I'm all for expanding the market and in Japan, baseball and football(soccer) is pretty huge, with basketball trailing behind. Hockey has a pretty small fanbase.
What I don't think is viable is the targeting of 'otaku'. I mean, seriously? What will make them change their mind from watching teeny girls in skimpy outfits battling giant robots in space(slight emphasis here) to watching big burly men on skates fighting for a black rubber disc.
Unless they make hockey players moe, well, I think another target would be....more realistic.
edit: Hmmm, link is blanked out, just going to copy paste. However, if this isn't allowed here(I'm assuming due to the censor), Mods feel free to delete this.
NEW YORK - National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed Wednesday rumors that the League Office is considering a partnership with several Japanese Animation studios which could be in place effect as soon as next season.
In a short written statement released to the press, Bettman reaffirmed his commitment to raise sagging revenues and reinvigorate fanbases in the NHL, which has struggled to compete with other professional leagues in recent years.
"Everything we do is with one goal in mind - preserving and propagating the great sport of hockey, seeing that the best players in the world get the recognition they deserve, and thrilling the fans," said Bettman.
The statement comes on the heels of the leaking of documents, including drafts of preliminary contracts, regarding negotiations between the animation studios and the NHL, to the Bleacher Report. Bettman tried to alleviate speculation that a deal was close, saying, "[t]he reported negotiations are part of what is only one of a plethora of options on the table. Nothing is set in stone."