The National Hockey League (NHL) Global Series is a series of regular season games played outside of North America, typically in Europe. The NHL has been organizing international games since the early 2000s, but the Global Series was officially launched in 2017 as a way to expand the league's reach and engage with fans around the world.
Many of the NHL's top teams have participated in the Global Series, including the Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, and New Jersey Devils. The series typically features two games between two different teams, with one team serving as the "home" team and the other as the "away" team.
From a business standpoint, the NHL Global Series makes a lot of sense. Hockey has a large global following, particularly in Europe, where leagues such as the KHL (Russia), Liiga (Finland), and SHL (Sweden) are quite popular. The NHL is seeking to capitalize on this popularity by holding games in these locales and building relationships with local fans, media outlets, and corporate partners.
Additionally, the Global Series provides an opportunity for NHL players to travel and experience different cultures. Many of the players who participate in the Global Series express gratitude for the chance to play in front of new fans and explore new cities. The series also allows NHL players to showcase their skills on an international stage, which can help elevate their profiles and increase their marketability.
There are some potential downsides to the NHL Global Series, however. For one thing, the logistics of organizing international games can be quite challenging. Teams have to deal with issues such as travel, time zone differences, and cultural barriers. Additionally, playing games outside of North America can disrupt the NHL's regular season schedule, which may impact the quality of play or cause injuries.
Despite these challenges, the NHL Global Series has been largely successful in promoting the league internationally. Fans around the world have had the opportunity to watch some of the NHL's biggest stars play in their home countries, while local fans have been introduced to a new level of hockey that may inspire them to follow the sport more closely.
Overall, the NHL Global Series is an important part of the NHL's efforts to grow its brand and appeal to fans around the world. While there are certainly risks and challenges associated with organizing international games, the potential benefits in terms of revenue, exposure, and player development make the series a worthwhile endeavor for the NHL.