Still no European TV deal as season approaches

Last year the Sharks were part of the now-traditional season openers played in Europe - part of the League's strategy to expand the popularity of the sport and its product across the continent.

Taking a number of teams across the pond to Europe has proved controversial with fans in North America, with many arguing against seeing their home games played overseas and others worrying about the impact of long-distance travel on the rosters involved.

But as a European NHL fan, and therefore an entirely biased observer, I think this is a small price to pay for spreading the hockey gospel around the world.

Hockey remains an incredibly niche interest in countries like Britain, but there are still thousands of fans who buy merchandise and stay up until all hours watching their favourite teams - I think it's fantastic that they get a chance to see NHL action in the flesh without travelling across the Atlantic. It's a small reward for their loyalty.

Sadly the NHL and their corporate partners seem intent on throwing away the goodwill built up by efforts such as the Premiere series.

Currently there is no TV deal in place for the screening of NHL hockey in Europe for the 2011-12 season. The season is a day away and an entire continent is facing the prospect of no hockey on TV.

What does this say about the NHL's commitment to emerging markets? And why should teams like the Sharks be prepared to take their entire organisation overseas when the fanbase they're trying to court and nurture is treated so shabbily?

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this debacle. Go Sharks.

UPDATE: There is now word online that the NHL is going to begin revoking access to GCL region-by-region as TV deals are struck in different countries across Europe. That is some BS in my opinion, especially since my only choice is to watch online. What a mess.

This item was created by a member of this blog's community and is not necessarily endorsed by Fear The Fin.

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