Thread: KHL= New WHA?
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07-13-2013, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by VinnyC View Post
I'm pretty sure the world is OK with a few teams dominating football. It hasn't exactly damaged the sport's popularity by any stretch of imagination.

As a matter of fact, if a sport is trying to appeal to a global audience, it's a good thing if there are only a few teams who can compete year in and out. It makes overseas fandom a lot easier to get organized and develop rivalries in these places as well - case in point, Real vs Barcelona; Bayern M. vs Borussia; EPL's Big 4, etc.

Keep in mind North American sports fans emphasize parity because the North American major leagues' model of one competition, one cup means every team's objective is to make it to the playoffs and win the Cup, period. There are no single-game elimination tournaments. There are no regional competitions. There are no trophies for every professional team in the sport to compete in. There is no inter-league play. It's all about the NHL, MLB, NFL and NBA regular season and playoffs, that's it.

It doesn't work that way elsewhere in the world. If a team doesn't win the EPL, it's OK - there's the Champions/Euro League. The FA Cup. The Football League Cup. The Football League Trophy. Fighting against relegation is a battle in itself. Other teams can cherish promotions. In other countries, you have prestigious state and regional competitions on top of cups. Even if the team doesn't win anything meaningful, the history and traditions of sports clubs mean beating the **** out of rivals can make an otherwise bland season great. There are so many battles to be won, it isn't as big of a deal if a club can't hang with the billionaires.

The IIHF would be stupid to institute a worldwide cap. Russian billionaires ponying up for superstars means NHL owners would have to do the same and force them to eliminate the NHL cap, and more money would go into the sport.
It's an abosolutely massive issue if teams can't hang with the billionaires. Put into perspective the gap between The Premiership and The Championship is getting larger, meaning those smaller teams have to make bigger financial sacrifices to attempt to survive and thats without any guarantee it will work. And then there's a huge gap between the rest and the Top 4. To say that no one cares about that is ridiculous. The last team to break into that select group was Manchester City. How did they do it? Something about the Saudi Royal Family getting involved. I'm a fan of Portsmouth FC, a team that were doing so well but financially completely unsustainable without the riches of a foreign owner. Owner in prison, bam 5 years later we're in League 2 four division below where we once were, all because we were chasing and attempting to compete with the top teams. It is a complete fallacy to suggest that other teams don't care, they do and often bemoan the power these teams have. What I'm trying to get at here is the dangers of irresponsible foreign investment (okay Paul Holmgren hasn't exactly been a beacon of fiscal perfection) and how in a lot of ways it destroys what in a lot of ways sport is all about.

My concern for the NHL is that it will not be able to compete with the KHL in the future when it comes to financial resources. It doesn't look bad now, but give it a decade, maybe two and then there will be genuine problems. Again I don't mind the KHL being a great league and would hope the two leagues could come up with a world series or something like that but what I don't want to see is the soul of the sport ripped out to the highest bidder. I've seen it happen first hand and it is honestly awful. The only competitions that actually matter are the domestic league title and the Champions League, you don't really care about the cups until the Semis.

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