Would the NHL embrace a language gap for advertisements?

Welcome to America. Please choose your advertising language of choice.

Does that welcoming message seem out of place or will it be something that is yet to come? Yesterday, news broke that Coca-Cola will start to add Chinese language based advertisements to their rotations inside Madison Square Garden. This new idea has stemmed from the enthusiasm that has surrounded New York Knicks’ player Jeremy Lin. During NBA broadcasts, the beverage company will specifically target ads that may appear on television. Coke is hoping to build new levels of trust with the NBA’s worldwide market, specifically China, which has seen a major NBA popularity boost in the past few years.

In the National Hockey League’s attempt to become the end-all-be-all of hockey leagues, would they be willing to peruse different advertisement languages in order to bring their worldwide audience closer to the North American game? We’ve already seen the league partially adapt their website to their international fans. Why not go a few steps further? Will we ever get to the point where we will see half board advertisements in Russian or Swedish? Apart from the Canadian cities where French is a prominent language, how about introducing different languages based on current rosters? Specifically…

Introducing Swedish to Detroit.
Posting casual Russian in Pittsburgh.
Signs of German products in Buffalo.

I realize that there could be a large group of fans that oppose this movement, but as an American, I’m all for it. In the grand scheme of things, we’re all one big hockey family. If September’s Lokomotiv plane crash taught us anything, it is that our love for the sport can bring many different nations together in strong support of the fallen. It doesn’t matter where you live or how you communicate. Using different languages on our advertisements isn’t a ploy to have our society become more homogeneous, but rather a great opportunity to celebrate and become aware of the different cultures that make up the great game of hockey. It sometimes pains me to see that my fellow Americans aren’t really open to other cultures. And while we may only use one main language in our daily lives, it wouldn’t hurt to expand our knowledge of different tongues.

If the North American hockey game wants to be the set standard, then the NHL will have to go a step further in some facet for their international audience. Apart from placing a team overseas (which would be an absolute horrible decision), the league needs to find new ways of comforting their audiences. Once distribution (TV & radio) is taken care of, consider specific language advertising a simple move the league can do to help grow their fan base.