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Re:Continental Hockey League.

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  • William Underwood
    Actually in Russia the taxes are high but few ever pay them! :-) At least this is what a Russian businessman once told me and with no vodka in the room! These
    Message 1 of 9 , Feb 16, 2008
      Actually in Russia the taxes are high but few ever pay them! :-) At least
      this is what a Russian businessman once told me and with no vodka in the
      room!



      These guys have it better off than the Leafs as the government is almost a
      semi silent partner here. The end user fan will not be the key support
      mechanism. It will be sponsorship and TV. In foreign sports in general it is
      that way. You simply don't have 100 dollar tix in most non NA sporting
      events, yes even soccer which pays North American style money! Another route
      is club member ship which soccer uses. Real Madrid actually has hundreds of
      thousands of members as does Man U. There are social memberships and the
      higher tiers give you better seats. But NOT EVERY MEMBER is an actual season
      ticket holder! They have fans world wide who join! Hell I was once an
      overseas member of the Carlton Aussie Rules club in Australia for a nominal
      fee living 10,000 miles away!



      Russia in general operates VERY differently from here and when one
      comprehends the economics you can't use the North American model because
      they will not. There are radically different means of running teams. Keep in
      mind before any one asks "could it work here" that European countries are
      far more socialized even than Canada, thus the government takes more
      involvement in every day activities. I know some Canadians may find that
      hard to believe but it is true. :-) For example, in Italy, any company that
      sponsors a sports team gets something like a 20 % tax write off! This is why
      you see such HUGE money tossed into soccer and even in lesser sports, like
      basketball, hockey and rugby Italy has always gotten imports to play there
      who seemed well beyond their means! Ferry and Shaw in hoops, Kurri and Kent
      Nilsson in hockey and in rugby the Aussies give Italy credit for their first
      World Cup.in an schmamatuer era of rugby union Italy with its sham "outside
      jobs" kept the Wallabies form turning pro in rugby league with mega offers!
      They didn't need the fans to support it, they put money in and got this huge
      tax write which more than paid for any up front investment! Keep in mind
      even in soccer.Italy has never been an economic giant in Europe nor is it
      all that much more passionate about its soccer than some other places but
      the GOVERNMENT'S breaks for sports allows it to do so much more hence since
      the 1950's a relative European economic midget has been able to draw top
      names and since the 80's has been if not the best the second best league in
      the world.





      Add on that the European sports structure and fan are different. European
      sports teams are social clubs quite often with their own club house. In
      Russia, sports teams were always the showing off facet of major state
      collectives. The sense of member ship goes well past just being a fan of a
      team. In Oz I actually visited several rugby league clubs.there was a
      restaurant, bar, live entertainment, enough slot machines for a small
      casino, and game rooms with pool tables etc. It was a place where you could
      take the wife out for an evening. Hell, in the post war period it was SLOT
      machines that made the Sydney competition the most vibrant in the world.the
      proceeds allowed them to buy any player that they wanted.



      To get an insight into Russia you not only have to look at this but also the
      Pasquale Brothers in Mexico after the war and the Mexican challenge to the
      majors. But in doing so remember that the Pasquales were bush league
      compared to these guys and they have the government in their pocket! Jorge
      Pasquale had his eye on the Mexican presidency and baseball was a great
      power play to gain the name. In contrast, here we see the guys who HAVE the
      presidency using hockey for political leverage and also to a degree
      propaganda. Keep in mind the Soviets used sports to life their image
      incessantly and spent billions to do it. Putin was a part of that regime and
      the people who are involved are largely his friends and are major state
      concessions. Taxes are no issue, these guys only pay what the president asks
      for from them.there is no Russian IRS making their life hard. A similar
      scenario has been Silvio Burlesconi in Italy. The Milan soccer magnate used
      soccer to built a communications empire and eventually it helped to gain him
      the top office in Italy! Sports and politics mix WAY more than they do here!
      Could any of us see Steinbrenner sue the Yankees to try to win the White
      House? NO! The only guy that I know who REALLY had visions of something
      like that was Marcel Abut and where did it land him? In the country club yes
      but not in Ottawa!



      This is a complex scenario based upon a system that is unknown here with a
      lot of hidden agendas, ulterior motives and image building that goes way
      past hockey. So we simply can't ham string it with our values, attitudes and
      structures. And it involves one of the largest most mineral rich nations in
      the world which is what makes it so intriguing a starting point. Add on that
      they may well find friends outside of Russia IF they can evolve past any
      blatant nationalism and recreate themselves as "Russia seeks fellow European
      PARTNERS" as opposed to "client teams".



      Will they be flooded with North American BORN pros? I still doubt that.
      There may be the odd hold out and quite frankly Dave I never said otherwise
      about THIS effort which is VERY different from the old Super League where I
      just couldn't see it happening and indeed we did not. But Europeans in the
      NHL are a logical target and as the NHL is about a third European.it gets
      VERY interesting!



      As far as women go I could see a lot going as they can make money there that
      they can't over here. Given the differences in structure it is more possible
      to pay women overseas just as we have seen in hoops for many years before
      women's hoops got the boost of Title IX. But they will come home when it is
      time to have children. In all honesty I have a hard time seeing any North
      American player of either sex staying there long. The living conditions are
      more Spartan and we North Americans are relative cultural troglodytes.most
      Europeans speak two maybe even three or more languages.how many of us are
      fluent in even two? Hell seeing what I see about US educational levels I
      gather many of us don't even speak true English all that fluently! :-) And I
      mean native born of native parents of ALL ethnic backgrounds.linguistic
      skills are dying! :-) So for NHL types I can see the odd 1 year sojourn, for
      minor pros a bit longer and for women maybe 3-5 years before it will be time
      to come home for most. We just don't tend to adapt as well.we miss all of
      the, how can you say it "stuff". We are the sons and daughters of a
      commercialized world where there is a gadget to buy every day and for every
      day a new gadget and even the inconvenience of having to wait for more than
      90 seconds for meal is now being addressed at "that Scottish place" with the
      golden arches. :-) Russia will be a tough nut to get used to that way for a
      long haul.



      But for those who grew up with it we see it as another matter.



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    • goaliedave
      Bill, I don t disagree with everything you wrote and I appreciate your insights into Russian sports. You are right about one thing, North Americans will never
      Message 2 of 9 , Feb 20, 2008
        Bill, I don't disagree with everything you wrote and I appreciate your insights into Russian sports.

        You are right about one thing, North Americans will never adopt the sports club mentality; the managers of individual leagues like their fifedoms and people are loath to put all their eggs in one basket. I briefly tried to run a kids sports club with teams in soccer and hockey and building with a homework club and a gym.... but got nowhere. We have so many associations already in place here that have booked the facilities that they can't be replaced.

        Another thing I agree with ... let's see how this develops and play out a season before we pronounce judgement.

        Dave in Whitby

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