Oct 18, 2012, 2:35 PM EDT
Off the ice, however, it’s got a long way to go before it becomes a viable business.
That’s the gist of a Postmedia article on the Russian hockey league, which, according to author Matthew Fisher, “survives off many hundreds of millions of dollars from oligarchs whose dubious fortunes were amassed when they ruthlessly bought up huge state enterprises for a song during the brutal months that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.”
The article’s worth a read, especially the part about Metallurg Novokuznetsk, a KHL club based in Siberia that apparently has total revenues of just $500,000.
The team is so impoverished that its general manager, Leon Vaysfeld, for years a scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs, admitted he only gets a little more than halfway to the KHL’s cap floor of $8 million a year. So some teams have at least 10 times more money to spend on players as he does. The shortfall of $4 million is picked up by the local steel plant.
Yet Novokuznetsk has still managed to sign former NHLers Randy Robitaille, Brent Sopel, and Chris Simon.
Says Robitaille of the KHL:
“At this point this league is not a viable business at this point. How can it be when a good salary in a local plant in Russia is only $600 or $700 a month? To make it a real business you need to sell at least 15,000 seats and have corporate boxes and they have almost no teams with that.
“Most KHL teams are not businesses. They exist as bragging rights for the owners.”
- Sens’ Alfredsson: We probably won’t win this series 14
- Discuss: Penguins overwhelm Senators to take Game 4 47
- Report: NHLPA director Fehr wants to address issue of fighting 84
- Gillis: Vigneault fired because results weren’t there 20
- Official: Canucks fire head coach Vigneault, assistants Bowness and Brown 33
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? 99
- Playoffs Tonight: Senators confident they can beat Penguins 38
- Video: Kings denied a goal after quick whistle 29
- Tweet from L.A. Kings Twitter account stirs controversy 62
- Discuss: Sharks take Game 4, even semifinal series against Kings 15
- Discuss: Bruins rally in third, take 3-0 series lead (99)
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? (99)
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago (92)
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Report: NHLPA director Fehr wants to address issue of fighting (84)
- LeBron stuns Pacers with OT winner in Game 1
- Pens overwhelm Sens, take 3-1 series lead
- Tiger calls Sergio's comments inappropriate, hurtful
- Bears great Urlacher announces retirement
- HBT: Canseco suspect in Vegas sexual assault
- Posnanski on Golf: Sergio shows disdain for Tiger
- OlyTalk: Coach K will lead Team USA in Rio Games