An article in today's New York Times claims that the top professional hockey league in Russia, the Superliga, plans to challenge the supremacy of the NHL as the world's top professional hockey league. How? The article is short on financial details (but does manage to work in some tidbits about supermodel Carol Alt, wife of current Superliga and former NHL star Alexei Yashin) but it seems to involve some economic alchemy that involves Russian energy giant Gazprom and $100+ a barrel crude oil.
According to the CIA World Factbook, PPP adjusted GDP per capita in Russia was $14,600 in 2007. I have trouble believing that a country with income per capita that low can generate sufficient revenues from fans to support NHL-level salaries, no matter how expensive crude oil gets.
(HT to Brian Soebbing)