Why isn't Hockey big in Britain or France?
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07-07-2013, 09:41 PM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Manchester, England
I've just read through all of the thread... there are a lot of non Brits commenting on why hockey isn't popular in Britain.. how you know I have no idea. Looking on IIHF and checking rink numbers/player numbers doesn't mean anything. As mention Latvia is a perfect example. The Latvian league is basically Amateur/Semi-pro if you are lucky yet they are one of the best hockey nations with just ~2.5m people. Yeah they have Dinamo Riga but even Dinamo can only have so many players on their roster... Denmark are better then GB, Norway are. Now the Norwegian league is probably on par with the EIHL - yet Norway are an Elite level nation...
Concerning France i'm sure hosting the IIHF World Champs will bring hockey into the public view. As for GB we refused to host an IIHF event because of costs ect...
We have many problems. Football/soccer isn't the problem really. Just because one sport is big doesn't mean people don't like anything else. Hockey here needs a lot more advertising and marketing. The Manchester Storm did what they did (fill the MEN arena as mentioned almost 18k, get into European Competition and beat/drew with Sparta Prague/Dynamo Moscow ect) because they had money behind them and they put the word out. People always complained that the Storm used to give away tickets to businesses.. surely a good move? if you give 500 away and 200 people keep coming back it's paying off.
I feel for the Londoner who misses his pro hockey too. I go to the Manchester Phoenix now not because I want to but because I have too. When the Storm fell, so did Ice hockey in Manchester, the Phoenix came back in the EIHL but some people (me included) can't forget the days of the MEN and the big time, it's hard to remember the Storm then go sit in Altrincham, paying more then the Storm was watching some kids play who, if I had a few months spare time to train, I could be just as good as.
The leagues are a joke here too. EIHL - EPL - NIHL. It's a waste having these 'compete' and is very stupid. The EIHL is the top. The others should accept this and work together to form better relationships. We need some form of affiliate system so the players work up to the big league. Instead we get lazy Brit players who demand way too much money and they know they can. Next point..
British players - they need to move abroad for us to get better. Look at Ben O'Connor, Rob Dowd. They need to copy these and not just sit on their local team taking away 1 a place and 2 all their money. Take a chance.
Fans. Are very very annoying. I love hockey, but even I feel outcasted by this strange breed of 'ice hockey is only for us' group who support each team. It's as if they don't want 'non hockey' fans at the games, learning the game ect. More fans = better for everybody.
Other things I noticed reading...
American Football is in fact very popular in this country. Go look on the league's home page. Its run very well and is of a good standard. Some teams get hundreds of fans attending games and it's all amateur! The NFL get's almost 2 full days of viewing time on Sky Sports when the season is on, as well as Normal TV showing a live game and the Superbowl being on National TV.
Cricket is not a big sport in this country. Just because people watch the ashes doesn't make it 'big' Cricket teams struggle and have no attendances. More people watch ice hockey per year then Cricket. Almost every cricket team survives on hand outs from England Cricket Board and they are having to take action to ensure it all doesn't go bust.
Handball probably is the worlds number 2 sport believe it or not. Go take a look at the spectator numbers and TV numbers especially.
According to the IIHF. Attendance Europe wide for Ice hockey is around 43m per year.
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