Does anyone know how many people normally watch the NHL and Stanley Cup in countries like Russia?

Discussion in 'Russia' started by Mahogony, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. Mahogony Registered User

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    I was curious how big the NHL was in Russia specifically in terms of viewership. Russia has a population of 150 million and every study I could find says that Ice Hockey is the second most popular sport in the country behind soccer. I wanted to know just how much of that popularity applies to NHL specifically given the talent of the Russian players here.

    If anyone can find viewership stats (or even just estimations) from Russia for last year's Stanley Cup Final, that would really help. Also if you happen to have the viewership for other countries like Finland, Czechia or Slovakia, that would also help. I just emphasized Russia because of the population size.

    I'd also be curious of how much of the IIHF audience watches the NHL.
     
  2. Atas2000 Registered User

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    I don't have stats for you, but the viewership in Russia is very limited due to a simple reason - game times. Most of the russian population lives in time zones where games start at 3-5 AM(for the other parts od Russia it's not significantly better as it is still in the morning). The NHL can't properly sell broadcasting rights because networks can't sell ads at these times to cover the costs and the NHL is quite stupid with pricing from what I know. They basically demand the same from a market at which their game times can't generate enough income for the networks. That results in NHL games being broadcasted on only some "obscure" channels, like for example Eurosport Gold only avaiable in special packages and not available to he majority of households at all as much as I know. Eastwards of Ural there is a kazakh(I think)channel available via satellite that broadcasts NHL games in Russian. So the only legal possibility to watch games that is accessible to all of Russia is subscribing to NHL Game Centerand watch over the interwebs. The game times and accessibility(there is obviously also no way to watch without paying exclusively for watching the NHL as no free-TV or a payable option, but within a standard cable or satellite network packages widespread in Russa is available) limits viewership to basically die hard hockey fans and in particular NHL fans.

    The only games that are watchable form Russia time zone wise are the weekend/holiday games that start early in the ET zone, but they are few and also only cover a handful of teams. Last season for example there were bunches of Flyers games at convenient times. If you are not a Flyers fan though, what's the gain?

    Hockey is popular in Russia, but the NHL is really hard to follow. The KHL and the IIHF events will remain far ahead in terms of viewership for the time being. Even for the SCF, even with many Russians in it you can't expect many people to get up at 3AM to watch the games and then go to work.
     

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