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10-07-2012, 03:45 AM
  #131
saffronleaf
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Honestly, so much of what raises the profile of a sport depends on how it is presented. I mean, you look at the rise of the NBA and NFL in the US as opposed to MLB. Baseball was the largest sport in the US by far; perhaps 50 or so years ago, it was all baseball, boxing and horse racing.

Marketing, presentation and accessibility had a huge impact in changing the sports landscape. NBA and NFL did excellent marketing -- it invested in grand shows, commentators, personalities, etc. It made its stars household names. It got great TV deals, and promoted itself through movies and music. They constructed narratives for their sports. Conversely, for example, boxing went pay-per-view and started shrinking as a result. I hope the KHL has a bigger picture in mind; it might seem more tempting to ask consumers to pay to watch, but I think it's more important to get your product out there and make it a part of the mainstream culture.

The KHL could learn quite a bit. I think the KHL can really seize the opportunity here -- in Russia, hockey is already the second most followed sport. So while it is popular, it still has a lot of room for growth. In some of the other countries, like Latvia, it is the most popular sport. Obviously the KHL has a lot that it can learn directly from the NHL. But beyond that, it can learn quite a bit from other successful sports leagues.

These early years will be important for the league.

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