It is no secret that the globalization of other sports besides the Olympics and World Cup Soccer has enjoyed a renaissance and growth through television and the Internet over the past thirty years. For decades every sport has had its own federation with many headquartered in Switzerland. Several years ago when I visited Switzerland and met with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and asked specifically about the influence of the NHL and the growth of ice hockey, worldwide.
The comment then was they are very influential and important to the Federation. As I read the criticism by the IIHF of some NHL players not participating in the latest world championships and the response by Brian Burke, GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it no secret why the NHL is look to opening next season in Europe. It’s also why the NBA has an office in China, why Major League Baseball has opened its season in Japan, and why the NFL continues to play in London every year.
Sports are a $750 billion dollar global business and money talks. If sports federations want to grow their sports globally they will need to better understand the business side. Simply put, the business of sports keeps on ticking and professional sports leagues are not amateurs!