comparable to EPL teams. LA Galaxy for instance have a $100m 10-year local TV deal. Seattle Sounders local ratings would be in the top third in the NHL/top half in NBA. These are some things which have no comparison in EIHL.
Then again, I suppose these comparisons don't really matter as MLS/EIHL remain on the lower end of the spectrum in their respective countries.
Last edited by Mathers: 10-01-2012 at
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