NHL’s Future Plans within Europe

29 March 2023

The National Hockey League (NHL) has garnered an impeccable reputation in recent years as the standout ice hockey competition in all of professional sports, with numerous high-profile athletes and fans now often flocking out to catch all the latest outings featured in the NHL from a number of the sport’s most distinguished clubs.

The sheer amount of growth that the NHL has continued to amass over the past few years has become even more apparent given the continuous rise in media coverage across all major sporting platforms, as well as the increase in fan involvement within the sport as hockey has gained a reputation of claiming to host one of the sporting industry’s most passionate and die-hard fanbases.

NHL action has spanned into various forms of media which has allowed the league to generate a considerable amount of intrigue from audiences from various different nationality’s outside of the US and Canada.

Nowadays, most NHL rosters are compiled of around 70% of athletes from the US and Canada with the final 30% residing of international players from across the world, including several notable talents from Europe.

There has been a consistent amount of rumors circulating around the NHL scene on whether the league should look to take further advantage of the international market, especially given that the 2023 iteration of the prestigious Stanley Cup final series is set to begin very soon, with fans now being able to view all the latest NHL odds via the DraftKings sportsbook.

It remains unclear as to what direction the league will opt to take in an effort to appease audiences from across the pond, yet there is still a considerable amount of investment that foreign audiences have continued to address towards the NHL that may require a further amount of attention to be drawn for all offshore markets, including those in Europe.

  • Does the NHL have any future plans for European audiences?

The most highly reported announcement that has emanated from the NHL hierarchy has stemmed from the introduction of a planned return of the Hockey World Cup which will likely feature the very best athletes from each qualified country competing against one another to lift a prestigious honor.

The NHL and NHLPA has expressed their desires in bringing back the World Cup for 2024, with the league’s deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirming that both sides are fully committed and are having ‘regular meetings’ to discuss this matter even further.

This was reported during the league’s NHL European Player Media Tour in Paris, with these World Cup contests expected to have games presented throughout North America and Europe in various high-profile cities and venues.

The return of a hockey World Cup would be a monumental method of gaining attention and wider coverage from all major news outlets in both North America and Europe, as well as the entire world as audiences tuning in from other countries could likely be greatly inspired to become further affiliated with the sport of ice hockey in the future.

Alongside the likely return of the hockey World Cup, there have been various other prior internationally hosted NHL games that could be considered to make a return in the next few years.

Some of the most notable hotspots that have previously hosted an NHL encounter include European cities such as London, Berlin, Prague, Bern, Paris, Stockholm, Helsinki, Belfast and many other popular destinations, as well as other country’s such as Japan and China also hosting international NHL games.

Given that the NHL Global Series has now made a return, it is very likely that other venues from international destinations could host an NHL encounter in the near future, with Europe being considered as the primary destination for a plethora of future outings.

  • Which European Markets are the most viable for NHL games?

Given that the NFL has enjoyed a great amount of success with its yearly trips to London, England, this could prove to be an enticing hotspot for future US/Canadian sporting leagues, as the UK fanbase has already expressed a considerable amount of excitement in witnessing more overseas events being stationed across the Atlantic.

Other countries in Europe that have expressed their desires to catch-up on all the latest NHL action include the likes of Sweden, Switzerland and Germany, with a number of natives now actively following a variety of NHL clubs on social media.

Sweden has also produced the most active hockey players in the league today with over 90 starring athletes, meaning that the European interest in the NHL is very evident given the wide range of athletes that have pursued a career in ice hockey from foreign countries, as well as the amount of fanfare that these nation’s so often generate from its population for any broadcasted NHL outings.

There is certainly a tremendous amount of support that European, and international audiences in general, have continued to showcase for the NHL as well as all other major North American sporting leagues, which could pave the way for even greater overseas opportunities for a vast sum of all US/Canadian sports contests to branch out towards other profitable grandeurs.

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