The heads and general managers of all KHL clubs met today in Moscow to discuss current activities, as well as its seven year development strategy.
An updated version of the Memorandum of Understanding of Contracts between the KHL and the NHL has been agreed, in line with KHL’s stated strategy. This agreement ensures that clubs in both leagues are increasingly protected from unauthorized transfers. The new Memorandum ensures that the decisions of the arbitration bodies in both leagues will now be recognized, as well as being assisted in their ongoing functions. This document also sets out the procedure for concluding future contracts with players who are currently under contract in either one of the Leagues.
The KHL continues to respect and support medical and anti-doping measures, and will continue to work in full compliance with the relevant components of the previously agreed, 2023 Strategy. Both the KHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) signed a memorandum for the 2018/2019 season, which will result in a 10% increase in the number of doping samples. A KHL created and approved anti-doping program has also been sent to all clubs, and in April 2019 a special training seminar for anti-doping is planned as part of the KHL Medical Conference.
93% of all television broadcasts have been produced in HD format this season, which is 6.5% more than in the same period last season. This increased volume is planned to continue for the remainder of the season.
An analysis of the Internet resources of all KHL clubs was conducted over the summer of 2018. A series of recommendations for the development of individual club websites has been created based on the results of the study, so as to increase their attractiveness and usefulness for fans. These recommendations have already been sent to clubs.
Attendance during regular season games has been fairly strong, with an average of 6,195 spectators per game. This is the third best turnout recorded (when compared to the same period in previous seasons) since the inception of the KHL, with some weeks being the second best in KHL history. Nonetheless, there are several clubs that still have work to do to grow attendance.
Financial fair play principles are a key component of the 2023 Strategy and are intended to ensure the financial sustainability of KHL clubs. The KHL has already conducted a financial analysis of clubs' activities for the 2018-19 season to date. In relation to club income structures, the total amount of state financing (state budget and state companies) is 57% of total financing, or 31.5 billion rubles. Since the approval of the new strategy by the Board of Directors, expenditure of regional and state-owned clubs has been reduced by almost 1.8 billion rubles.
In the 2018-19 season, the volume of funding from regional budgets is projected to decrease by 17% from last season, at the same time as funding from private companies growing by 22% when compared to the 2017-18 season. The commercial income of clubs currently makes up 10% of overall income, a 100 million ruble increase from the previous season.
The majority of club costs is on player wages, which make up to 48% of expenditure on average.
There is still an imbalance in the budgets between clubs, albeit the gap is being reduced. The largest budgets are still 8 times the size of the smallest budgets for clubs at the bottom end. However, if you remove the clubs at either end of the spectrum, then budgets are significantly closer aligned. To close the gap further, the KHL will develop a list of recommendations for improving efficiency and financial sustainability, using the findings of the financial fair play audit.
Some individual provisions will also become part of KHL regulations.
Next month Tatarstan will host the third ‘Week of Hockey Stars’. All-Star games from three of our leagues; KHL, JHL and WHL, will take place in Kazan and Nizhnekamsk. The final rosters for this event have been already announced. The Week of Hockey Stars will open in Nizhnekamsk, where the best Junior Hockey League players will face off against each other on January 12. The next day the best Women Hockey League players will hit the ice. On January 19, Kazan will host the main event, as well as the tournament between four divisions’ teams the next day.
KHL undertook its inaugural KHL World Games series in Europe this year. The first games were held in Vienna on 26 and 28 October. Slovan Bratislava hosted CSKA and SKA. The World Games then moved to Zurich where Dinamo Riga played against SKA and CSKA on 26 and 28 November.
International expansion is a part of KHL’s strategy. This project is a presentation of KHL’s ‘product’ to new markets, promotion of its brand, and a way to show the level of hockey played across the KHL to new markets and spectators. At its core, it’s ‘live’ contact with European fans.