Last season saw the introduction of a hard salary cap and salary floor for players. The hard cap was set at 900 million rubles ($12.3 million), the floor for the current season is 315 million rubles ($4.3 million).
The led to a closing of the gap between the budgets of our clubs: last season, the biggest budget was five times greater than the smallest, compared with seven times greater in the previous campaign and 14 times greater when the KHL’s current development plan was introduced in 2017.
On the ice, the first season of salary caps brought greater competition at the top of regular season table and more competitive series in the later stages of the playoffs. The team that finished top of the regular season table had 75% of the points in 2020-2021, compared with 78% a year earlier and 88% in 2018-2019. We also saw more goals per game, up from 4.93 in 2019-2020 to 5.34 in 2020-2021.
Throughout the season, the league monitored all clubs to ensure compliance with the salary cap and salary floor. Every KHL club remained within the salary cap. One club failed to meet the salary floor requirements, and was fined.
During the 2020-2021 season, several clubs were late in paying player salaries. As a result, the league decided to amend the KHL regulations and impose stricter sanctions for late payment.
For the seventh year in a row, the KHL completed the season with a profit. In 2020-2021, our total revenues came to 2.8 billion rubles ($38.3 million). The bulk of this revenue came from commercial partners and advertisers, where we achieved 6% more than our target. The league is grateful to its long-term commercial partners (SOGAZ, Mastercard, Rostelekom, Fonbet, MegaFon, SAP, Haier and Hankook), who entirely fulfilled their obligations last season. In 2020-2021, we look forward to forging new partnerships with additional supporters including KDL, MKB Investments, Sarto reale and PlayStation.
Media rights for TV and betting companies were 5% above expectations in 2020-2021 and the KHL’s own TV channels also saw an increase in revenues. The figures for other sources of operational income are also higher than projected due to long-term fixed contracts.
KHL revenues 2020-2021
KHL expenditure 2020-2021
The KHL board of directors announced a record 505 million ruble (almost $7 million) payment to be shared among KHL clubs. By Sep. 30, 2021, the KHL will pay each club its share of this money. The league is encouraging all clubs to invest this money on improved arena infrastructure, enhanced gameday experience and working to attract younger spectators.
The KHL extended its agreement with the Russian Hockey Federation and retains the rights to stage Russia’s national hockey championship for the next four seasons, until April 30, 2025. The remuneration due to the FHR for these delegated rights has been adjusted in line with inflation.
Targeted financing for FHR programs to develop children’s hockey will continue, focusing on:
▪ Sporting events for children and youngsters;
▪ Maintaining and developing a material and technical foundation for children’s and youth hockey, including ‘hockey corners’ in schools;
▪ Training coaches, on-ice officials and instructors for children’s hockey.
The restrictions related to the pandemic remain in place. Across the league, an average of 70% of club staff are vaccinated but in line with public health requirements the league is continuing with PCR tests for players once a week. Before the start of the season, the board of directors agreed a targeted program for testing club staff and 45 people were tested at the KHL’s expense. As of Sep. 13, 2021, three people at KHL clubs returned positive PCR tests, including one player.
Our ‘smart puck’ sporting telemetric system continues to develop and is being used more widely among the clubs. At present, 19 out of 24 clubs are actively using this system. Last season, only one of the 10 clubs that most actively used the service failed to reach the playoffs.
During the previous season, the calculation of several statistics was fully automated, reducing the workload for the stats teams at the KHL’s clubs. In particular, the ‘time on ice’ stats, previously worked out by hand, are now compiled automatically.
Prior to the 2021-2022 season a unified hockey rulebook was introduced across all pro hockey leagues and major international tournaments, including the World Championship and the Olympics. The most notable changes including the provision of a third goalie on the gameday roster, the introduction of major penalties without an automatic game penalty in several situations, and more opportunities for video reviews at the request of both officials and bench coaches.
At the end of the 2020-2021 season, the KHL’s refereeing department dismissed six linesmen for unsatisfactory performance. In the new season, the KHL will have 72 officials including three newcomers (two refs and a linesman) and one linesman is returning to work with the league. Only five refs and 14 linesmen officiating at KHL games have fewer than three seasons’ experience.